After The Guard’s loss against Paper Rex at VCT Masters Reykjavík, the “Guard-father,” coach Matthew “mCe” Elmore, told Dot Esports that the team’s rising star Trent Cairns listens to music during competitive matches. But he was unable to do so during the VALORANT team’s short playoff run in Iceland.
In an interview following the match, mCe discussed the team’s struggle to adapt to the differences between playing at their Texas boot camp during NA Challengers and playing on LAN in Reykjavík. One of those changes was that trent was not allowed to listen to music during matches.
“The guys have got to get used to more standard setups,” mCe told Dot Esports. “Trent listens to music while he plays, and [he wasn’t] allowed to listen to music here. It could be a nerves thing that helps him calm down, and these are things that we learned that were too late to try and switch.”
During The Guard’s run through the NA Challengers group stage and playoffs, trent was one of the standout names and a bonafide rising star—and apparently he’s been beating the best of NA VALORANT with music on in the background.
This development was a surprise to coach mCe, while it appears trent was surprised to find out he could not play music on stage.
“I found out when we got here he was listening to music,” mCe said. “Today mid-match he opened Spotify and realized that he was actually super nervous and uncomfortable. He asked the admin if he could play music, [but] the admin said ‘no.’”
MCe acknowledged that nerves and jitters were affecting the whole team, particularly trent, given that he’s still only 17 and that Masters Reykjavík was his first big stage event.
“I don’t think [trent’s level of play] was as bad as trent thought,” mCe said. “I think he
didn’t play up to his level and I think he got in his head because of it. Comments online are pretty brutal anytime you lose anything like this and I think it definitely got to the guys a little bit.”
It’s unclear if this is the music he’s been listening to in recent matches, but upon searching the Nightbot commands on trent’s Twitch channel, there’s a “!playlist” command that links to a Spotify playlist titled “surviving 2020” that was actually created by Sentinel’s Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan. The playlist primarily features tracks by Lil Uzi Vert but also includes songs from Kanye West, Playboi Carti, JUICE WRLD, and others.
For trent and The Guard, though, coach mCe says he plans to give the players some extra time off since they’ve been going “non-stop since Jan. 7.” It’s unclear if the team plans to wean trent off listening to music during matches, however.