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Guard RKN part one – ALGS, The Guard and adjusting legends cover image

Guard RKN part one – ALGS, The Guard and adjusting legends

#News

The Guard RKN caught up with esports.gg to discuss their ALGS so far, changing who plays what legend, and if The Guard will make LAN.

Cole “Rkn” Prommel made waves at the ALGS Championship in Raleigh, North Carolina. Then with Torrent, Guard RKN stepped in as emergency substitute when Noiises of Invictus Gaming was disqualified due to contracting COVID.
Leading two players he had barely ever spoken to, RKN shone. iG made it all the way to the finals, and they performed way above expectations considering their circumstances.
Fast forward four months, and RKN is once again shining. Teaming with Beau "RamBeau" Sheidy and Keon "Keoon" Berghout at The Guard. The american organisation entered Apex Legends competitive for the first time to pick up this roster. They have started strongly in the ALGS Pro League, and could return to the top 2 overall later today.
esports.gg's Tom sat down with Guard RKN in a huge, two-part interview to discuss ALGS so far, the Apex Data Mining controversy, Crypto and more.

Guard RKN: "Beau and I were likely not going to be teaming anymore"

Tom: So how did joining the guard actually come about? And was it an easy decision to join?
Guard RKN: "So following Raleigh, what a lot of people don't know, originally is that Beau and I were actually likely not going to be teaming anymore. I think the end of that last split prior to Raleigh really did its damage to us. And with Euriece making the decision that he wasn't going to be competing for the foreseeable future, and how we had been performing as a unit, it didn't really make a tonne of sense for us to try and find someone new.
The Guard's RKN at LAN in Raleigh (Photo: EA)
The Guard's RKN at LAN in Raleigh (Photo: EA)
[Raleigh] was a saving grace for the two of us because I think we were both so low in self confidence. We just needed to go find a new environment to revitalise ourselves in, and [Raleigh] turned out to be that environment. So after Champs Beau and I had a talk and we were like, man we could actually do this s***t, we just need to find the right person."

Guard RKN wanted Sikez

"We had originally reached out to Sikez, who now plays for Liquid, but he was trialling with them at the time. Beau and I both have a tonne of respect for the Liquid boys so we kind of knew more or less that it was going to be a done deal. Beau mentioned Keoon, and I knew nothing about Keoon.
"We joke all the time that my very first call with Keoon when we trialled him that week. I told Keoon, I was like "hey, I pride myself on being super transparent. And I just want you to know, I know nothing about you. I don't know if you're good. I don't know if you're bad. This was this was Beau vouching for you and we're gonna give this a shot and we'll see how it goes." And so I pretty much told him to to his face. I was like, "I don't think you're good, but we're gonna run it anyways." We played a couple tournaments with him and everything just went great".

Keoon was already joining The Guard

Tom: "You eventually chose to join The Guard. So, how did that offer come about? Did they approach you or was it from your Twitter pitch decks. How did the offer come about?
Guard RKN: "So we had we had just picked up Keoon and we went to Torrent. The major issue was Keoon had a content offer from The Guard already as a content creator. Financially it was a really good offer for him. Beau and I were not going to lose him a better opportunity just so that he could compete with us. So we tried our best to find an angle with Torrent that would be suitable for everyone but sometimes it just doesn't really work out like that.
RKN (left), Keoon (Centre), Rambeau (Right).
RKN (left), Keoon (Centre), Rambeau (Right).
The Guard already had a content offer on the table for him. So Keoon went to The Guard basically and said: hey, you guys already have an offer for me for content. And I know you guys have interest in competitive, although at that time, I don't think The Guard was 100% set on entering comp Apex yet. And so he basically said, why don't why don't you guys just take a look at the three of us as a unit."

RKN pitched to The Guard

"I decided to put together a pitch deck with the help of Chrono (Analyst for FaZe), I reached out to him and I was like, Hey, this is what I want. This is how it should look, these are the things that I want on it, he made a pitch deck, and we sent it over to The Guard, and they absolutely loved it.
We met with them later that week. It went really, really well. But we just didn't know for a while. But eventually, it just all came through. We got the opportunity with The Guard and we basically just jumped on it. We didn't really think about it or trying to work angles with other orgs to get more or less or whatnot. All of us really loved The Guard, we loved that they were already looking to give Keoon an opportunity. So, we just decided that we would take the opportunity that was in front of us and run with it."

Joining The Guard a defining moment in RKN's career

Tom: What is it like playing for a team as big as The Guard compared to a team like Torrent?
Guard RKN: "I think when you get that moment where you can transition from a smaller org to a big org. It's like, it's a defining moment in your career. Because you're not just a tier two, tier three pro, you're finally where you want to be. You're on an org with pros in other games that you watch that you're not like competing with, right? It's hard for me to have the same level of respect for another pro in Apex because we're on the same level. Whereas the respect that I have for a pro and another esport because they're that much better than me at that game."

