It’s not uncommon for video game content creators to have their own esports teams. But, when you have a superstar Facebook Gaming streamer like maharaja (literally “emperor”) Mohd Fariz “Soloz” Zakaria funding your endeavours, it’s a daunting privilege. At least, according to the professional PUBG Mobile team, the Anti Circle squad, who will be participating in the PUBG Mobile Professional League Malaysia/Singapore Spring Split 2021 (PMPL MY/SG Season 3).
Shah Rizuan “SuperBoy” bin Mohamad Shaari – IGL/Support
Rosandi Hadi “Noxxy” bin Ahmad Nawawi – Rusher
Ikmal Hidayat “SniperMan” bin Mohd Rais – Rusher/Sniper
Muhammad Asnawi “Neo” bin Azhar – Support
Muhammad Ilham “Harm” bin A Muzabar – Scout
Muhammad Aiman “Slydd” bin Mohamed Halim – Coach
“We are absolutely happy to be sponsored by Soloz,” Shah Rizuan “SuperBoy” bin Mohamad Shaari expressed, conversely adding that they also feel the pressure of being a Soloz-sponsored squad. “We carry his name, so everything we do will affect him, which is why we’re careful.”
Even so, Anti Circle’s situation isn’t as intimidating as it sounds – in fact, their benefactor is hardly twisting their arms. “Soloz is pretty much how you see him during streams, gentle and soft-spoken,” Superboy said, explaining that he just wants the five-man squad to do the best they can and nothing more. “He actually doesn’t like us referring to him as the owner. We’re more like comrades in arms, moving forward together.”
And progressed, they did, from a semi-pro team to full-fledged professional esports players. Before Anti Circle were formed, the current roster – save for a few minor changes – played under the name of Marlino inSouth in last season’s PMPL MY/SG, placing ninth in the Finals that secured them a spot in the current season. “We did the best we could, and I think it was enough for an underdog team like us,” the captain said.
It was definitely enough to catch the attention of Soloz, who saw the potential and talent they displayed in the PUBG Mobile tournament. “Each player will be given a fixed salary every month, facilities and other related aspects that will be improved over time,” Soloz said in an interview with WTM Today last year, with Anti Circle currently residing and training in their very own gaming house. It’s a huge leap for the players, especially on the gameplay front.
“We learned that first-tier teams play on a whole new level,” Muhammad Asnawi “Neo” bin Azhar shared. The support member elaborated that their current opponents are more tactical, and that “every single thing should be taken into account” when competing. “You can’t just play randomly.” It’s no wonder they’ve been training for PMPL MY/SG Season 3 up to eight hours daily via scrims, with coach Muhammad Aiman “Slydd” bin Mohamed Halim guiding them to elevate the team since January this year.
“We decided to get a coach so that we can improve strategically and change our gameplay for the better,” revealed Slydd, who’s a former PUBG PC player for SEAGM.WULF (yes, he was a teammate of Yoodo Gank’s coach, Hahagus). Instead of micromanaging their gameplay, Slydd helps the team realise the mistakes they were unknowingly making. “I also focus more on the team’s movement and momentum together, as well as their decision-making.” Even on rest days, the Anti Circle members are playing Classic Mode to keep their firepower hot and ready.
Though their current pursuit is considered arduous, it’s always been the case for Anti Circle’s players. “Some of us stopped working, and the rest held off their studies to try entering the PUBG Mobile esports scene,” Superboy divulged. He left his corporate job to pursue this after winning numerous small tournaments with his team, believing that they could go far.
Both Neo and Harm are balancing their esports lives and studies (the latter is studying computer engineering, and the former in Form Five), while SniperMan quit his occupation as a sailor to become serious with esports, despite objections from his parents. “When we finally reached this level, we felt that a lot of our sacrifices have finally paid off.”
Anti Circle will once again be battling fellow professional teams in PMPL MY/SG Season 3, and the one squad they’re excited to battle with is Dingoz MPX. Why? Because Dingoz MPX’s coach, Pasha, is actually Slydd’s little brother.
“Since Slydd is the older one, we feel that we should be the one to perform better,” Neo said jokingly. “No hard feelings though, we respect the competition.” PMPL MY/SG Season 3 will be the time that Anti Circle can immediately for Season 4 – as long as they’re in Top 12, which they’re aiming for – as well as tickets to PMPL SEA Finals Season 3.
Follow Anti Circle on Instagram for more updates on the team.