Meet the Scarlet Tempest Esports Team

PHOTO COURTESY/ YouTube EGF - Electronic Gaming Federation

PHOTO COURTESY/ YouTube EGF – Electronic Gaming Federation

“There’s a nerdy stigma,” said Frank Knight. Knight is the Team Captain of the Scarlet Tempest Valorant Team, the esports team at St. John’s, and is a sophomore communications major with a media management focus.

 In Marillac 238 at 6:30PM on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, you’ll hear rapid clicking, keyboards tapping and Coach Hector Mercado, an SJU alum, guiding the members of the Valorant Scarlet Tempest Esports team. The team practices different offense and defense strategies, perfecting them by the pixel.

“I live on campus, so I talk to a lot of people. They didn’t realize how serious or competitive it is. I skrim (pro-practice match against another team) twice a week and they didn’t realize I have to do all of that. They thought I just play,” says Nicolas Delatour, a sophomore accounting major. 

The Scarlet Tempest Esports team is a competitive gaming team at St. Johns under the Gaming and Emerging Technology (GET) club. There are currently 40-50 members across all the teams. These individuals who play on the Esports team are divided into different teams based on the game.

“Every sport has men’s and women’s, but with esports it doesn’t matter. Your gender doesn’t matter. I feel like that opens up the doors for a lot more diversity,” Knight states.

“Another stigma that esports has right now is that it’s only for boys… We have girls here, and more and more girls are starting to get involved,” said Nicholas Vargas, a sophomore business major.

All teams in Scarlet Tempest Esports are co-ed. The team plays in multiple seasons per academic year, so the team is active year-round. They plan to expand the team to incorporate different leagues and games like Valorant, League of Legends, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros. and FIFA.

Two years ago, an event was held on campus with the League of Legends team. They believe that there is potential for the team to grow if there were more events and enthusiasm on campus. “It’s hard to market,” says Vargas. “With proper advertising, people will have interest.”

Though esports seem like they would be flexible, even being able to practice and compete at a distance at home during the pandemic, they face several obstacles. Unanimously the team says “better Wi-Fi” would help the team tremendously as well as having a space to practice. “In the past the smash (Super Smash Bros) team had to go to someone’s house off campus to practice,” states Mya DeLong, a senior, manager and student leader.

We can expect more to come from the team as this is only the beginning. The League of Legends team participates in Big East Conference games while the Overwatch team plays in EGF games, a division-I varsity esports league.  Currently, the Valorant team plays in ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) games and will join the EGF league after their tournament this winter.

The team is funded by the Collins College of Professional Studies (CCPS). CCPS has funded their entry to tournaments. However the team does wish to become more financially self-sufficient through tournament prizes, endorsements and fundraising. For other smaller expenses, the team pays out of pocket, relying on each other and campus fundraising.

The esports team is full of potential and open to any St. John’s student who loves gaming. 

“I think gaming is the most welcoming community. I’ve been a part of sports all my life, I’ve been a part of music. Everything always has too much of a harsh standard if you’re not good enough,” says Mercado. Mercado graduated from St John’s last spring and was invited back to Scarlet Tempest as a coach.

“We’re a competitive team but we’re more than that too. We’re a community. There’s plenty of people who are a part of us, but they don’t necessarily play competitively,” says Knight. 

Whether or not you join a team roster, you can find a large and growing gaming community within Scarlet Tempest Esports. If you’re interested you can join the Scarlet Tempest Esports Discord server here.