Catching Up with Kenny, Envoy and SlasheR Ahead of the CDL Championship

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Envoy during the 2021 CDL Championship / SlasheR during the 2021 CDL Championship / Kenny during the 2022 CDL Pro-Am Classic / Getty Images

Winning the Call of Duty League Championship is considered a pinnacle of achievement in the COD esports community. It cements a team's legacy and establishes its place in the history of competitive gaming. The title of world champion brings prestige, respect, and recognition to the victorious team and its players, elevating their status within the esports industry.

This year's iteration of the CDL Championship kicks off tomorrow, June 15th, and will see eight teams compete for $2 million in total prizing. To hear a bit about the thinking that goes into competitive play like this, we caught up with three players ahead of the tournament: Kenny of the LA Thieves, Envoy of the LA Thieves and Atlanta FaZe's SlasheR.

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Kenny, LA Thieves

Kenny, whose full name is Kenny Williams, is a renowned professional Call of Duty player who has made a significant impact on the competitive gaming scene. Kenny's passion for gaming emerged at a young age, and he quickly developed exceptional skills in the popular first-person shooter franchise.

The LA Thieves player is notably a 2022 World Champion, and was the MVP of the 2022 World Championship, making him one of the most elite players in the brief history of the CDL so far. With his passion, dedication, and exceptional skill set, Kenny has solidified himself as one of the most influential figures in the Call of Duty esports scene.

ONE37pm: What goals and ambitions do you have now that you’ve won major championships in multiple titles, and last year a World Championship?

Kenny: I think for me it is just naturally being a competitor. I’ll never be okay with losing. In terms of goals, since I’ve won every kind of tournament, I feel like I just want to keep winning more for legacy, to be talked around the greats. For me, I’m a team-oriented person. I want to build a team that can win forever. I want to keep winning with the same group of people.

ONE37pm: What advice would you give to Challenger and college players that want to go pro one day?

Kenny: Being accountable for your mistakes. I feel like a lot of people lack that nowadays. I feel like everybody can shoot straight now. Maybe not everyone can think the same, but knowing your individual issues and fixing them is huge. That is what tears apart these Challenger teams. I see them changing all the time. A lot of them look at the stats. Some people have bad mentalities. A lot of bad teammates. I feel like people gas up our team for having a good team environment. That’s something we’ve nailed. Self-accountability and keeping each other accountable.

ONE37pm: Do you think coaches and support staff help create a culture and a system for the team?

I feel like JKap (Head Coach) and I have similar minds when it comes to Call of Duty. We’ve teamed together. He’s been my coach for years. We put a team together that all understand how we want to play the game. You have to trust the process of how you want to play the game. Shane (Assistant Coach) brought a different vibe to our team when he joined. They’re actually like a Yin and Yang. They are two different types of people, but they also mesh really well when it comes to coaching. And our GM brings all the stats so I feel like it’s a great mixture of people that we’ve been building on.

ONE37pm: What is your routine on game day at a major tournament?

Kenny: I usually get there at least 2 hours before. I wake up and group up with my team. I like to go to the venue when the first match starts. I usually don’t like to eat much on match days. I have like a smoothie or something like that. I feel like when you’re too full, you’re slow and sluggish. If we have multiple matches in the day I’ll eat a snack or two. An hour and a half before our match starts we have a scrim set up. So scrim. Then game time.

You can play the game all day and not be productive. It’s how you use those hours in the day when you are on the game that matters.

- Kenny

ONE37pm: How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance while playing 6-8 hours a day? Or do you think you have to go in 120% and maybe neglect some things?

Kenny: I like balance. I feel like you can get burned out. Some people think they need to play, play, play, and never have a break. You can play the game all day and not be productive. It’s how you use those hours in the day when you are on the game that matters.

ONE37pm: How do you handle the pressure and expectations that come from being on a high-profile team with a high-profile owner?

I feel like it’s different for me because I’ve been with my organization for a while now. I know what the organization expects. I want to win and they want to win. I’m close with everyone here. Nadeshot (Owner of LA Thieves) and I can throw jabs at each other because we’re like a family now. Nade and I have a different relationship than different players and their higher-ups. We all want to win. It comes with the territory.

Envoy, LA Thieves

Envoy, whose real name is Dylan Hannon, also plays for the LA Thieves, the same roster that took home the championship last year. Envoy has earned a reputation for his exceptional skills, versatile playstyle, and strong contributions to his teams.

Aside from his individual skills, Envoy is also known for his strong teamwork and communication. He understands the importance of effective coordination and synergy with his teammates, often making selfless plays and prioritizing the team's objectives. His ability to make crucial callouts and contribute to cohesive strategies has proven invaluable in securing victories for his teams.

