The Chronicles of NightEnD
Posted 2013-02-13 Inz
"I'm a competitor and I'll die as one"
NightEnD has become a household name in the European StarCraft 2 scene. But when this journey started Silviu didn’t set out to become a professional gamer, despite having the competitive nature and drive to achieve it, he first had to find out what competitive gaming was.
Growing up in a small community called Dobroesti on the outskirts of Bucharest, Romania. A young Silviu had no idea where his life was taking him, until a friend planted an idea in his mind: “I was introduced to professional gaming from a friend called Haba”. This idea stuck in the mind of Silviu and at age 15 he set his sights on achieving this dream.
His career was already on track, he enjoyed playing games, mostly for fun but soon his competitive drive kicked in and he wanted to see how far that could take him: “I’ve always loved the competition – I’m a competitor and I’ll die as one.” His game of choice at the time was WarCraft 3. With everything falling into place, Silviu signed up for his first tournament against the best of the best in Romania and what followed was the stuff of legends.
Going into his first tournament: inexperienced, untrained but full of passion. Not only did Silviu play well but he crushed the competition. It was at that moment he realized this dream of becoming a professional gamer was a possible reality for him, since then he has never looked back. With the support of his family Silviu followed his dreams into the wonderful world of eSports.
Pursuing a career in either WarCraft 3 or StarCraft 2 is very lonely, when you’re competing every loss is all on you, every mistake is all on you, you can't share that pain with teammates. For Silviu it was even lonelier: “In Romania the scene is almost nonexistent, there aren’t many players.” Regardless of his disadvantage Silviu excelled at WarCraft 3 in his home country and advanced to be known on a global stage. However taking that next step is scary to many, but not Silviu.
In September of 2009 he attended the Extreme Masters Global Challenge: Chengdu Qualifier. This was his first experience of being the small fish in a big pond. Surrounded by superstars of the game: Focus, ReMinD, Check, Soccer, the list goes on. He fell short of advancing to the Quarter Finals and placed 9th through 16th but his determination kept him going, through all the struggles he continued to chase victory. Later that year in October he travelled to Korea to compete in the IEF event featuring the best of the best in WarCraft 3. His group featured two legends of the game: Fly and Moon. He shocked the world when he was able to compete against two players who would go on to the Hall of Fame of WarCraft 3. There wasn't many players from Europe who could compete at such a high level as Silviu was. At his peak Silviu rated himself as top 8 in Europe. Throughout all his time in WarCraft 3, his most memorable achievement was in the ENC Romania vs. Netherlands match: “During the ENC match I had to face Grubby, the best and most successful player from Europe. I beat him even though he was Orc and I was Undead. I think that was my happiest moment in all of eSports.”
With WarCraft 3 fading, Silviu set his sights on a new game, StarCraft 2. Leaving behind his WarCraft 3 roots was tough but he was excited to start a new chapter in his gaming career: “It felt really good, as I was escaping the Orc vs. Undead match up.” So the transition began, he quit WarCraft 3 and switched his focus to StarCraft 2.
"I was escaping the Orc vs Undead Match up"
"I thought Protoss would be the Orc of SC2, that didn't turn out too well"
Upon starting the game he chose the Protoss race which he still has mixed feelings about: “I picked Protoss because I enjoyed it during StarCraft 1. I also thought that Protoss would be the Orc of StarCraft 2, that didn’t turn out so well.” Nevertheless he pushed on, getting back into his grind and setting his goals.
In typical NightEnD fashion he kept practicing and developing his skills, waiting for his big break. In 2011 his play stepped up a level and he joined the conversation of: Who’s the best in Europe? In February 2011, Silviu was the 14th player to qualify for the TSL 3. In the first round he went up against StarCraft legend, Boxer. In a close fought series Boxer pulled off the victory late in the third game. Silviu marked his name as one of the best international players after that match and continued to push forward in his career. As Dreamhack Winter came around in November 2011 Silviu was on site to deliver his best performance in StarCraft 2. After making it through two rigorous group stages he found himself in the Top 16 of the event. Many people doubted he would go any further but the show wasn’t over as he made it all the way to the Semi-Finals before falling to Korean superstar, Puma. Silviu finished in 3rd place but he has mixed feelings on the event: “I regret that I couldn’t play my best in the Semi-Finals. I got extremely tired towards the end but it was still a good run.”
So far in StarCraft 2, Silviu feels he has surpassed his success in WarCraft 3 already. That is due to his persistent need for competition, through the bad times in his career or the high points he maintains the same dedication and routine that got him there in the first place.
It’s extremely difficult to stay at a high level in StarCraft 2 for an extended period of time, only a select few have what it takes to extend their 15 minutes of fame for the duration of their career. NightEnD has stayed competitive in two games and that in itself speaks for his ambition and work ethic. Silviu explains what sets him apart from the rest: “I’m ambitious, I combine my passion with hard work and that can only have good results. “
A normal day at work for him includes practice on the StarCraft ladder, watching replays and studying VoDs of his opponents. This daily grind is the key component to being ready for a tournament. When the event comes round he kicks it into high gear and practice sessions can extend for over 8 hours a day as he prepares for every possible scenario that he may face. It’s this ability to prepare that sets the professional players apart from the good players.
“From the age of 15 or 16 I’ve always wanted to become a professional gamer, I’ve reached that and I will probably remain in this world forever”. He continues to practice, day in-day out and aims to achieve another memorable moment in the new expansion of StarCraft: “I feel like StarCraft 2 is a very competitive game and extremely difficult to master, at this point I feel that I made the right decision in my life by becoming a professional gamer. I will continue to work hard for my fans." However he does realize the gamble he took when he chose this profession: “I would never suggest or encourage anyone to become a professional gamer, because it’s so hard to make it, and in order to earn a good living you have to be one of the very best from your continent.”
2013 is just beginning and it's going to be an eventful year, Silviu has adapted to the new expansion. He's performing well and had this to say to his fans: "I'm grateful to all of you, and I want you to know that 2013 will be MY year!"
" I combine my passion with hard work and that can only have good results"