"I love the fact I have a CDL team I can support now"

"So being able to get onto an org that has big names in other games, was just a crazy experience for us. I mean, I love that the fact that I have a CDL team that I can support now. And the Guard brand is just incredible. And I just think that when you're on a smaller org, it has nothing to do with with their capabilities or how they treat you. It's just, it's not the same as when you really make it. And you get to be on one of those leading orgs that everyone recognises when you when you join a pub or a ranked game or whatever. And people see the Guard, it has a bigger name to it."
Photo: The Guard
Photo: The Guard
Tom: How much of a boost is it to be backed by an organisation just in general? What are the benefits that you get from being as part of an organisation?
Guard RKN: "Beau and I were fortunate that we already had a lot of respect from other players. But there's a massive benefit to just, even subconsciously, being on a bigger, better org. If people have more respect for you, they treat you differently, you're not seen as a second rate player."

Team structure hugely benefitting RKN

"On the personal side of it. I mean, we just get so much more help when it comes to managing our team, getting things done staying on track. It's great when you have the proper structure within your org that you have, you have a mediator. I don't have to push Beau and Keoon around and maybe affect our relationship a little bit with me being on their a**es all the time.
Because now I have proper professional org structure where my manager or or the people we work with can handle things for me so that I don't have to always be a bad guy. There's just a major dynamic shift and having, a bigger, better org structure where they assist you in your day to day operations. You know, how everything's going behind the scenes. Obviously, when we qualify for LANs and stuff like that, I won't have to arrange any flights or anything like that. Obviously now we get assistance with some of our expenses and things like that"

The Guard RKN: All three of us can focus on the game, which has allowed us to improve a lot quicker than we used to

"It's just a better all round environment, it allows you to really focus on yourself and focus on your game, and takes a lot of burden off your back in terms of things outside of the game. Because for the for the majority of my Apex career, I've always functioned as, you know, a player, IGL, Captain, team manager, general manager, I've always done it all for my team, because I want my boys to be able to focus on just the game. I can take care of everything else. So now that we're in a structure like this, The Guard can basically take a lot of that stuff off my back, and then all three of us can focus on the game, which has allowed us to improve a lot quicker than we used to."
The Guard will be aiming to lift a major title (Photo: EA)
The Guard will be aiming to lift a major title (Photo: EA)
Tom: Do you think that it's helping you be a better player with that pressure taken off you?
Guard RKN: "Yeah, having a having a better structure around you where you feel like you can rely on more people than just yourself. Definitely. Psychologically, it relieves you of so much that you can just focus so much more, and it'll just make you better overall."

Guard RKN: "Our playstyle was designed specifically for ALGS"

Tom: So, looking at ALGS, so far, as a whole, how'd you feel about your performance?
Guard RKN: "We came out on a heater. We knew going through third party tournaments, scrims and coming into ALGS that our playstyle works. It works at the highest level. And that doesn't always get to be shown in third party tournaments.
Our style that we play is specifically designed for ALGS. We and we knew it was effective, we were happy that we got to come out on our opening day in Group A versus C, which is a super hard group. It's all of your best teams minus TSM. We just came out hot and put down a good score, we were not surprised. We already knew that what we practiced and what we did was good and that we'd be able to put it down we just had to be in the right mentality and in the right environment for it to work. And ALGS is just perfect for us because everyone wants to do so well."

Zones contribute to The Guard's struggles

"We went into the next day which was B versus C and struggled a little bit here and there. I mean we came out hot in game one with a second place. But then we struggled a little bit because the zones were kind of wack.
I don't ever blame the zones but back to back fish farms followed by three climatizer zones was a little weird. Also, B versus C has a lot more diversity in playstyles, there's a lot more edge teams and a lot more 'Int' type teams. It makes it harder as a zone team to predict what other teams are doing because there's a little bit of more randomness to it. So a lot of things going on that you just can't predict accurately but we still made it out on the day in 6th, and we had our one fish farms game that we trolled, so if we had done better we probably would have cracked top four or three.
Fish Farms
Fish Farms
What happened next was, the way the schedule works out. It's just so unfortunate for group C. We got iced for two weeks. We didn't get to play ALGS for two weeks straight and then NA barely ever scrim, so we kind of just didn't get to stay hot and keep practising outside of ranked for two weeks."

