MonteCristo dives into Flashpoint plans, PR, dispute with ESL

Nick J. March 11, 2020

Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles recently appeared on a special episode of esports journalist Richard Lewis' podcast to talk about Flashpoint and the ESL Pro League, and why he thinks that Flashpoint will come out on top.

Richard Lewis welcomed Monte to a special interview with the esports veteran last week to talk about his role in Flashpoint, North America's new project in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and what kind of role he intends to play as he transfers from the Overwatch League and into CSGO.

After probing MonteCristo about Activision Blizzard, Overwatch, and his previous position in the Overwatch League, Lewis steered the conversation towards Counter-Strike. 

"So what I do is talk about team tendencies, in-game tactics, [and] positioning. I'm not a micro guy... I rarely play the games that I'm casting. I grind film to take notes on tendencies and see how these teams play and describe their playstyle," Monte said. "In Counter-Strike, that would be when [a team] buys, what they buy, where do they go, how do they [take] A when they buy it - these are the things that I would be interested in.".

Flashpoint integrates talent well, says Monte

Monte's unquie outlook seems obvious at first glance, but Counter-Strike is sorely lacking in meta analysis. When Yanko "YNk" Paunović made the switch from casting to coaching, only former professional player Chad "spunj" Burchill really emerged to fill the role. With Monte's focus on the game at large, fans can only get a deeper grasp on professional Counter-Strike.

"I've got a lot to learn in that way. At first, what I'm doing for Flashpoint is I'm coming up with a lot of content ideas and then I'm leaning on current analysts and helping them execute them," Monte said.

The esports veteran specifically mentioned that pre and post-show roles are in the cards for him, along with opportunities to don a hosting hat during Flashpoint's inaugural season.

MonteCristo has catching up to do on CSGO

The former Overwatch League caster admitted that he's coming into the scene late and still has a lot to learn about the sport before he can meaningfully contribute. To that end, Monte intends to bring his creative mind to bear with the help of his fellow Flashpoint casters and analysts like Jason "moses" O'Toole and Auguste "Semmler" Massonnat.

"I don't want to disrupt the market. I'm not interested in [seeming] like 'Oh, look at me! I'm the new caster who's coming in and competing with all of my friends for jobs. My purpose on Flashpoint is to create a cool fucking broadcast... I don't want to fuck it up [laughs], I don't want to fuck up Counter-Strike," continued Monte.

MonteCristo Talks CSGO, ESL with R Lewis

With that, Lewis questioned Monte on the frequent dust-ups between Flashpoint's main voices and industry heavyweight ESL.

Lewis started by questioning the decision to have talent that works on a freelance basis handle the public relations for a privately-owned league.

"I think the casters are passionate about this project because we have been given a large amount of control over [Flashpoint's] broadcast. We've been included in a way that I have ever seen personally from any other productions that I've ever worked with. I also think its important to point out objectively that ESL's is worse for players, it's worse for the teams, and I believe that," Monte said.

The caster continued, saying that he felt the way Thorin and Fiden had handled PR was directed towards CSGO's professional players, not the fans.

Flashpoint start date rapidly approaching

With Flashpoint's start date coming on February 13, MonteCristo's comments are some of the most measured statements regarding Flashpoint that the community has heard so far. Up until now, Duncan "thorin" Shields and Cloud9 President Dan Fiden have been the voices of the North American league.

MonteCristo talks Flashpoint, ESL, and his role in CSGO

Monte was frank with Lewis, admitting that ESL clearly had a better offering when it came to the participating teams. It was a refreshing admission from Flashpoint.

Thorin has been especially involved in the spat between the two leagues, which MonteCristo also addressed.

"I don't think [Thorin's criticisms of ESL are] crazy. I think they're actually quite reasonable. Fans just don't want to hear them," Monte said, later arguing that Thorin's role as FP's public face was beneficial because of his rough exterior, not in spite of it.

"I think one of the benefits of [having] Thorin doing is that he's a very trusted voice who has historically been critical at personal cost to himself when he knows things are [wrong]," Monte said.

"I haven't said anything because I just think we're going to win in the end... I don't want to fight with ESL. First off because I don't hate ESL, and second off I think [Flashpoint's business model is better], I trust the owners to get the teams. We'll win on the long timeline," Monte continued.

Flashpoint's inaugural season starts on February 13 and features teams with powerful brand recognition even if they don't have the power to back it up. Cloud9, MIBR, Gen.G, and a reunited Ninjas in Pyjamas roster under the Dignitas banner are all confirmed for Flashpoint's spring season.

As for where MonteCristo wants to end up, the Renegades founder and veteran esports caster had was clear.

"My ultimate ambition is not to cast. It's to build out more and more and more esports-focused shows and move into some general gaming content as well. I'm really looking at my career trajectory as one of producing cool shit," MonteCristo said.