One of the biggest success stories of the last year in UK esports were Molotovs and Marshmallows or MnM for short. They have set the benchmark to strive for after their LoL team won the ESL UK Premiership Summer title in 2016 as well as taking home i59's top prize in December.
Moving into 2017 the team made some changes to their League of Legends roster as they looked to defend their title in the new look ESL UK & Ireland Premiership Spring Split. We had a chance to speak with MnM Founder Kalvin “KalKal” Chung
Could you please introduce yourself?
I am Kalvin or “KalKal” and I founded MnM Gaming with my brother as something fun and a joke with friends. I am a 4th and Final Year Student at the University of Leeds where I study a joint (Hons) in Economics and Chinese. My only other esports credentials are that I have worked for people such as GinxTV (Full time in their office), and I’ve worked for some Finance and telecom firms so I have some experience with different industries which help me with MnM.
What is your role within MnM?
I am the founder and technically “Director” but I don’t like using that as a title. I do everything from team management, sponsorship dealings, financial planning, branding, advertising and marketing and I oversee and gear the creative content we produce.
Coming off the back of 2016, has that increased the pressure on MnM to perform?
A lot, we left 2016 with a lot of companies leaving us and with even less support but we were still expected to do as well as we did before. We probably have one of the least solid amounts of financial backing and security among the top UK organisations. I am a full time student so I can’t just pump my own money into the organisation if things go south.
At the same time, we have had a very unfortunate series of events over the past few months with many external factors such as other organisations trying to take players pre CSQ etc and it has left us in the situation we are in now. I do believe it is never truly just about winning though, it’s making a story for our followers and viewers to see where we place irrespective of winning. Of course winning is important, but as long as we market it properly, I think that does alleviate the pressure.
Did the Organization learn anything from their experience post-Premiership win?
I have learnt to not trust many companies but I have also learnt to trust many members of ESL UK. I had many plans with MnM going into 2017 and a lot of it collapsed because various companies merely wanted short term gain and this continuous cycle of destroying the future of UK Esport organisations for short term gain or a lack of belief is disheartening. It is what it is, I am more selective on who I want to work with and we have to do the best we can with what we have now.
As for 2017, what teams have you been most impressed by?
Huge respect for Endpoint, FM & XENEX.
Do you have any closing comments for our readers?
I hope players, spectators and organisers continue to evolve the scene. It is more than absurd to repeat the same system over and over and expect things to improve. We need to think outside of the box and create a sustainable system for UK Esports. Short term influxes of capital flow is not going to help if we can’t make it last long.
That, along with very static expectations (I.e It rained yesterday so it will rain today,I received X last time so I must receive X or more this time) can lead to inflationary systems. I do not blame players, and every time I see organisations or members of the scene talk about “player’s attitudes” being the prominent reason for the scene’s poor performances relative to the rest of Europe, it makes me think no wonder players don’t like or trust organisations in the UK.
Organisations love to lay the blame on X and Y, but apart from a few organisations, I see nothing different from what I saw when I joined the scene in 2014/15. Few are doing anything different and trying to take a different approach on things yet they still expect the scene to improve. I hope that investors invest in the right people, fact check and that player’s should be given more credit and organisations should take more responsibility.
On a positive note, I believe MnM is ever changing and so are a few other organisations. I hope that this will be enough to convince our spectators to keep watching UK events and to believe in the scene as I do. There is a long road ahead and we need to work together to achieve a sustainable and prosperous scene.
We would like to thank Kalvin for taking some time to answer some of our questions. You can catch MnM this week as they take on 3rd place side exceL, you can catch all the action live over on the ESL Twitch stream.
Tickets are still available for finals, get yours here!