While Denial.Halo is preparing for PAX East, our own Denial Admiral Bunny was able to sit down with Kyle “Ching” Lawson and Austin “Mikwen” McCleary to ask them a few questions about their careers.
Admiral Bunny: When did you first start playing Halo competitively?
Kyle: I started playing competitive Halo 2 in late 2008.
Austin: I dabbled in competitive play in 2006, but didn’t start taking it super seriously until 2010.
AB: When did you officially go Pro?
Kyle: It started back in 2008 at MLG San Diego, when I took ninth place with breakingPoint (Editor’s Note: At this time in professional Halo, a top 16 finish was considered Pro.)
Austin: End of 2010, 2011 was my first event as a “Pro”.
AB: How much time did you invest into getting better at the beginning of your career?
Kyle: I would say at least 5 hours a day if not more.
AB: How much do you practice now?
Kyle: Because of school and personal life, I’d say now it would be around three hours a day four days a week
AB: What was your greatest moment of your career?
Kyle: Probably MLG Halo 3 National Championship in 2009 at Orlando. We got second place [with team UoR Classic], but even so, it was huge for me. It was the happiest I have felt when leaving an event.
Austin: Winning the UGC 20k.
AB: What is the biggest challenge you both have faced since becoming pro players?
Kyle: Trying to find a time to fit gaming and personal life and to have a consistent schedule.
Austin: Learning how to choose teammates and not keep teams based on friendships.
AB: Austin, what responsibilities come with being a team captain?
Austin: For Halo, the captain role doesn’t really mean too much to be completely honest. Everyone is collectively the captain in my opinion. I’m only “Captain” because I put the initial team together.
AB: Did you have any idols when starting out?
Kyle: shooK On3. I liked watching the montages he made in Halo 2, they were super entertaining. His team was also really fun to watch at events as they were the underdogs and it was always fun to watch them upset a bracket.
Austin: Nobody really, I watched and learned from everyone that I could. Didn’t matter if it was an Amateur player or Pro Player. I did always really enjoy watching Ola play, though, but who doesn’t?
AB: Any tips for aspiring competitive gamers?
Kyle: Just grind. Find four players who can be your friends inside and outside the game. Get the best practice that you can out of everyday. Just show up to events and show what you can do.
Austin: Realize you’re not perfect, you have a lot to learn and actually work on it. Don’t be a child and think you have nothing to fix.
AB: Any last thoughts or shout outs?
Kyle: Shout out to Denial and all of their sponsors and my teammates. Lastly, shout out to any fans that have supported us and helped us grow over the season.
Don’t forget to watch Denial.Halo competing at PAX East this weekend as they compete in the HCS Season One Finals!