robinsongz: No High Rolls for Old Men
In the world of streaming and esports, every pro needs something to set them apart. For Robinsongz, it’s being consistent and being old. (AKA oldge if you’re one of the believers in his chat.) Old and consistent might not sound like selling points, but in TFT—where most streamers are 20-somethings who don't know how to cook an egg—these two traits make Robin a skillful competitor and leader.
Once a DJ and high-elo Riven OTP, Robin became a top TFT player and streamer in his late 20s. He started off as a member of Soju and Scarra’s communities and was raided by them during his first TFT streams. Now, he pays this forward by supporting streamers from his own community. Even with his late start, he’s an elder statesman of TFT. Despite this standing, he still sees room to grow.
While he’s created his own community, elevated other streamers, and reached every North American Regional Finals and the Reckoning World Championship, he knows he can be even better. Maybe even bring a World Championship home to North America. Korea, China and Europe have done it. Why not NA?
After watching his historic run live during the Reckoning Regional Finals (seriously, he had a 1.66 average placement on the final day) and speaking with him for his Liquid+ interview, NA is in good hands. Robin’s willingness to ask for help, keep a good mental during tournaments and not take himself too seriously is a scary combination in esports.
Especially in TFT, where a few split-second decisions can be the difference between securing a championship and telling yourself you won’t make the same mistakes again.
How did you get into TFT? And what did your journey look like going from a new player to a pro?
I got into TFT because like a lot of other people I played League of Legends. A couple of my friends told me, “There’s a new mode that came out called TFT.” They said it’s really fun. I played a game and I think I went 8th because I didn’t know what I was doing. But I thought it was pretty interesting and fun.
I started looking up guides on the basics and fundamentals. I remember watching Scarra videos on “how to econ” and “what is econ.” I kept playing and I don’t even know how I got really good. Set 1 I got Rank 20. Set 2 I also got Challenger but I was busy with IRL. I was Top 200, which is whatever.
When Set 3 came that was when COVID happened. Everyone was WFH so I played a lot of TFT even during work. I didn’t really like what I was doing at work so I wanted to start streaming TFT. It’s always been an interest of mine to stream. When I was playing League I was interested in streaming but I never got any viewers.
I wanted to get my name out there. I wanted to get Rank 1 on TFT and once I got Rank 1 I’d start streaming. I grinded a lot during COVID and in Set 3 I managed to get Rank 1. Right when I got Rank 1 I started streaming. I started getting some viewers and a lot of people raided me because I was Rank 1. Scarra, Soju and them raided me.
That's how I got my foot in the door. I got a couple of hundred viewers and once I had 300-400 consistent viewers I felt like my full-time job was not allowing me to do much. I would be streaming after work so I’d only be streaming for four hours. I wanted to stream more. I decided to quit my full-time job and pursue TFT full-time. I streamed 8+ hours a day consistently and I saw my viewers go up slowly. After a couple of months, Team Liquid picked me up and here I am.
TFT has a lot of big, fun personalities - especially on Twitch. What would you say your identity is within that community and how did you discover that identity?
My identity is that I’m old - that’s my brand. When people see me in chat they spam oldge. I don’t remember how that came about. The wonderful thing about Twitch is your branding - a lot of times you don’t pick it, it evolves within your Twitch chat and community.
You recently got to go to TFT Summit and play there. What was your favorite part about the weekend and what’s your secret to a good omelet?
TFT Summit was super fun - I didn’t expect it to be that fun. The best part was being able to spend time with the entire TFT community and their plus ones. Everyone is super nice. Just being in the same hotel, waking up, going to the venue and spending the entire day together with everyone having the same interests. In our downtime, we played TFT and watched other people play TFT. There’s no specific best thing - it’s just the overall experience of hanging out with everyone.
The secret to making an omelet is to have your competitors not even know how to make an egg. I’m pretty sure most of them have never cooked in their life and I’m a little bit older. I’m not a good cook at all - I don’t make my own food but in college, I had to make egg sandwiches and chicken breast. I can cook the basic stuff so I think that helped me.
I also did pretty good prep. I’ve never made an omelet before so I Googled how to make an omelet and a few people gave me pointers. One big tip was don’t use too many eggs. You use two or three eggs. A lot of my competitor's eggs weren’t even cooked because I think they used a lot of eggs. It’s a bait because they put a dozen eggs in front of you. I only used two or three. The electric stove is not that strong and you don’t have that much time so it’s impossible to cook more than three eggs. I think that’s how a lot of people’s eggs turned out liquid.
The secret, secret tip is to use hot sauce. The judges said I won because I used hot sauce and no one else gave them hot sauce.
I love hot sauce on eggs so that would have won me over too. Both analysts and casters have called you one of the most consistent competitor players. Why do you think you’re consistently at the top set after set?
I’m consistent because I have pretty good mental. I don’t tilt easily. A lot of players if they play bad or get bad luck they start tilting and that’s how they become inconsistent. Whatever happened last game, I don’t bring it over to the next game. That leads to me not making that many mistakes.
