RKN will lead iG into the ALGS Championship finals in place of Noiises, who has COVID.

When RKN finished 16th in the NA Pro League Split 2, then 11th in the ALGS LCQ, he would've thought his chance to play in Raleigh had passed. However, fast forward to the morning of the event and RKN was preparing to play for a share of $2 million dollars. Esports.gg's Tom Bull caught up with Cole "Rkn" Prommel at the venue where the stand-in talks about his presence at ALGS Champs, IGLing for a different team, using Crypto and more.

Tom Bull:  Obviously, you are a sub for IG. When did you get the call, when did you know it was game time?

Cole "Rkn" Prommel: So I'd been speaking with them leading up to the event. And probably 2-3 days before the event I got word that I should just be prepared because Noiises was starting to feel a little bit ill. We were keeping it hush-hush and a little bit secret because we weren't really sure what the situation was. And the next 2-3 days leading up to it, he was testing negative and things were all good. 

And Day 1 of the tourney day, I had my alarm set early in the morning to wake up and see if they needed me or not. And I woke up and everything was all good. I was just going to come into the tournament as a viewer. Start time for the tournament is 1 o clock for us to be watching.

So I hopped into the shower and as I was getting out of the shower I checked my phone. I am standing there, it's like 2-3 hours before playtime, turns out Noiises tested positive the day of the tournament. So I hopped off the shower, called my Uber and straight to the hotel. Instantly I had to go into COVID testing, it took extra long, cause ironically the guy sitting in front of me tested positive So then I had to wait an extra 20 minutes to get my results. I was so anxious the whole time cause I was these guys last lifeline. So I ended up testing negative. Just from there we had to immediately had to go to the site. I had like 15 minutes of warmup and then we went straight into Day 1. 

"I had like 15 minutes of warmup and then we went straight into Day 1"


Tom: How did you feel when you got past the COVID testing? How did you feel about getting past the big hurdle? 

RKN: I really like these guys. Jade just joining this roster after having an incredible performance at the last LAN. I was so excited to see them perform as a unit and them testing negative as so dope. The first thing I told myself was I can't understand how it would feel for Noiises to be testing positive the day of the event. It was bittersweet.

It is such an incredible opportunity to come out and play in this event. So testing negative was a shock in both ways. It's incredible I get to play, have a great time. But at the same time it's not right. Noiises should have had his opportunity to play, it's sad he misses out on this. I'm just going to do everything in my power to give him some light at the end of the tunnel. 

Tom: So you are IGLing for the boys. Obviously, you've IGLed for Torrent. Have you brought your Torrent strats with you? Are you IGLing as you would play or are you using IG strats? How does that work when you get thrown in last second?

RKN: So initially, anyone that was watching Game 1, we dropped a Goose (a bad game) right off the red. Because I was coming into this, I didn't want to shake things up, change how they played. It's already bad enough that they lost a teammate, but trying to adjust to a new playstyle is incredibly difficult to do in this kind of setting. Everyone, all these players are incredible. 

Every mistake just gets amplified to the extreme. So I just came into Game 1 trying so hard to let them do their thing. I just wanted to be that guy who fills in, does what they need to do to make it to end zone or whatever. It was clear to me after we dropped that goose in Game 1, what Noiises role is on the team. I knew I would have to be quick to fill that role. 

RKN (photo credits: EA)
RKN (photo credits: EA)

So I stepped into that IGL role. I am still playing their playbook so to say. Whatever they would typically rotate with. I spoke to their coach, I spoke to Noiises - I got on the same page. I knew his Nuke routes. I got everything in line. I'm just IGLing for them as I would IGL for my boys but using their strats. So it ended up meshing at the end of Day 1. All we could tell ourselves was if we made it through Day 1, Day 2 and more, we are going to get so much better because we are going to eliminate all of the issues normally with never having played together before. 

Tom: So you guys made the finals. It's fair to say you've defied expectations. 

RKN: I just got word from Onset that apparently, we are the only sub roster to make finals.

Tom: Obviously we’ve seen how sometimes a sub can just mesh. We've seen in Sweden how Scarz and IPN, that sometimes, having a sub doesn't mesh very well. Do you think you performed better than expected?

RKN: I can't say I performed better than expected. I knew coming into this exactly what calibre of players Bynn and Jay (JMW) were. I knew if I could just fit myself into the slot and put all the burden on ourselves, we would be able to get through this. If all the players just got on the same page, we took our fights. Brynn is an absolutely phenomenal player. I think that guy just hits every shot. And J is just so solidly consistent. They're both smart and have a good head on their shoulders. I just had to slot myself, find a role and I knew that we would do well. So it's not surprising to me that we would do well.

I knew coming into this exactly what calibre of players Bynn and Jay (JMW) were. I knew if I could just fit myself into the slot and put all the burden on ourselves, we would be able to get through this.


Tom: So what now? Do you think you can go all the way and win it? Obviously, you've got a few seeding points under your belt.

RKN: I think we can win this. Absolutely. I think a top-five result here would be a bad result for us. 

Tom: You are using Crypto. I don't think there are a lot of Crypto teams in the lobby. We haven't been to the final yet but I don't think the number of Crypto teams is going to be more than 3-4. Are you going to change much composition when you reach map point do you think?

RKN: That was a big thing coming into this. I don't even play Crypto currently on the team I play for. But I have experienced some Crypto in the past. All I wanted to do was keep the consistency going with everything that they know. Keep playing the game they know, keep playing the style they know and not shake everything up. I think we're just going to finals, playing our game. Do what we do best and probably commit to that game until the very end.

Tom: Obviously, playing on LAN, this is the first time Apex has had a live audience. How different is it when you get down there in front of a live audience to play the game?

RKN: What's crazy about LAN and what I've experienced is - and I think it's different for every player - the amount of nerves and anxiety I have leading up to game day, leading up to start time is incredible. I am thinking of every possibility, everything that can go right, everything that can go wrong.

In this situation specifically, I am thinking what I owe to this team, what I can do for them. And I don't want to let them down. But as soon as Game 1 starts and you drop off that ship, you zone in on it and you don't realize anything else that's going on in the room. You're just locked in and you become one with your playstyle. It's what we do everyday, eight hours a day for the last three years. It's just an incredible opportunity. This venue is super dope. I actually went to University here at North Carolina state so this is an area I am familiar with.

The PNC arena is familiar territory to RKN
The PNC arena is familiar territory to RKN

Tom: Do you think that helps with being familiar with this city, this area.

RKN: I think it helps to return to what I call home, this state down in Florida. But it's just like where I went to high school, where I went to university where I had the majority of my friends. It's just a great feeling to be able to come out here since I wasn't afforded that opportunity based on my own performance. To be able to show up here and prove to everyone that I deserve to be here whether or not I was able to perform during the Split. Just put on a good performance and give these guys the best sub that they've had. It just feels incredible. 

Tom: Just how much benefit do you think you're going to get from this experience when you get back and turn up to Rambo. Obviously, Rambo is also here, two players of your team are getting LAN experience. How important do you think that is going to be as we head into whatever it is going to be for Year 3 of the ALGS?

RKN: I think the major thing for me is that for a long time I was solidified as the top ten IGL of North America. We went through some real rough patches where I put a lot of blame on myself. I accepted a lot of responsibility for things that we do wrong. And so there was a little aspect of me that lost some confidence, lost my way a little bit and wasn't 100% sure in the comms I was making. This showed in a little bit on the first day given the pressure that was on my back. I think this experience has shown to me regardless of what people think that I am capable of doing so on the main stage. I know that I am capable of taking this all the way. So I think this experience will really benefit me in the future.