Interview with Genna Bain, manager of the newly formed Axiom eSports
For MLG Raleigh, popular gaming commentary website Cynical Brit (the home of TotalBiscuit) in collaboration with Reddit sponsored a player to come to the tournament who showed massive amounts of potential in Korea, but did not have a team. That player was one Choi "CranK" Jae Won - a player who had had an extremely impressive run before being signed, qualifying for GSL Season 4 in code A, winning the IPL 5 Amateur Open, and placing in the top 12 at MLG Raleigh. This move by Cynical Brit led many to wonder if they were going to found a team - and they have: Axiom eSports. I had a chance to catch up with Genna Bain, wife of TotalBiscuit, manager of the newly formed Axiom eSports and Cynical Brit the night of the big unveiling of the team. Check out what she had to say!
Dustin Steiner, GameZone eSports Correspondent: Being the manager of Cynical Brit must come with a laundry list of responsibilities – what is a typical day in the life of a manager of such a large presence in the gaming community like?
Genna Bain, Manager of Axiom eSports: I wake up pretty early every morning to get the Bainling off to school and then try to get a majority of my admin duties done before lunch time. Hopefully, between tasks, I can get some actual laundry done. The joys of working from your own home, right? A large part of my day to day is actually scanning the internet for people copying TB's content, preventing him from reading YouTube comments and booking future appearances.
DS: Your husband TotalBiscuit started doing commentary for StarCraft II fairly early on in the game’s life – when was your first experience at a tournament and how was it?
GB: As a gamer, I've attended many eSports prior to SC2. My first experience attending a tournament with a live crowd and TB commentating was MLG Anaheim. It was a really great experience to see everything come together from behind the scenes.
DS: So obviously the burning question every fan wants to know – what made you decide to start an eSports team? And why now?
GB: Starting a team has always been a dream of mine ever since I started attending events. It was obviously just a passing thought then and I never really gave it much serious consideration as I wasn't in the kind of position to make that happen. Many years later, here we are, and I've reached a place in my life where I feel that my primary business is doing well enough to take on some additional projects. TB has always been supportive about reaching out and improving the eSports community where possible, so this was just a natural progression for us.
DS: What goes into starting your own eSports team? How is it different from running a general gaming clan?
GB: Having been part of both a BW clan and WC3 guild, I can say that owning a team is a world of difference. In a gaming clan, you obviously want to foster a group of close-knit individuals who game together in hopes that some emerging talent will go on to represent you at prestigious events. As a team owner, there is a whole different kind of pressure. You have to select your players with more precision and be constantly developing new opportunities to promote them as well as increasing your own brand awareness as a team entity.
DS: Tell me a bit about the name Axiom eSports – how did you come up with it?
GB: Axiom in it's original meaning in Greek means, “worthy”. I wanted every player that we bring onto the team to feel just that. In it's more modern definition it is a self evident truth that requires no justification. It is also a premise or a starting point. This is our starting point.
DS: What made you decide to go with Crank as your first signed player?
GB : CranK showed a lot of promise before we had even considered bringing him to MLG Raleigh on a single event sponsorship. This was a good test for us to see how managing a player would work out. Sure, we have experience in the industry, but not with managing players or running teams. This was a bit of new territory for us. We greatly enjoyed the experience and, from his performance in the open bracket through to championship Sunday, we felt that he has a great deal of potential given the right support.
DS: Do you have plans to open a training house, as many other major teams have?
GB: I don't find it necessary at this point in time as we only have one active player signed to Axiom. As new players are added, however, this will most likely become a necessity.
DS: Any prospective future Axiom players you have an eye on? If you can’t/don’t want to say, what sort of qualities are you looking for from future Axiom players?
GB: There are a few unsigned, yet talented players that have captured our attention, however, I am not at liberty to reveal their names. I am looking for players that haven't lost their passion for the game. My goal is to provide an opportunity for players who, for one reason or another, just have not had the chance to showcase their talent in major US and EU tournaments. I want to cultivate a team that supports a closer connection with the community so that fans feel that the players are accessible, regardless of any language barrier that might exist.
DS: Having two commentators in your husband TotalBiscuit and Husky as your first two sponsors will certainly be helpful – do you have any plans to run any Axiom sponsored tournaments in the coming months?
GB: There is some serious building to do with the brand and the player roster. While I would love to say yes immediately, I really want to see our business plan solidify and our sponsorship for the team stable before committing to sponsored tournaments so quickly.
DS: Is Axiom looking to get into any other games aside from StarCraft II?
GB: At this time, we are only looking at StarCraft. I think taking on additional games would spread our focus too thin. The result would be mediocre and that's not what we're looking to achieve here with Axiom.
DS: Do you have any closing words for your new fans?
GB: Thank you so much for being supportive of everyone here at Axiom. We are extremely excited about the future of this endeavor. Please check out Ax.CranK's games as he competes in the MvP Invitational and we look forward to seeing everyone at MLG Dallas and IPL5 in November!
Thanks Genna! We look forward to seeing all Axiom will accomplish in the coming months - good luck at MLG Dallas and IPL5! You can follow Axiom eSports on Twitter @AxiomeSports
Dustin Steiner is GameZone's eSports Correspondent! Follow him on Twitter @VGHC_Deitis and check out Video Gaming Hard Corps, where he is a local tournament organizer for the S. FL. Fighting Game Community.