As a storyteller, if anyone was to ask me what my favorite moment at MSI was, it would definitely have to be when Pentanet.GG beat Unicorns of Love in the tiebreaker to make it into the Rumble stage. It also marked the first time that a team from Oceania made it out of the group stages, so history was made in that moment. Personally, however, they are the team that not only made the games themselves interesting, they also entertained the community through all the memes and interactions on social media.
Meet WINGUARDIAN, the video producer & social media manager for Pentanet.GG. He was like the 7th member for the team, because behind all the memes, the incredible amount of hustle that he put into the branding of PGG was what put the team on the map. I'm not discrediting the hard work that the players put in, of course, but without WINGUARDIAN, it's safe to presume that Pentanet would look like a very different team.
You are the mastermind who had a huge part in making Pentanet.GG known during MSI, but our readers may or may not know who you are. Please introduce yourself!
My name is Winston, also known as WINGUARDIAN, and I am the video producer and the social media manager for Pentanet.GG.
Tell us about how you got to where you are today; your esports journey.
My esports journey began when I was a kid, but I didn’t start working in esports until 2018. When I was really young, back in like, 2005, I got really into the competitive scene of Starcraft. At the time, I didn’t really think too much into it; fast forward to 2013, League of Legends blew up in OCE and got its own server, and I had a friend recommend the game. I was hesitant at first, but I gave it a go on my birthday, and got hooked onto it straight away.
Whether you’re a fan or staff in LoL Esports, I think that they want, or at least fantasize about becoming a pro player at some point. I grinded, but having to move to Indonesia in 2014 made me give up that hope.
Then, in 2015, I watched Team Liquid’s LoL documentary called ‘Rebirth’. I remember the time when I watched it; it was 11 pm on a Tuesday night. I finished the whole series in one night, because it was incredible. Then I realized, “I still want to do something in esports. This is really cool, and I don’t have to become a pro player to be in esports.” I wanted to be behind the camera and tell the stories of the players.
Gaming at the time was still considered ‘nerdy’; it wasn’t widely accepted. However, they’re also human behind the scenes, and I wanted to portray that into video content. When I moved back to Sydney in 2017, I went to film school for a film degree. A year later, I randomly saw a Twitter post from Legacy Esports’ social media guy, who later became one of my closest friends in esports. He was looking for a guy that can cut the team’s Twitch clips from the OPL.
I applied without any expectations, and got an email from him a few days later. I was a huge LCK, especially Samsung Galaxy [Gen.G] fan, so I made highlight videos of them on my Youtube channel. I was heavily inspired by the production from the LCK and EU LCS [LEC]; I analyzed their videos by slowing the videos to 0.5x speed to see how the various cuts and special effects were being utilized.
Legacy said that they liked my work, so I was brought to the OPL studios to film stuff for them. Things got more serious in split 2; I was offered a contract, did work during the Rift Rivals that was held in Sydney, and had a lot of creative freedom in the content I was creating.
As far as I know, you also worked with Gen.G. Tell me about your time with them as well.
Fast forwarding to 2019, I was on a vacation, attending a wedding, and my friend told me about a videographer position that opened up in Gen.G. I wasted no time in applying for it, and scored an interview with them, which took place at 6 am. I already created the Gen.G Discord community from scratch, and had a lot of Twitter interactions with the Gen.G people, so they kind of already knew who I was. They’re my dream org, and they sent me a contract in December of that year.
I was over in Korea, and managed to watch an LCK game in the staff room with the Gen.G Korea guys. It was crazy. If you told me in 2017 that I was going to be in the same room as Ruler, my favorite player of all time, it would’ve been mind-blowing. I said hi to Ruler, and he said ‘Ni-hao’ to me [laughter]. He got flustered, and said hello afterwards. I shared a ride with the Gen.G LCK players, and even got a photo with Ruler and Edgar afterwards. The whole experience was surreal.
You’re like the 7th member of PGG, but you must’ve been bummed out that you couldn’t be in Iceland.
The reason why I couldn’t be there in person wasn’t because of Riot or the team; it was more of a personal health issue. I went for a checkup before Iceland, but the doctor said that I should not go to a cold country, especially without getting vaccinated. I’m not dying, don’t worry [laughter].
It was pretty depressing. I think I was in a terrible mood for like two weeks. Ever since I was part of Gen.G, I always wanted to make an esports documentary. I wanted to get back on the field, spend time with the players, and just make content.
What did PGG making into the Rumble stage during the MSI mean to you?
I was super ecstatic and proud of the boys. When I was on Legacy together with Praedyth and Chazz, our record was 1-20 during the split. We keep memeing about it now, but as a team from the wildcard region, the LCO is a lot weaker. From going 1-20 at one point to achieving top 6 at MSI and making history for OCE is what really resonated with me, and I was proud to be in charge of socials and the videos for the team.
I was on adrenaline, because the interactions exploded not just on the team’s account, but individually as well. Even though the time zone difference made me stay up all night, I responded to every single tweet and DM that we were getting; I went to sleep as a very happy boy, something that I didn’t get in years.
Tell us some of your memorable moments, whether they may be interactions with other teams, memes, or even just cheerful messages/mentions that you received during MSI.
The LEC casters were all tweeting out congratulations, and to celebrate it, Sjokz, Drakos, and Caedrel all did a ‘Shoey’ to celebrate us making it to the Rumble stage. It was crazy watching that live. I remember all the congratulatory messages, as well as even discord dms.
One of the messages that stood out the most was from an international fan, who said that us making it to the Rumble stage was a huge inspiration for him. It turns out that he’s a big fan of wildcard regions, so he was inspired by our story and our journey; from losing infrastructure on talent to making history as the first OCE team to make it past the group stage.
