Ever wondered how Scott “Custa” Kennedy happened to be where he is now? Let’s delve into his amazing story that started in the Mitcham Hills area of Adelaide, South Australia.
The 24 year old “Aussie” started with Super Mario on the N64 when he was seven years old. As soon as he got his first PC, he started playing CS 1.6, World of Warcraft and, of course, Team Fortress 2 – his all-time favorite. He played the latter competitively and played for Australia’s third best team.1 Mostly enjoying first person shooters, especially team based games, it made sense to transition to Overwatch when it was released, with the outlook of becoming a big esports title.2
When Custa was a kid, he wanted to be a pro basketball player for the NBL, with 17/18 he wanted to be an engineer, therefore it was a logical step to go to university to study engineering.3
Sounds like a normal life, so how come he ended up being a pro Overwatch player? He can still remember the day, when he was sitting in a test and thought that he would most likely fail. It was then, that he really thought about what he wanted to do most in his life. In 2015, he decided to pause his studies and pursue a career in Overwatch, which at the time was only in beta.4
The Overwatch scene back then was fairly small in Australia, and the outlook not very promising. Therefore, Custa decided to grab his savings and move to Canada instead. Only his closest family and friends knew about his dream, the rest thought he would be going to work in abroad. But Custa was sure of himself and knew he could do it, if he put a lot of work into it.5 His family always has his back and supports him with his dream.
The risk has definitely paid off. The path Custa was following during his adventure in North America reads like a dream, making him the professional player for the Overwatch League he is today. Let’s have a look into his team history:
On February 20, 2016, Custa joined his first team, Code7, with names like Joemeister, Harbleu and NicolasTJO.
After a bumpy start in tournaments, Code7 achieved their first win on March 5, 2016, in the ESL Community Cup #1 North America. ESL Community Cup #3, #4 and #5 followed with yet another first place. In the GosuGamers Overwatch Weekly’s NA, they had to declare defeat only against Cloud9 (with Adam, Surefour and KyKy), EnvyUs (with Buds, Coolmatt, Stoop and Talespin) and Reunited (with Kruise, Vallutaja and 2Easy), which were the considered Tier1 teams back then.
In early April of the same year, Custa announced on Twitter, that he had to part ways with Code7.
The team did so well though, that the organization Gale Force eSports became aware of them. On May 9, 2016, Code7 got picked up by GFE, Custa included.
Only one week later, Custa had already decided to chase bigger goals, and left the roster to join team nubris. Apparently a good move, as only two months later, the organization announced it parted ways with the roster, which reverted back to their previous name of Code7.
At the side of Buds, Coolmatt, Stoop, id and Minstrel, the team had mixed results at first, again losing against Cloud9 and EnvyUs in their first tournaments together.
Soon after, they started to gain some second places in the Operation Breakout: Qualifier #1 and the GosuGamers Overwatch Weekly NA #14 (now with Vonethil and iddqd instead of id and Minstrel). The change within the team seemed to pay off, they finally got their first win in the GosuGamers Overwatch Weekly NA #15 and #16. They even qualified for the 2016 ESL Overwatch Atlantic Showdown NA Main Qualifier.
It did not take long for a big organization to get their hands on the roster. On July 21, 2016, Fnatic – a European organization based in London – announced that they would start a new Overwatch roster and picked up team nubris.
The pick-up paid off. With a big organization in the back, the team managed to get a lot of great results, like a third place in the Alienware Monthly Melee: July. Like a red thread throughout Custa’s team history, Fnatic was again beaten by Cloud9.
Still, they managed a solid third to fourth place in the 2016 ESL Overwatch Atlantic Showdown – Gamescom NA Main Qualifier and a first place in the Overwatch Open: North America Regional – Qualifier 3.
In August, the team went to FACEIT in London, to attend a week long boot camp in preparation for the 2016 ELS Overwatch Atlantic Showdown at Gamescom, in Germany. They did well, but lost against Reunited in the Semifinals and ended in a third to fourth place.
In preparation for their next big tournament, Fnatic attended another boot camp in Chicago, hosted by Ignite Gaming, in September 2016. Well prepared, the team was heading to the Overwatch Open in Atlanta, and they definitely stepped-up their game. Competing against all the top teams of 2016, they managed go get into the NA Playoff Finals and secured the second place against EnvyUs, ending the tournament in a third to fourth place.
Just two months later, in November 2016, the team had to pack their bags once again, leaving for the Dreamhack Winter 2016 – boot camp at Gameffect Sweden included. Even though iddqd played with the team in the North American Qualifier, he stepped down as a starter shortly after, and was replaced by Hafficool. Fnatic still did well, and ended the tournament in a second place, beaten in a close 3-2 by Misfits.