ONE37pm: How do you balance professional gaming with your personal life?

Envoy: When I was coming up in the scene, I didn’t really acknowledge balance. I was just out of high school so all I was doing was playing Call of Duty all day. That’s the only thing I really played, but as I’ve gotten older I realized it’s good to have balance and divide your day. Wake up in the morning to about 8 hours of scrims and VOD. Afterward, I think it’s good for me to take a break and wait a couple of hours before playing again or playing a different game. Get out and do just normal things like go to the mall or go to the beach—I’m in LA, so I go to Santa Monica.

I think that’s one of the coolest parts about the CDL and teaming with different people. You can respect everyone's grind. 

- Envoy

ONE37pm: What are your favorite parts about being in the CDL and being on LA Thieves?

Envoy: My favorite part about competing in the league is just playing against the highest level of competition. I think anyone when they were younger always looks up to any sport they watched. MLB, NBA, NHL you’re looking at the highest level of competition. Respect everyone’s work ethic. Their idea about the game and their day-to-day life is all about the game. I think that’s one of the coolest parts about the CDL and teaming with different people. You can respect everyone's grind. 

As for being on a big team like LAT, I’m super grateful that I have a bunch of people supporting me. 100 Thieves does the utmost for us when it comes to stuff outside the game. We have our 2 coaches, our analyst, and GM. We have physical therapy and mental health exercises that 100 Thieves provide. Ultimately I think it's made this team more of a unit. 

ONE37pm: How do you handle the nerves, or do you not get nervous anymore?

Envoy: When it comes to nerves, if anyone tells you they don’t have any nerves they’re probably straight up lying to you. I think at the end of the day we all live for that feeling of not knowing what’s next. But when it comes to it, I think your day-in and day-out practice is what you’re going to lean back on in those nervous moments. You’re going to lean back on your good tendencies and just what you know. I always say to trust your instincts, because when it comes to those high-pressure scenarios, when it’s hard to make a decision you just have to trust yourself. 

ONE37pm: What advice would you give to Challenger and college players that want to go pro one day?

Envoy: My advice to Challenger players or CCL players that want to go pro mainly would probably be to stream and put what you’re working with out there. Sometimes it's hard for us pro players or coaches to see what you’re doing stat-wise and take it into account without actually watching you play. 

Otherwise, you need to be a big team player and have a good attitude. It’s going to bring you a long way. Not burning bridges because they can come back to haunt you.

ONE37pm: What is your routine on game day at a major tournament?

Kenny: So waking up on game day I’m going to have a pretty basic routine. I want to wake up, shower, and chug a bunch of water. I'm usually up around 4 or 5 hours before the match or maybe even longer, but ideally, it's a 3-4 range. Leading to that head to the venue and get a good meal in. Food is going to go a long way when it comes to energy. You really don’t want to treat an event as something it isn’t. I’ve been to 50 events or something and I just want to treat it like any other day.

SlasheR, Atlanta FaZe

SlasheR, whose real name is Austin Liddicoat, is a prominent professional Call of Duty player known for his exceptional skills and competitive prowess. He currently plays for FaZe, and won the 2016 World Championship while playing for the now-retired Team Envy. Known for his exceptional accuracy, game sense, and leadership skills, SlasheR has earned numerous accolades and achievements.

ONE37pm: What are the most important things you need at the highest level of competition?

SlasheR: I think that the most important thing you need is game awareness or game IQ. I think a lot of players shoot pretty straight in Call of Duty and have the mechanics down, but you need to know when to do certain things and also how to facilitate teammates. 

I'm playing for the cherry on top.

- SlasheR

ONE37pm: How do you handle the pressure of being surrounded by MVPs with a trio (aBeZy, Simp, Cellium) that has won the most since 2019?

SlasheR: I knew the situation coming in, like what kind of position it would put me in and the pressure involved with that. I think that I’ve always been pretty good in high-pressure situations. I feel like now at a point in my career that there is still pressure to perform, but I’ve accomplished so much and won a lot and been a top player for so long that I don't even look at it as pressure anymore. It's just another day. Now I'm playing for the cherry on top.

ONE37pm: How do you stay motivated after losing or having a bad year or stretch?

SlasheR: I guess if you’re ever going through tough times you just have to suck it up and push through. Again, I’ve been playing for so long that you’re going to have tough times. Nobody has gone this long without having a tough time. It’s about staying confident in yourself and your abilities. Sticking with the grind and knowing you will bounce back.

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