Lack of practice cost The Guard

"A major part of [playing badly] is we got iced for two weeks and then we had Thanksgiving. We were all doing Thanksgiving with our families. We'd barely played together for the three days leading up to ALGS. It doesn't affect our individual performances, but you could tell that mentally we were frustrated after Storm Point, and then it was downhill from there. We just didn't do a good job of recovering after game four or recovering after game five. And then we basically looked desperate in game six. We ended up with pretty bad results on the day".
The Guard struggled on Day 5
The Guard struggled on Day 5
Tom: Are scrims useful for zone teams?
Guard RKN: "Scrims for zone teams are different. I have this conversation with other IGLs a lot. If you're an edge team, you can get a tonne of practice out of scrims because nothing really changes for you, the quality changes, but what you do doesn't really change. Being a zone team in scrims is, it's pretty hard to get value out of it. The games don't play out at all like they would and the whole like playstyle behind being a zone team is just completely, I mean, it just breaks down to nothing when there's like five squads up on his own three, or some ridiculous scenario."

The Guard use scrims to practice being 'inted'

"We put ourselves in spots that that are good in ALGS But when the lobbies are bad, those spots become really, really bad. It's hard to explain that it's that spots that you wouldn't get away with when there's 10 squads up, but you would get away with when there's 18. We put ourselves in those positions, knowing that it's going to be horrible, and then seeing what we can do to weather the onslaught of people just absolutely angling us out, trying to just trying their hardest to absolutely kill us."

Will The Guard make LAN? RKN: "Oh, hell yeah!"

Tom: Are you confident of making the top 20? And then a further question, are you confident of making the playoffs?
Guard RKN: "Oh, hell yeah. I mean, we're gonna finish top five easily this split. I think a lot of people will be shocked also to hear that we're basically using split one as practice. Our goal is to qualify for the LAN absolutely.
We are not going to not qualify for the LAN. We're gonna give it our all, but we picked up Keoon, I don't know two months ago, and he has almost no competitive experience. He definitely has zero high level competitive experience and he's never played at a LAN, he's never done any of this. So the ultimate goal for split one was to be successful. However, I would really like to see a major performance gap between our split one and our split two."
Photo: The Guard
Photo: The Guard

Rambeau and Keoon switching legends tomorrow

"You'll even see, when we play this Thursday that we've changed something. Keoon is now going to be playing Wattson. And Rambeau is going to be playing Valk. We are basically changing up little things. We might even do a comp switch for next split, but not during the split".
Tom: Are you able to go into more detail about why you've made the change with Beau and Keon changing legend?
Guard RKN: "This just comes down a lot to like competitive experience. We've been competing for three years and Keoon although has touched comp a few times has realistically only now been competing at a high level just for this split.
The Valk role within a zone team especially is the role that carries that concept in the mid game, finding angles, finding kills, finding picks, creating opportunities, and Keoon just doesn't have the years under his belt of being part of those kinds of scenarios. And he's never been on a hardcore zone team."

Rambeau to be more aggressive on Valkyrie

"And then on the flip side of that, Beau was playing Wattson but knew that he wanted to be aggressive and knew that he wanted to be looking for these kills. But he was playing Watson and was dying for it. So we're just flipping it to exactly where both of their mental's that are at currently to be more in line with the characters".
Rambeau was very successful on Valkyrie at LAN (Photo: EA)
Rambeau was very successful on Valkyrie at LAN (Photo: EA)
Tom: "Rambeau back on Valk reminds me of that clip in Raleigh..."
Guard RKN: "That's another thing Keon is like not familiar with the Valk end game you know, where you have to decide whether you're going to fight or just fly straight up and come down for your 1v1. He's very new to that and has missed a lot of opportunities when he should fly up, but it's not his fault. It's just an experience thing.
We both know from champs that clip of Beau solo flying up to height, hitting a battery, flying up falling down into a 1v1v1 scenario picking, up both kills and getting that massive win on LAN, those are the make or breaks for players that show that they have a higher understanding of the role they play and not just "hehehe shoot my gun. Did we win? Did we not win?"
[esports_link url="https://esports.gg/news/apex-legends/guard-rkn-interview-part-two/"]

Guard RKN along with Rambeau and Keoon are back in action on December 1 as ALGS resumes. They could shoot as high as second in overall rankings if results go their way. Stay tuned to esports.gg for the full coverage of ALGS, as well as other Apex Legends news and updates, and read part 2 of our RKN interview! 
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Tom Bull
Tom Bull
Editor | Twitter @TAG_tom_apex
From the UK, Tom is an experienced semi-professional Apex Legends player having competed in the ALGS Challenger Circuit over multiple seasons. He is a specialist in the competitive scene, with deep knowledge of ALGS. He has worked on several notable tournament broadcasts, as both an observer and caster.