PGG had 5K Twitter engagements in April to 489K during MSI, and the overall response from everyone following the scene has been incredible. What are some of the things that you feel you do different from others? What separates Pentanet.GG’s social media game from that of others?
Whether it’s on Discord or Twitter, I make the effort to respond to every single message that we get from the fans. PGG’s a new team, no one knows too much about the team, so I needed to make the effort to interact with the fans to keep them as long as you can, and build a community and a sense of camaraderie with them. We’re from OCE; we get paid in McDonald’s Happy Meals, so the strategy of spam to success really paid its dividends.
Whether it’s through memes or whatever, I wanted to spam the players and the coach’s faces, to the point where you know who they are just by looking at their photos. I was in a perfect spot for that, because the players I work with are the best of players from the content and branding point of view. Pabu has his own brand that he built out of his time at All-Stars, Praedyth and Chazz are trash talkers at heart, so the fact that they can do it publicly now really enabled them.
Everyone’s branding really came in together for MSI, and I don’t think we would have this much success without them. I think as a pro player, the quality of knowing how to brand themselves is critical. In that regard, I hit the jackpot of being able to have that creative freedom and be able to work with them.
Interacting with the teams, personalities, caster talent; basically whoever’s involved and is well-known in the community is a given, but I went the distance to interact with everyone. I wanted to show that we’re a loud team, and are here to entertain everyone. I was the air support for my players.
I heard you're a big anime guy, so if you had to compare each of the members on PGG to an anime character, who would they represent?
Chazz and Praedyth literally have the same personality; I don’t really know how they put up with one another. However, I would say that Chazz is like ‘Isumi Sakashima’ from the anime Haikyuu. The character’s a salty kid who always yells the most irritable remarks from 10 feet away. Chazz can be silent and observant, but likes to trash talk; when he’s in his zone, he’s so passionate in his craft.
Decoy doesn’t give up, finds ways to bounce back from low points, and is clutch in the most insane moments, so I would have to compare him to another character from Haikyuu, Ryūnosuke Tanaka. They’re both nearly bald too, so visually, he fits the bill as well [laughter]. For Pabu, I’ll just say Broly from Dragonball Z, just because of the green hair [laughter]. Like a shrimp version of Broly.
Biopanther’s like Shikamaru from Naruto, because he’s the strategist and the leader of the team. He’s very observant, and leads by example; he’s always talking about what they need to do next in voice comms. He’s a very smart player.
I would compare Udysof to Kento Nanami from Jujutsu Kaisen. Because they’re both always in a suit, they look like they’re in corporate; while Udysof may give off the same vibe as that character, he doesn’t have the same class as him.
For DSN [Diana Nguyen, PGG’s sub support], I would compare her to Kiyoko from Haikyuu. The character is the team manager, so she helps out with the players’ mental problems, and is always there for the team at the most crucial times. I feel like Diana is very similar to her, because in an unreleased interview that’s going to be released soon, Decoy talks about how the team atmosphere was a bit iffy because of the losses, but Diana was there to lift the players’ spirits. I call her ‘The Mom’ of Pentanet, because she has this warm vibe to her.
Praedyth is like Asahi Azumane from Haikyuu. He’s quiet and a bit introverted, but when he’s in his game, he’s really loud. While I don’t want to boost his ego and call him the ace of the team, he’s a crucial part of the team alongside Chazz as the carries. Aside from his int moments at MSI, of course [laughter].
Future direction & goals for PGG’s social media?
I think we’ve retained a lot of international fans from MSI, so moving forward, I want to continue interacting with them to show our appreciation for them and that we care. Not just them, but also to the fans that have been with us since day 1. We’ve also been getting DMs from the Chinese fans due to our relationship with RNG, so we’ll be opening up a Weibo account as well.
Moving to split 2,I'll be working with the LCO for video production and video editing while doing PGG stuff as well, with the main focus of helping develop the brand of our region and our players. Win or lose, I want to show our fans what’s happening in our games. I feel like I need to capitalize on our team’s recent international success, and to do that, I need to contribute by bringing more eyes to the LCO broadcast, and help the region grow. More content, more interactions, more memes, and more on what’s happening behind the scenes; by the end of it all, I hope that we win the finals and go to Worlds.
When COVID’s over and you’re allowed to travel to places for different esports events, what are some of the things that you’d like to do (Both for the team and yourself)?
I want to show more of that relaxed, Australian culture, and the team atmosphere that we have. People remember us from MSI as the team that never tilts, which was shown through voice comms. Of course, we take the game seriously, but we’re also here to have fun.
As for myself, whenever I find myself ready to move on from Pentanet, I want to join a bigger region for video production. I want to travel a bit more when I still can. When I was working in LA for Gen.G, I was pretty much stuck in my apartment for 10 months due to COVID. Before going there, I only knew about the place because of GTA V, so I want to go back and do a bit more exploring, like Venice Beach. All this may sound a bit weird, but I want to take back what was robbed away by COVID.
I also want to work on my own personal branding, but also join a bigger team that doesn’t take away from my creative freedom. It was one of the problems I faced along my journey, where I lost motivation due to the lack of that freedom. In all aspects, I just want to be a better version of myself, both as a person and in the job I’m doing.
Lastly, is there anything you’d like to say to all those that have shown support for PGG?
Thank you to all those that have shown support, whether it’s on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Youtube. I read every single one of the comments, and try to respond to all of them, because they mean a lot to us. I always look forward to waking up and checking the interactions that I missed, because the positive interactions always lift me up in the morning. It’s been a banger so far, and moving to split 2 of LCO, I hope that everyone will be excited to watch our games, and will look to provide highlight videos for those that missed out due to time zone difference.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports