Life as an esports pro with Noth
June 20 2022
A few months ago, the G-Loot team was lucky enough to spend a whole day hanging out with professional Apex Legends player Alexander "Noth" Selfwin.
Of course, we made sure to ask plenty of questions and learn all we could from this legendary player. Here's what we found out about Noth's background, his favorite Legend, and how to become a better player.
Tell us about your earliest gaming memory.
My earliest gaming memory is probably playing age of empires with my dad and my uncle way back in '97. I think it was released. I love it. Especially the second one. I still play the HD version, actually.
What was it that made you start playing Apex?
We had a short break in PUBG with my team in competitive. We decided to start playing Apex Legends because it had just come out on our break. It was perfect timing. Otherwise, I wouldn't even have tried Apex, probably because I get stuck in one game when I play it. So that's how we got into it. I played it for 2 days, and I was stuck. I was like, "I'm done with PUBG."
How does playing Apex make you feel?
It makes me feel really good. Especially playing competitively. The fast pace of the game, the mechanics. Everything is so much fun compared to other BRs.
When did you start competing in esports?
I started getting into competitive in 1.5 in Counter-Strike. That was a long time ago. It was so much fun with the friends I was playing with back then. As I got older, I thought, "I should start taking a step into competitive." Eventually, I got into it.
When did you start competing in Apex?
I started competing in Apex from day 1 of Apex. 3 years ago.
Tell us your team's origin story.
We started out when we joined Virtus.pro. We went to Poland and did alright, I would say. We did really good until the finals in Poland, then we kind of flopped. We were 15th or 14th or something. Until then, we were first in the groups all the time.
After that, Covid happened when we were supposed to go to the 2nd LAN. We went to Texas, bootcamping and preparing for this LAN, and then it got canceled. We came home and kept going with online tournaments.
Then Virtus.pro decided to drop us due to Covid and there not being LANs happening. They didn't feel it was worth staying in the game. Then we went to play for our own team, Flavor Of The Month. We won tournaments there and found our own sponsor, so we had a full salary, which really helped us a lot. We could make a living from the game even if we didn't have an actual org behind us. I'm really thankful for that.
Then they kind of decided to drop us as well—this sponsor—just as we found Rebel. We had them for quite a while this sponsor. It's so amazing to play for a team and be able to do what you love for a living. It feels so good.
What was it like winning the ALGS Winter Circuit?
That feeling was amazing. To prove that age doesn't matter in competitive really. Because I'm the oldest competitor in Apex, still competing and being the MVP of a tournament. Me clutching up the 1v1, in the end, was just an amazing feeling.
Tell us a bit about your teammates. What's it like to work alongside them?
We're actually the longest-standing roster in Apex. We've played together since PUBG. We've played together for almost 4 years, and the game has been out just for 3 years. So obviously, I love my teammates. They're super good guys, and we understand each other.
We all have issues. It's like having a relationship being teammates. So you have to deal with the problems. I know that a lot of other teams decide just to kick someone as soon as they're doing badly, but you need to understand that they might have issues in their private life that they need to take care of. You need to help them with that as well.
What's the most challenging part of being a pro gamer?
Probably that your private life will be put aside. Your working hours will most probably be in the evenings or at night. Then everyone gets home from work in the evening, and you're working. So you never get to see your family and friends pretty much. That's the hardest part, I would say, of competitive gaming.
How do you deal with the hard times?
That's a tough one. To be honest, I don't think about it too much—the hard times. I live through gaming. I take it as it comes. I don't have any special things that I do.
What makes being a pro player worth the hard work?
When you get to play the big tournaments. All the adrenaline running through your body. That just builds up, and it's such an amazing feeling. And when you win a tournament. I can't even explain how it feels. It feels so good.
What advice would you give to someone who was looking to go pro?
If you want to go pro in a video game, you have to think it through. You'll have to sacrifice a lot. Just like in any other sport, you'll have to sacrifice so much. Might even have to sacrifice some of the school, which is not the best option maybe. You really got to think it through. If you think you have what it takes. Then go for it. I quit my job and everything for it, but I actually worked some years first to get some experience, and then I went into esports instead. So I have some experience. Because I have worked for 10+ years, it means when I'm out of esports, if I am not going to work as a coach or something and I'm going to start "real life" again, then I have some experience I can use to get a job again easily.
I played it for 2 days, and I was stuck. I was like, "I'm done with PUBG." - Noth
What are some things you focus on when you're practicing or training?
When I'm practicing, I usually try to think about my problems, not my teammates' problems. Focusing on me and what I could have done differently in certain situations or in the games. I do that before I go look at my teammates and where they might have fucked up or something. I think that's really important: that you look at yourself first so you can learn from the problems instead of looking at it like, "Oh my god, he missed his shots here" or "he died in a bad position." Instead, what could I have done? Could I have told him something? Could I have taken a different angle so that his angle was good? I look at that a lot.
What is it like doing a bootcamp?
Doing a bootcamp is really good for the team chemistry and everything. I would say that's the most important part of a bootcamp. You can still practice and everything online but meeting up with your teammates is just so important. I wish we could do it more because we haven't done it in quite a while now. Hopefully, we can do it again soon to get our chemistry back on track.
