"When the adrenaline is flowing, we all reach that top level": an interview with Jacob "Arkanum" Santos

We recently had the chance to sit down and chat with Jacob Arkanum” Santos, captain of Noble Black, about how his team came together, his predictions for the Halo Championship Series Season 1 finals and much more - find it all below.

ESL: Welcome, Jacob! First off, how did you get involved in the competitive Halo scene?
Jacob “Arkanum” Santos: I got involved in 2007 during Halo 2. My best friend from California asked me to come last minute. I had stopped playing for about a month. I had to beg my parents to go. After an entire day of begging my mum she let me go, and that started my whole career.

ESL: You started at a young age. Were your parents always supportive of you?
Arkanum: They all really support my gaming career. They think it’s fantastic, because it’s something different - they like that about it. And they like that I am passionate about it. That drives them to support me even more.

ESL: Noble Black formed about half-way through the season. How did you all come together - you are kind of a rag-tag group of a team?
Arkanum: Initially, the roster was different. It was myself, ContrA, PreDevonator and Blaze. Blaze had won a Reach tournament with Lethul and Ryanoob. Some last-minute things happened and Devon backed out. We had to pick up Randa as a last second 4th. We got top 12 at St Louis. After that, we ended up teaming with Aries and Maniac, because BTH disbanded. APG had gone to OpTic, and Aries had gotten dropped from OpTic, so it was almost like forming a team of rejects [laughs]. We placed well with that roster. Kind of last minute, APG was having second thoughts about OpTic, and we asked him if he wanted to join us and he said yes.

ESL: What made you go for APG over ContrA?
Arkanum: We’ve known APG longer - there is more chemistry. APG was just what we needed to be more apt at winning a major tournament - he’s got more experience. We can count on APG to be that shark player on LAN - that top tier power slayer.

ESL: You have been doing well so far. How did you end up competing under Noble esSports? They previously had another team and then they picked you up.
Arkanum: That’s also interesting. Because of Devon leaving the team, we were all initially not going to go to St Louis. But we ended up looking for someone who we could represent who would help us get there. We talked to a few different organizations and we ended up contacting Noble. They decided to help us out. With us playing so well and Noble seeing us as being talented, they decided to pick us up full time as their main team.

ESL: Whatever happened with Reality Check?
Arkanum: Reality Check. The issue with that was just that the Suds are known for being inconsistent and that they cannot hold a team together, which really made Noble want to carry us.

ESL: Did they pick you up because they already knew they were going to be straying away or was Noble anticipating having two teams?
Arkanum: They were anticipating having two teams. They wanted to do multiple teams. It just turned out that we were obviously the better option in terms of talent and consistency, so that was the main reason why they wanted us. Plus they were only sponsoring RC - they didn’t have the org label on them like us. They had different contracts. There was controversy with the online cups and the Suds, so then obviously you get the boot.

ESL: As a team, are there any game types that you particularly struggle with? What have you done to improve?
Arkanum: Warlord [laughs]. Everything that is based on caps on Warlord  for some reason we have an issue with and are super inconsistent. Anything based on time - we are okay. But Flag and Bomb, for some reason we have that issue where we can either dominate or we don’t. We have done a lot of work on Warlord, though, just around our mentality, how we need to play it - we’ve talked about a lot of ways we can approach it. And the main thing we have preached to ourselves is overslaying. We have a team that is very slaying-orientated and we need to use that to our advantage. And then, when we’re in the groove, go.

ESL: It’s working for you. Your team is currently in the top eight and you’re the only team who’s accomplished that purely through online cups.
Arkanum: That’s an interesting fact. I didn’t even know that.

ESL: How do you feel about playing on LAN? Does it help your performance and team chemistry?
Arkanum: We are LAN players. We all perform better on LAN. We have more of a drive to win on LAN. When everything counts. When all the practice comes down to crunch time. When the adrenaline is flowing, we all reach that top level that we are known for. It all comes down to LAN.

ESL: Who do you think will be your biggest competition at the season finals?
Arkanum: EG [laughs]. Hands down. EG.

ESL: Why specifically EG?
Arkanum: They got slowed down a bit by the transition to Lethul, not because Lethul wasn’t as good a fit as Pistola - it just took them time to mesh with him. Now they are meshing with him. Now that they are consistent again, they are that much more dangerous. They are really getting the chemistry down and you can see that in their online performances. They are not much of an online team. They are much better at LAN. So I feel like they are going to be much more intimidating when you are actually sitting across from them.

ESL: So are you intimidated?
Arkanum: Not in the least. I just respect them a lot. They are probably the team in terms of talent and history that I respect the most other than CLG. I respect Denial, too! I just want to throw that out there [laughs].

ESL: Not being biased - what placings are you anticipating?
Arkanum: If we’re not in the equation, I would say EG, CLG, if they are on top of their game, and Denial. Either way, they are gonna be the top three. And then fourth place would be Optic, Cloud 9 fifth, eLevate sixth and Str8 seventh.

ESL: You seem to be such a busy guy. How do you handle reading, fighting fires, getting jacked and playing Halo all at the same time - at least if we can believe your Twitter profile?
Arkanum: I am in the process of becoming a firefighter. I am just waiting to get accepted to the academy. Reading, I am not in school right now, but I self study. I’m gonna take online classes to finish my degree. Fitness is just my love - I love to work out. So I like to stay fit and educated.

ESL: Thank you for your time. The final words belong to you!
Arkanum: To the fans - thanks for supporting me, thanks for supporting our team. Thanks to Noble. For us, as a last-minute team, it has meant a lot to get so much love. Thanks to all of our sponsors - you make this possible and we really appreciate it.

You can catch all the HCS action through March the 6th to the 8th starting at 10:00 EST (16:00 CET) each day and broadcast live on Halo’s Twitch channel. Stay up to date with the latest news and information on the tournament via @ESLHalo and @ESL and check out the full bracket right here.

Tune in at 10:00 EST from March the 6th!

Additionally, you can check out yesterday's interview with Evil Geniuses' Jacob "Arkanum" Santos here.


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