30 Sep 2021 2:05 PM +00:00

"While we are still growing, our aim is to compete at the highest level": Anthony Graham, Co-Founder of Tundra Esports

Credit: Image via Tundra Esports

DOTA 2 is one of the most prominent esports titles out there. Commanding a global audience, the DOTA 2 scene has been growing steadily over the years.

The game does see many new teams coming up almost every year. However, not all teams can show the tenacity that Tundra Esports has shown in the last ESL One Fall 2021 tournament.

Tundra Esports were considered the underdogs of the tournament, but they managed to dominate the tournament with ease.

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Not just DOTA 2, but Tundra Esports have had a dominating presence in the FIFA circuit as well. Their roster for both the titles has grown over the years, and they have a dominating lineup that is at par with all the top teams in the FIFA and DOTA 2 circuit.

While playing in a competitive environment is one thing, managing such a team is a different story altogether. Here's our conversation with Anthony Graham, the Co-Founder of Tundra Esports.

Anthony Graham talks about the finer details of managing an esports team

Since Tundra Esports is fairly new to the competitive scene of DOTA 2, what are your thoughts on winning the ESL One Fall 2021?

We are very proud of everyone involved in the ESL One Fall victory. It's great to see the development of the team both as a group, and individually since we signed them in January, and the victory is a testament to their hard work. The team showed real strength of character to bounce back so quickly from the heartbreaking defeat by the two-time TI champions OG in the TI Qualifiers Grand Final.

But instead of dwelling on the past, the team is already looking to the future. We’ve taken a small break to refocus and will be back to training. ESL One Fall showed us that we are more than capable of reaching TI, so the goal now is to keep on training, get our great roster to work together a bit more and be back for the next big tournament.

Being an active player on the roster has its own challenges, but what are the challenges that you’ve faced as Co-founder of Tundra Esports?

Since our inception in late 2019, it’s been a rollercoaster of ups and downs (but mostly ups!). The biggest challenge as a new organisation was the pandemic coming so soon after our launch when we were trying to find our feet and lay the foundations. The FIFA esports season that followed shortly after the start of the pandemic was a real hurdle to overcome, as major tournaments were cancelled and rescheduled, really throwing a wrench into most of our FIFA plans.

Looking back I think we’ve actually come out stronger as a result. We’ve recruited strongly across the organisation and accelerated our growth plans which we are excited to announce in the near future.

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Tell us a bit about the story behind Tundra Esports. What were the thoughts and the vision behind the creation of this team?

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Myself and the other founders, Maxim Demin and Michael Munro are all keen gamers and wanted to turn our passion into something that has the potential to become a household gaming and entertainment brand.

While we are still growing, our aim is to compete at the highest level in our disciplines by providing the foundations and tools for our players to compete at their best. We plan to continue expanding into different competitive leagues and ecosystems and continue to value confidence and composure as we help our players develop, reach their full potential, and ultimately form an esports powerhouse.

What are some of the future expectations that you have with Tundra Esports in terms of talent acquisition and growth in the esports circuit?

We aim to become one of Europe’s top esports and gaming brands, whether it’s through expanding into different disciplines, identifying new talent, or supporting our existing teams the best way we can.

We are constantly looking to evolve as a brand. We never want to sit still and are always looking at new competitive opportunities. With any talent acquisition, we look for long-term growth and how we can support them in achieving their goals, whether they’re in-game or personal.

Despite winning the ESL One Fall 2021, Tundra Esports isn’t competing in The International. What are your thoughts on this?

It’s a bittersweet feeling. It’s obviously disappointing that we won’t be participating at The International in Bucharest, but at the same time, we are immensely proud of what we have achieved in such a short amount of time and excited to see what the future holds.

We’ve been developing our roster and saw rapid improvement throughout the season, so our goal now is to compete and win against the TI participants.

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Since its inception, the FIFA section of Tundra Esports hasn’t yet managed to deliver consistent results. What do you think is the reason behind this? And how do you plan on overcoming the inconsistency barrier?

We have had impressive results on both an international and domestic level winning in total 10+ trophies since our inception. It’s important to note that we’ve also been unlucky with the pandemic canceling 2 FIFAe World Cups.

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We understand that Tundra Esports is still comparatively new to the Esports circuit but why is it that there’s no Valorant roster yet? Considering the massive outburst of the title globally, are there any plans where we can see Tundra Esports facing off against the Sentinels?

We are always exploring new avenues to grow the Tundra brand. When we enter a new esport we go through a strategic process by identifying the best opportunity for long-term growth. For VALORANT we wanted to wait to see how the ecosystem develops over time but it is definitely on our radar as a potential new discipline.

Talking about the ability to financially sustain a DOTA 2 roster, what are your thoughts on the current DOTA Pro Circuit structure and what are some of the changes that you think would benefit the esports environment?

I think a better distribution of prize money. The International provides a top-heavy competitive ecosystem and we have seen prize money outside of it decrease while TI continues to increase.

We were pleased to see the implementation of the Supporters Club Bundle by Valve and hope to see this continued that supports teams on all levels. At the end of the day, we want all teams to flourish from top to bottom to create a healthy ecosystem not only financially but also in terms of talent development.

Given that Tundra Esports is a fairly new organisation, what are long-term goals that you have set for yourself and how do you plan on achieving them?

We are looking for long-term growth in all areas of the organisation as well as developing all of our staff and players both in and outside of the game.

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The key is growing the brand sustainably and creating something meaningful to the community which they can relate to. The community is right at the core of everything we do and we want them to join the journey with us

Tundra’s main objective is to bring the best esports players together and shine a spotlight on top talent, even if it means taking our time to improve as individual teams before we do so.

We are not in esports to make a quick buck and our approach is to create a fundamentally sound business. We aim to become a household gaming and entertainment brand.

What are your thoughts on mobile esports and can we expect to see Tundra Esports making an entrance in the mobile esports scene sometime in the near future?

It’s a rapidly growing segment of gaming/esports and one which we are paying close attention to. We are keeping all options open and will never shut down any opportunities.

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Read more: Best DOTA 2 heroes for new players in 2021