If you could go back and talk to yourself as a younger person. What would you tell yourself?
If I could go back to when I was 17 or something, I would tell myself, "Go all in." Don't work. Go all-in on esports. But back when I was 18, esports wasn't as big. That's the reason I didn't do it.
What's your advice for someone looking to get into esports.
You start playing with your friends for fun, right? And at some point, you might see that you're outgrowing your friends in competitive skill. That's when you need to find new gaming friends if you want to get into competitive.
I don't think you should stay. Even if it's your best friends, I think you need to move on if you want to get into competitive and actually get to the top. You won't learn more by playing with someone who's less skilled than you. You need to play with people who are better than you.
You won't learn more by playing with someone who's less skilled than you. You need to play with people who are better than you.
That's the biggest mistake everyone makes. They keep playing with their IRL friends. Me as well. I was up here in Counter-Strike, and they were down here, and I kept playing with them. Then I bumped into some other friends online, and my ability went up.
That's true about who you play against, too, right?
For sure. 100% Everyone in your environment needs to be above you. Then you will rise as well. See it as if you're coming into like a football team, let's say Barcelona, you're going to go up in skill as well because they're going to drag you up. That's when you can grow and become even better and better.
In some ways that's a benefit of losing matches. Seeing how people beat you and improving from there.
Losing is probably the best way to learn, I would say. You look back at what you did and think, "What did I do wrong?" That feeling when you're losing is the worst feeling ever. I hate losing more than I love winning.
How do you as a team deal with losing?
If we're losing, what we do as a team is come together. We talk about the issues a lot. First, we talk as a group about what, as a team, we did wrong. What mistakes did we make in the tournament? Then we go back into individuals as well and maybe look at each other's footage and say, "Okay, you could have done this different." That way, everyone can learn.
It's really important that you can take critique. If you can't, you're not going to work out in esports. You're going to be enemies with your teammates because you hate them when they tell you, "dude, you need to step it up with this," for example. If you can't take that, I don't think you can make it in esports.
Ego is a really tricky thing in esports and sports. Obviously, you can make it with ego. Just look at Zlatan, for example. He has the biggest ego ever.
We've heard about your teammates. Tell us about your rivals or who you look up to.
Our biggest rivalry is probably with Alliance because we're both Swedish. I think that's our biggest rivalry right now.
Is there anything you're looking forward to in the future of esports?
I'm looking forward to LANs happening again. Because of Covid, it was 3 years almost without any LANs in Apex. I miss LANs. Meeting all your online friends is something I miss a lot as well.
I guess for Apex, almost all of your career has been during Covid
Pretty much. We had 1 LAN back in Poland. Back then, I was working full time as well as gaming. I was playing for VirtusPro it took so much time. I was legitimately sleeping 4 hours a night while working and gaming. It was really hard in the beginning. Thankfully I had supportive colleagues and coworkers who actually helped me a lot.
Who's your favorite Legend?
I'm a Gibby main, but Gibby is so boring. (Laughs) He's so boring to play because he feels so slow because he's so big. So in Ranked, I never play Gibby. I prefer a movement-based Legend. Everyone loves the movement characters. It's a tough thing to say you hate the one you have to play in competitive. My favorite Legend is Apex right now is Valkyrie because of the movement. If you're fighting in a building, you can so fast make it to another level of the building, for example. Also, you can decide to rotate the whole team to a different location, and you kind of decide that when you're playing Valkyrie.
How does the team decide who takes which role?
From the beginning, it's been who was comfortable with certain things. You'll have a backline playing Gibby or someone with a sniper or long-range weapon. Then a Wraith or something who's up in the face of the enemies. Super aggressive with close-range weapons. So you go with what you're comfortable to play. If you look at compositions in competitive, it doesn't matter which composition you're playing; it's what you're comfortable to play. Which Legends. That's when you're going to do the best.
Do you think it's better to learn a wide range of Legends or stick to a small number you really know?
In terms of learning certain Legends, I think it's super important that you learn a lot of Legends. The more, the merrier. Because if you can only play 1 Legend and that one gets nerfed or something, that one's going to be out of the window. Look at Wattson! Wattson was the strongest Legend in competitive because everyone needed one, then she was just out the window and hasn't been in the game for, what, 1 and a half years or something. If you were a Wattson main, you'd have to relearn everything. Relearn a new Legend and become really good at that one. That takes time.
If you had to pick a Legend to hang out with in real life, who would you pick?
It would probably be Mirage.
I feel like Mirage knows how to party
I think so too! I think it would be so much fun.
What esport do you like to watch most?
I love to watch Apex. I love the game overall—the most out of all the gaming titles that are out there. But if I couldn't choose Apex, I'd probably say Dota or CS. I love to watch those because there are good stories about all the players. I love the tournaments; they're so good.
You have a background in PUBG and CS. Are there any other games you'd be interested in competing in?
Dota, for sure. I really love the game, but I wasn't the best in it because I didn't put in the hours, I guess. But those competitions just look insane. Or League of Legends, but I don't like the game so much, so that's a tough one. Dota, I love. I probably have 1000 hours in it or something.
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