Brandon Saintvicious DiMarco Gave Up A Life To Play League Of Legends

Pro gamer Saintvicious explains just how competitive eSports has become for the top League of Legends players.
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Brandon ‘Saintvicious’ DiMarco is one of the more popular personalities in professional gaming today. The captain of Team Curse lives in Las Vegas inside the Curse Gaming House, where he and his teammates’ lives are captured through livestreaming cameras. He plays with Joe “Voyboy” Esfahani, Jacky “Nyjacky” Wang, David “Cop” Roberson and Edward “EdWard” Abgarya. The jungler of the team took some time out of his non-stop gaming schedule to talk about the explosive growth of eSports, Championship Series Season 3 and offer some tips for those who want to make a living playing Riot Games’ League of Legends in this exclusive interview.

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How did you get involved in eSports?

I played League of Legends and it ended up being the most popular game in the world. I think it was a matter of some good luck and some inherent skill where I ended up being really good at the game. I ended up knowing the right people and being friends with the right people. 

What does it take to be a pro gamer?

Above anything else it requires passion and a desire to win. You have to want to push yourself every single day and work very hard. You have to be able to sacrifice your friends, family and time to win and practice. Most people think they push themselves and give up a lot when in reality they aren’t pushing themselves at all. You have to push yourself.

What have you sacrificed to get to where you are today?

You have no free time. I’ve only taken off four days in the last two years to go on a small vacation. There’s always some match or tournament coming up that you need to prepare for.

Why do you think League of Legends has propelled eSports to a new level beyond what other games like StarCraft II have achieved?

It’s an easier game to watch with more personalities, since it’s a team game

What advice would you give to aspiring pro gamers?

Be realistic, there are 50 million people that play League of Legends and only a handful (maybe about a hundred) are good enough and determined enough to be pro and make money at the game. Being a pro gamer is not for everyone, just like being a pro football player is not for everyone.

How have you seen opportunities for new gamers in eSports evolve since you began as a pro?

There are more opportunities than just being a gamer. The industry has exploded. There are jobs as coaches, analysts, marketing, promotion, sponsorship sales, website management and much more. It’s a big industry.

What’s it like living in a Gaming House?

It’s a lot like going to college and living in a Dorm, but with less free time.

What’s your life as a Curse pro gamer like?

It’s not bad we are all friends and all get along. Curse treats me well

What’s the secret to your success in League of Legends

Think about everything! LOL.

What are your thoughts on the fan feuds that seem to occur out there between League of Legends and StarCraft II?

I don’t know it seems to be more on the StarCraft II side. I don’t really think League cares about StarCraft much.

How do events in the U.S. compare to other events in Korea and Europe that you’ve attended?

I’ve competed in other countries, but the fans are different. In Korea they’re more devout, more in the fanatic sense. I think it’s mainly the fans being a little bit different.

How have you seen League of Legends grow in popularity around the world?

It’s grown a lot. I’ve played League since it was in beta, and there were literally a couple of hundred people playing the game, maybe a hundred to two hundred among the real early beta. Nowadays they have 50 million or something people signed up, so it’s funny to see it go from a hundred to 50 million people.

What do you think that impact has had on other games, like StarCraft II?

I think it’s made people more aware of the eSports scene. Blizzard is definitely more active in the eSports scene now. Before they relied on other companies to do it for them, and now they see that Riot is the main company and being proactive, the company that made the game. I think Blizzard is trying follow that.

Why do you think League of Legends has just gained so much traction when it comes to the eSports scene?

Because of Riot, basically. League is a fun game to watch, as opposed to Dota. The art styles are a little bit different. It’s easier to follow League, and it’s easy to pick it up, too. The game is designed for casuals, but there’s also that high skill ceiling, so anybody can play. That’s the nice thing.

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John Gaudiosi
John Gaudiosi has been covering the video game business for over 20 years for outlets like The Washington Post, Reuters, Fortune, AOL and CNN. He's EIC of video game site