Clubbing, Carbonara and being called a midget – How NaNo joined Vanix Esports.



Name – Mark ‘NaNo’ Kenney

Age – 21

Role – Sniper

Favourite Map – Mirage

Favourite Skin – Dragon Lore AWP

Random Fact – Gained rank 23rd in Europe in PUBG.

Where did the gamertag ‘NaNo’ come from?

Well, in secondary school I was the shortest of all my mates, and so my nickname was ‘midget’. So, I was like “I don’t want to be called midget online, that’s a bit weird”, and so I searched it online in different languages and the Italian for midget is ‘nano’ and so that’s what I went with. Before that I was called ‘Nisquick’ or something like that, it was just a word I saw on the back of some Sellotape.

Have you competed in any other games outside of CS?

PUBG. I used to be pretty good at PUBG, I got 23rd in Europe in either Season 2 or 3. I tried to compete in PUBG, but age restrictions meant I couldn’t.

Apart from Vanix, have you competed on any other teams in CS?

I used to have a team when I first started competing, when I was around Gold 4. That was called ‘Team Esper’, but that was more just a group of friends. That was the first time I tried at CS with friends. After that was when I got to uni, and people in my flat created ‘Team Carbonara’, which was one of the iterations that got signed by Vanix.

What is story like for you joining Vanix?

Well, I think it’s a pretty good story actually. In one of the old iterations of Carbonara we had Leon on the team who was good friends with the guys at Vanix, specifically Jools. When we went clubbing, we bumped into Leon, and he introduced us and they had said they were interested in signing a CS team. And so, in the club, in the smoking area we just basically got signed. My girlfriend at the time wasn’t too happy I spent all night talking about CS, but I was ecstatic.

I know you and SnailJuice spend time together outside of CS, what about any of the other guys?

I live with Curtis, and my next-door neighbour is Hartw1gg, so I see them quite a bit. Those two have been enjoying Valorant and playing that together a lot, but I can only do so much Valorant before I get fed up with it. Me and Snail probably hang out the most. Luke is up near Manchester, so we play with him when he is online, but he is working a lot too.

During your time with Vanix, what has been a highlight and what has been a low point for you personally?

A highlight was probably when we played ‘Phoenix’ right at the start of our NUEL season, and we lost to them by one round. In the follow-up game against them the week after, we beat them. That was a highlight for me because we grinded and played a lot of CS in that week which clearly paid off. As for a low point, I haven’t had too many, obviously losing games we could easily win. Recently we played either a NUEL or NSE tournament and we were doing alright, and then in our final game we were against ‘Team Kindred’ who are kind of our rivals, and they beat us pretty badly. We just weren’t on our A game or playing properly. It was a low point to lose to them, and in such a bad fashion as well.

What are your plans for the downtime in the off season?

For me, it’s just playing CS because I want to follow this up as a potential career and see how far I can go playing CS. Also finishing my deadlines for uni. I do already have tickets to go clubbing when stuff starts to open back up as well.

What are your plans for after university?

As I said I’m really going to throw myself at CS and I’ll be going more full time in my job to have a steady income. I was thinking pursue CS for a year or two, and if it doesn’t work out then I can start looking for a proper job. Honestly, I’m scared of going out into the working world because its currently so different from what I pictured when I started uni. In terms of roles in the industry, I like the idea of a team management role and some analytics/marketing stuff. I like reviewing CS obviously so would do that, and I’ve always enjoyed doing marketing stuff through school and uni.

How are your parents with you competing?

They fully support me. My mum doesn’t understand CS or what is happening, but she understands winning and losing. Even so, she fully supports me, and she follows the results. My dad more so understands the game, so he’ll watch us play and update my mum. I always send them the links to the streams, and they tune in, I think my brother does too.

Interview by Jacob ‘CleaR’ McNally.