A big one is also my play style. I don’t get first that much - I farm a lot of thirds and fourths. Even in my solo queue games, you can see my win rate is a little lower than others. Getting thirds and fourths allows you to make it to the final day very easily. But it’s very, very hard to win the tourney. Even though I’ve won a couple of tourneys, my strat is to play consistently, try to get into the final lobby and hopefully high roll in the final lobby so I can win.
The TFT meta is always changing as players find new OP comps or as things get buffed or nerfed every two weeks. How do you stay on top of new metas and prep for tournaments with that in mind?
A big part of how I keep up with the meta (and people make fun of me for this) is my Discord server. My Discord server has a bunch of really good players. They’re not like top Challenger players but there are a lot of mid to low Challenger/Grandmaster players.
We talk a lot every day in Discord. I ask them what’s OP and they tell me their findings. A lot of people make fun of me because they feel like they can only get info from the top Challenger players and everyone else is just bots. I joke around and say my community is the highest elo chat in the community. But they’re actually really helpful to me.
Besides my Discord community websites like Tactics.tools are very useful. I recommend that site to everyone. Every patch they’ll show you the stats on the top comps, the top units and the top augments. You look up what units, comps and items have better average placement and you’ll get an idea of how the meta shifted.
Is there different prep you do for tournaments as opposed to staying on top of stuff for solo queue?
For tournaments, I usually want to get into in-houses with other tournament players because if I just play solo queue it’s very fake. There are certain things you can do in solo queue that you can’t do in a tournament. You don’t have to roll a lot of the time in solo queue but in tournaments you have to roll earlier because the tempo’s faster.
Also for tournaments, the underrated thing is to prep mentally and physically. Before there’s a tournament coming up I think you need to fix your sleep schedule, start eating healthier and work out. Start prepping your mind and body.
Is there anything specific that you do in terms of prepping for the mental and physical aspects?
Usually my sleep schedule is pretty messed up. I’ll try to fix my sleep schedule where I’ll sleep a little earlier and I’ll wake up a little earlier. If I have a tournament coming up like a month or two months ahead I’ll go outside to my backyard and do a little exercise, get some sunlight.
Another thing is I’ll try to eat healthier. Instead of Doordashing every day I’ll try to cook for myself, get some healthier options so I won’t feel sluggish on the day of the tourney.
You covered this already but in case there’s anything you want to add - how do you bounce back from a bad or unlucky game in the middle of a tournament?
There’s nothing you can do to control the RNG. You just have to forget about that game and go into the next game. You have to realize what you did wrong that game from your spot. You can’t change bad luck so don’t worry too much about it. Worry about what you could have done differently.
A thing that you can do is go to the restroom, pour some water on your face and reset. Or go outside, get some fresh air, take a deep breath, meditate a little bit and then go into a new game like nothing happened.
That’s also good advice for solo queue. Back in October, you posted your S-F ranking of every TFT set excluding the most recent one. What makes a set enjoyable for you when you’re playing?
I would say number one is how cool the units are. A unit that does cool animations - like Set 3 Mech combined into a big robot and did a Garen ult.
Number two is cool traits. Dusk in Set 4 was cool - Dusk Riven is probably my favorite unit of all time. You can put any items on her and she’ll feel good. Basically the cool units, the cool traits, cool comps as well. I was a big fan of Astral Snipers in Set 3, so stuff like that.
But it’s hard to tell if you like the set until a couple of sets after. That's why right now I look back and think Set 3 and Set 4 were fun. Set 1 was nostalgic. It’s hard cause it’s subjective and it also depends on what you were going through at that time. If you were in a better mood at that time you probably like that set more.
For Set 2 I realized I don't like Set 2 - I don't know if it's because of the set itself or [that] I didn't play that much Set 2. Set 2 I had a lot of IRL stuff [going on] so I didn’t play that much. It’s a little biased. I would say the most important thing is if you just had fun that set.
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
I am most proud of the community that I've built and all the other smaller creators that I’ve helped bring into the community.
A lot of people at the Summit were people that I brought into the scene. They were in my chat a lot. I told them they should start streaming and then I raided them. Then more people knew who they were. [With] a lot of the smaller creators, if I’m not streaming, you’ll see a lot of the same viewers in their chats. It’s like a community tree.
Another thing I’m proud of is being able to go to Worlds in Set 5. I would love to go back.
Who do you look up to in the gaming community? This could be someone in TFT or someone outside of TFT.
In the TFT community I look up to Soju. He’s able to stream such long hours. I wish I could do that. He streams like 16 hours a day which is insane. He's done more for the community than people realize. He gets a lot of [flak] because he’s expected to do way more but he’s already done a lot.
I also look up to Tyler1. He’s a great entertainer and good streamer. I try to incorporate what he does on his stream.
Where do you see yourself in the future? Even if you’re not a pro anymore, do you see yourself playing TFT until it stops?
I would love to play TFT until it dies. But my goal is to be able to stream other games and still make a living. Right now when I play other games I don’t get that many viewers. My goal is to stream TFT for as long as possible, build my community up and hopefully, in the future, I’ll be able to stream other games.
What's a goal you haven't achieved yet?
Winning Worlds! I was watching this documentary about the Redeem team[/url] which is the NBA when they represented the USA at the Olympics. Obviously, TFT Worlds is not the Olympics but I want to represent NA and help bring back a championship. I hope to achieve that before I retire.