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Denial Jeremy “Studyy” Astacio Puts Family First

After winning his share of the $200,000 second place prize purse at the 2014 Call of Duty Championship, pro gamer Jeremy Astacio made sure his mother and grandmother were taken care of.
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With the amount of prize money circulating in eSports today, it’s not just the first place teams that walk away rich. At the 2014 Call of Duty Championship, Team Envyus earned $200,000 for losing to Complexity in the Finals this year. Jeremy “Studyy” Astacio is relatively new to the eSports scene, but he was able to make it to the Big Game this year. The pro gamer, who joined Team Denial this summer, has been playing professionally for just over a year. Astacio talks about his favorite match and offers some tips to playing Call of Duty Ghosts in this exclusive interview.

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Gameskinny [GS]: How did you get involved in eSports?

Jeremy Astacio: Last year was when I first got involved in eSports. I’ve only been in this thing one year and I’ve grown so much. But I got involved playing with my cousin and we started off playing World at War and all the old games. Eventually, I took myself to the competitor scene in Black Ops II and I started building myself up to where I am now.

GS: What’s the difference between someone who’s good at Call of Duty and someone who’s a professional?

Astacio: The difference between someone who’s good at Call of Duty and a professional is that we can master ourselves in any Call of Duty game type. If we decided to play Infected or something, we have strategies for that. A good gamer is a guy who has a 50 kill game and then he goes to a 20 kill game. But at a professional level you just average the same amount of kills on every map.

GS: What are you known for within the Call of Duty community?

Astacio: I’m known for my S&D game and my sniper, as you can see from the Call of Duty Championship.  I literally sniped everything in my sight. My S&D game is why I originally started in eSports and it’s grown so much since then.  

GS: What’s a favorite match that stands out for your career?

Astacio: My favorite match would have to be the match we played against Envyus before I was on this team. I was on Justus at MLG Columbus, and we ended up placing and we ended up beating them 3-2. We ended up getting third at that event and that was when I placed pro in this game and I am where I am. After that, I joined this team, that’s the favorite match.

GS: What’s it like living in Gaming House?

Astacio: Having a Gaming House is really helpful because when you argue with your teammate online, people sometimes just storm off and get offline or completely block you out.  When we’d argue in the (Envyus) team house — me and Ray (“Rambo” Lussier) would actually go at it sometimes — but then we would talk it out because there’s no point in having tension between us. It’s really helpful being in the same house.  We have to wake up and see our teammates every day and we’d just chill.  It’s just natural.

GS: What’s a favorite map of yours in Ghosts and why?

Astacio: My favorite map in Ghosts would have to be S&D Octane because it’s so big and so huge that I can snipe everything in my sight. I just love it.

GS: What advice would you give to someone who is going to snipe in that level?

Astacio: The advice I would give someone that snipes at my level would have to be patience.  You have to be really patient as a sniper and just make sure you’re on key with your shots.  Don’t try to hesitate with your shots or anything.  Take your time when taking a shot because you have three breaths while you inhale to take that shot.

GS: What’s it like to be in that eSports booth in front of a live audience with all those people watching?

Astacio: This year was my first COD Champs so this is a brand new feeling for me. But being in that booth having over a million people watching me online was just amazing.  Knowing that people actually support us like that was amazing. It’s a great feeling.

GS: Last year League of Legends sold out the Staples Center across the street. What are your thoughts about this convergence of having eSports being played in actual sports arenas?

Astacio: ESports is only getting bigger, so I feel like we’re going to start playing in football stadiums, basketball stadiums, probably even on the moon. Who knows? But if we can get stadiums to work then it will be really, really huge.

GS: How do you explain what you do for a living to people like your parents?

Astacio: In the beginning when I started explaining to my Mom, she would get really mad because I would stay up late at nights playing games. She’d ask me why I wasn’t going to school. And I told her to give me until March and if I don’t do well at Call of Duty Championships I will go to school.  She was watching me and she supported me the whole weekend.  Even when we were down she was still texting me telling me I’m a winner.  I just love my mom with all my heart and she’s the reason why I’m here.

GS: What impact do you feel these huge prize pools like $1 million for COD and $10 million for Dota 2 will have in pushing eSports into a more mainstream audience?

Astacio: The amount of money is definitely having a huge impact of helping it to expand. If they change Call of Duty Championships to like $10 million, there will be so many more teams that are going to try to compete. It’s going to be insane.

GS: What do you do with your winnings? 

Astacio: I’m definitely going to save most of it. I’ll spend what I need to spend, help my family.  That’s definitely my priorities, helping my grandparents and my mom.

GS: Fans can follow Studyy on Twitter at @Denial_StuDyy

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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