Back home, the team was able to secure two second places for the Overwatch Winter Premiere in Qualifier #2 and #4 and then headed over to Las Vegas to play in the Major League Gaming Vegas 2016 in December. Having the easier group, they managed to finish second in their group, but lost in a close 3-2 against FaZe Clan in the Playoffs.
The year 2017 started well for Fnatic – again they were traveling around the globe, this time to attend OGN Overwatch APEX Season 2 in Korea. They had to opt out of the Overwatch Winter Premier tournament, due to the time clash, and FaZe Clan took their place.
Unfortunately, the performance was not as expected. They lost their group matches against RunAway and KongDoo Panthera, and did not make it into the second group stage. This might have hit the team harder than expected, even though the past year was a great year for the Fnatic roster, they could not continue their success in 2017.
After coming back from Korea in early March 2017, Custa and his team played in the Overwatch PIT Championship – North America Season 1 Open Qualifier. They had an easy time at first, but in the Quarterfinals already lost against You guys get paid? and dropped out of the tournament.
Fnatic tried only another Alienware Monthly Melee and a minor tournament in March, but they did not do much better. The team seemed burned out.
It went quiet around the roster for over two month, until Custa announced on his Twitter, that the team has disbanded and the players were looking for new opportunities. It took another week before Fnatic released an official statement, on June 9, 2017, that the organization would take a step back from Overwatch to “evaluate the game as a competitive title and explore our options”.
The time of roster disbanding started, due to the announcement of the Overwatch League. A lot of free agents were around, with no real outlook on finding a team where they could show their worth.
Most players started forming teams without any organization or money to back them up, just to play in tournaments. During this time, Arc 6 was formed as well.
Alongside xQc, zza, Danteh, SPACE and Gingerpop, Custa only played one tournament before the team disbanded due to the lack of tournaments (and preparation for the Overwatch League). In the BEAT Invitational – Season 2 they fought their way into the Quarterfinals and beat FNRGFE in a 3-2. In the Semi-Finals, they had to accept defeat against Rouge in a close 3-2 reverse sweep.
The team continued to show their worth in the loser’s bracket, beating CLG and FNRGFE once again. After losing 3-0 against Immortals, they secured a well-deserved third place.
Custa believes, that playing for Arc6 was the reason he made it into the Overwatch League. Just this one tournament showed that he was still relevant, and might have not made it without playing with them.6
Looking for a spot with a team in the Overwatch League, Custa decided to take the first step and contacted KyKy (former head coach of the Dallas Fuel) to see if they were in need for any support player. The initiative paid off, he got a try-out and on October 27, 2017, Dallas Fuel announced their first official player signing, Custa.
It was a dream come true, but no one would have thought that the fan favorites would be one of the worst performing teams in the League.
In Stage 1, he mostly played Zenyatta (~135 minutes) and Mercy (~60 minutes) for the Dallas Fuel, but also saw some play time on Lucio and Moira. The last four games of the season Custa was sitting on the bench, as Dallas tried different roster combinations on stage.
Due to the internal struggles and communication issues, Dallas Fuel won only three of their ten games in Stage 1 and ended with a tenth place on the leader board.
In Stage 2, Custa started out with Zenyatta (~180 minutes) and Moira (~25 minutes) only, with Harryhook on Mercy and Lucio. Sitting out two games against San Francisco Shock and Florida Mayhem, Custa then made the switch to a more flexible role with Lucio (~100 minutes), Mercy (~90 minutes) and some Ana (~30 minutes), while Chipshajen has been put on Zenyatta duty.
Even though the team made adjustments to the roster by adding Rascal and aKm, Dallas won only two of their ten games and ended with an eleventh place for Stage 2.
At the end of Stage 2, and during the trade window, Los Angeles Valiant showed interest in Custa and wanted to trade him for Unkoe. After putting so much energy into the team and its success, it first came as a shock to him. After giving it some thought, he began to see the opportunity the change would offer. “Everything I had heard indicated that Valliant really wanted me on the team – it’s a lot more fulfilling, going from a team who wants to trade you out, to a team who really wants you and have a specific role for you to fill.”7
On April 2, 2018, two days before Stage 3 started, it was announced that Custa and uNKOE would be traded. A good pick for the Valiant, as Custa always has been respected for his positive attitude and was an important influence in the Dallas locker room, when stress was high and tensions between the players were rising.8
It came as a big surprise for most fans and even his former team mates though. Mickie expressed his thoughts about the trade during one of his streams. He said that Custa was leading the team and took on the role of the captain, and therefore he didn’t understand why the Dallas Fuel would trade him.
As a last goodbye, the Dallas Fuel posted one last video about Custa on their Twitter. In a video message he told his fans: “I think this change is the best for both parties.”
