Diondre “YaBoiDre” Bond is looking to make waves at the VCT Last Chance Qualifier with Luminosity Gaming
Luminosity Gaming fell at the VALORANT Champions Tour Challengers North American finals in the lower bracket to FaZe Clan, 2-1. Luckily, for Luminosity, their qualification to the VCT NA Stage 3 Playoffs gave them just enough points to qualify for the VCT NA Last Chance Qualifier.
Luminosity Gaming has one last opportunity to extend their 2021 season and for Diondre “YaBoiDre” Bond, the opportunity to return to LAN is a driving factor behind the constant grind. In this interview, we speak to LG YaBoiDre to discuss Luminosity’s progression as a team, his switch from PUBG to VALORANT, and what drives him on his continued quest to be great in esports.
Thank you for taking this time to speak to me. I want to talk about Luminosity. What has the team’s progression been like?
LG YaBoiDre: When we first became a team, we were a team without any structure. Everything we did felt as if there was no reason we were doing things. We were so set on relying on our talent and aim to beat teams. Now, there is so much structure in the team that practices are more productive. We have a better direction or like what we’re going to do on their own most of the time. And, yeah, I think that’s helped us. Like, we might not have the results right now. But I think it’s I think we’re going to do better overall because of that team.
What was that transition from PUBG to VALORANT like? What were some of your own learning challenges?
LG YaBoiDre: When I first started grinding, yes, like, I tried to play as much as I can. Like, for the first play, I played it for like five months, like as much as I can, to, like, get ready for bar. So when I came out, I was afraid to prepare, like I knew, like, the gist of the game and everything and like what needs to be done and stuff. So it wasn’t really that big a learning curve. At first, and I obviously wasn’t the best, like, I wasn’t nearly as good as I am now. Like, when I first started. But uh, yeah, I mean, like, I just played it. And granted how hard and just got better.
From your perspective, what do you feel like are some of the differences between PUBG versus VALORANT in the esports scene?
LG YaBoiDre: VALORANT is honestly just a lot better as an esport and it feels more fluid as an esport with more to compete for. There are way more fans, structure, and money that come with it as well. Being a pro VALORANT player feels so much more sustainable than PUBG. This motivates me so much more as a pro player because there is longevity and opportunity with this game. Well, we do practice a lot in both games no matter what, but these things really help drive my goal to be great. Ultimately, I just want to be a great VALORANT player and win.
When you were able to qualify for Stage 3 playoffs, how were you feeling then?
LG YaBoiDre: Yeah, it feels good. Honestly, I just really enjoy playing VALORANT a lot. To be honest, people talk about burnout, but I just want to play more and more because the only thing on my mind is being the best VALORANT player one day. That is something that is really nice with Luminosity. There were times in my previous teams where it felt like people did not care about getting better. For me personally, I am looking at the Last Chance qualifier as our final opportunity to play more in 2021. I do not want to have this 5-month long break without any competition.
Being able to compete just feels amazing. Missing out on a big tournament just sucks, I just want to compete.
In esports, it feels like you always need to be at the top of your game or you will be replaced. From your perspective, what are the challenges of being in the esports industry?
LG YaBoiDre: The biggest challenges in esports have to do with fans and job security. If you are not playing well, people will catch on really quickly. This can result in you getting kicked from a team after just one bad performance. People are always getting called out on social media and there is nothing you can really do about it other than play better. But it is really hard to turn on a switch to play better when you are going through one of those mental slumps. You just have to play your best and I feel like that is one of the biggest challenges in esports.
For you specifically, esports has been quite a journey. You went from being a PUBG star with Tempo Storm. Then you enter VALORANT with 100 Thieves only to lose your spot on an established team. What was that journey like for you?
LG YaBoiDre: It was honestly one of the worst feelings in the world. I went from feeling like I was on top of the world to having nothing. On Tempo Storm, I was making a good salary as a PUBG player and after 100 Thieves, I felt as if I was nothing. It took time to bounce back from that drop, but I did not want to stay with that feeling. It just motivated me to pick myself up and continue the grind. I still want to compete and play this game because I really like it.
It really sucked at the moment and it was embarrassing to get kicked from a team.
Moving forward with this team. You’re in ways one of the longest tenure players on Luminosity right now. With this team, what are some of your goals and for yourself this year, like, what do you want to achieve?
LG YaBoiDre: The goal for us is to qualify for VCT Champions because that is the last event. I just want to play well and make sure my team is giving it their all to qualify for this event. I really want to make it to a LAN event, it is all that I am working for.