About his time with the Dallas Fuel, Custa himself later said: “It was hard to keep my morale up in the first two stages playing for Fuel. We were a team who were expected to do so well and then we bombed at the very beginning of the season. It’s difficult to keep positive when everything you’re trying and all the effort you’re putting in just isn’t showing any success, so in a way, it was nice to get out of that, but it was also great working through those troubles at the time with the guys at Fuel by my side. […] Fuel kind of wanted a leader, but the biggest problem was that it’s a very old team and a lot of people were stuck in their old habits, for the most part, they didn’t want someone who was speaking for on their behalf or trying to be a guiding figure.”9
While being a top team in Stage 1 and just closely missing the Playoffs, the Valiant also started to struggle in Stage 2. Like the Dallas Fuel, the team had internal problems and a divided roster, with their star support player Kariv being forced into a DPS role.
Having Unkoe and Kariv mostly matching the same support roles, acquiring Custa was a perfect fit for Valiant. Being a true flex support who can also play a skilled Lucio, Mercy and Moira, he was able to relive Kariv to concentrate solely on Zenyatta. He is also a vocal player with a lot of experience and great communication skills, a skill the Valiant desperately needed.
During the trade window, Valiant were additionally adding Bunny, KSF and Finnsi to the team and were parting ways with Envy, Silkthread and GrimReality (who now acts as an assistant coach). A total overhaul of the roster seemed to have worked wonders, Valiant started off Stage 3 strong, winning their first five matches. Some more wins later, they could end Stage 3 with seven total wins and a third place on the leaderboard.
With fellow Australian Gunba (assistant coach) and old friend and team member Stoop (strategic assistant coach), Custa is happy with his new role. In his own article he wrote: “On Valiant, we have a lot of younger players, so I’m trying to lead by example and show them things they can do to get themselves in the right place. As much as management helps a lot with that, having a player who everyone can mimic and copy is good for the team. That’s what I’m trying to do. It’ll take time to integrate, but I just want to help get these young players in the right mindset. […] On Valiant, I definitely feel that we have the ability to compete with the best teams in the league and beat them.”10
Coming from a not so positive team environment, Custa definitely wants to keep the team environment at the Valiant as positive as possible. He takes the view, that in the end it is more important to have a team with a good team synergy that is working well together, than having the best mechanical players.
His new teammates have only good things to say about Custa, and the whole team is now very excited for the future, as the team environment now feels more comfortable.
Kariv: “Custa is good. He’s carried me so many times.”
Space: “Custa brings a very high level of professionalism.”
Bunny: “He’s a really really strong leader. He has a deep knowledge of the game. His mechanics are up to par. He is a well-rounded player.”
Agilities: “He helps me a lot in game, like pocketing me at the right times, and all around.”11
In an interview, after the first four matches of Stage 3, Agilities yet again spoke only positively about Custa and his addition to the team. Therefore, Custa has changed a lot of things for the team, most importantly making it a more positive environment. As the Valiant were struggling without proper leadership, he has now stepped into this role and the players can look up to him. His experience helped the team all around, even more so with being the in game shot caller, telling them where to play, tracking ultimates and guiding his team in the right direction to win the fights.
Starting out as a dream, leaving Australia to go to Canada, Custa has turned his passion into his dream job and being a strong leader for his team. While visiting several cities all over the world (London, Cologne, Chicago, Atlanta, Jönköping, Las Vegas and Korea) with his previous teams, he now has found a permanent home in Los Angeles.
Apart from his success as a pro player for Overwatch, what is Custa like as a person? Here are some facts:
- Birthday: 22nd November 1993
- On February 3, 2018 he got a cat named Bo
- He is going to the gym and eats well12
- As a typical Australian, he likes Vegemite
- He cheers for the Adelaide Crows in the Australian Football League13
- His favourite Fast Food is “Panda Express”
- The perfect day is a day on the beach, disconnecting from the computer14
In an interview he revealed how his name, Custa, came to be: “When I was in high school I was eating a custard tart and a friend of mine pushed it into my face and called me custard for the day as a joke. I embraced it, so when I had to make an online name for something I made it Custard. Over time it went from Custard to Custardo, to Cust, and then to Custa which I’m happy with.”
And player wise? Why has he chosen to be a support player? Custa has usually been on the support role in other games. He feels like he is a better decision maker in that role. He knows that he is not the best mechanical player and cannot compete with the best. As a support he can show, that he can be one of best player in the world, as opposed to playing the DPS role.15
He made a name for himself in Overwatch playing Zenyatta, but has started to play primarily Ana since the Overwatch Open, back in 2016. He stuck with the hero after, until the dive meta was born and Ana was not a good pick anymore. Nowadays, he can play all support roles to a high level (Zenyatta, Ana, Moira, Lucio and Mercy) which makes him a true flex support and very attractive for other teams. He surely has a bright future ahead of him.