MackWood talks his journey to winning the NAE Fortnite Champion Series
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Mack “MackWood” Aesoph is a Fortnite veteran from Omaha, Nebraska. He joined the competitive scene back in Winter Royale and found success. He has subsequently turned himself into one of the game’s top players, and he streams regularly on Twitch. MackWood consistently performs well in Fortnite competitions and is respected within the community. Most recently, MackWood and his trio won the Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) in the North American East region. The trio narrowly beat out the second-place team by one point. Now, MackWood turns to the next challenge, squads.

MackWood talked with Daily Esports to discuss his career, joining Team SoloMid (TSM), and the FNCS run.

zexrow calculator mackwood fncs nae winner tsm

Q&A with MackWood

When did you begin playing Fortnite?

I switched from H1Z1 once that game started dying. Then I began playing Fortnite about two weeks after the game came out and I started streaming it. I was always just a “pub-stomper” and playing for fun. Then I started making money and realized I was pretty good. Eventually, I joined the pro scene but never expected anything out of it. When Winter Royale was announced, I did not even know about it. I quit the game and the viewers in my chat told me about the tournament. I qualified for the finals and won $1,500. I was so surprised that I won money from a video game. Then Complexity Gaming found me and I dove headfirst into competing.

What made you want to compete?

I played in scrimmages and games with other pros. Not only could I compete, but I was actually beating these players. It was a weird feeling because these players were salaried and professionals. It was very early in the scene, but I was just as good as them.

Is there anything you wish you knew before competing?

I wish I knew how difficult it would be to compete under the Fortnite title with the content changing constantly. The game seems to not care about professional players, yet still has a competitive scene. The constant meta shifts are so stressful.

Also, it is stressful to not know about events. The late announcements do not provide time for preparation. When the FNCS Finals were announced, I immediately drove 13 hours to Jonathan “yung calculator” Weber’s house. It is awful how stressful it is.

What is your favorite meta or season of Fortnite?

Season 9 with the Combat Shotguns and Slipstreams was my favorite. There was so much mobility on the map. It was during World Cup Qualifiers. The game was in a great place. You did not need launchpads in order to win. It felt super competitive. I am hoping Season 11 gets back to that.

fortnite champion series grand finals nae east na standings mackwood zexrow yung calculator

How did it feel to win the first-ever FNCS?

It was the craziest feeling. The event is not as big as the World Cup. Calculator and I won more money than we won at the World Cup. We won the crazy money that comes with first place because there was a large drop-off to second. Then we get the respect that comes with being the Season X champion. It was crazy and I did not expect it, but we did work for it.

How did your trio come together?

I played duos with yung calculator. Then we were all in a friend group called “1x.” Anthony “ZexRow” Colandro and I always got along. We both won games at the World Cup and were obviously good players. If we put the three of us together we should be really good. Then we worked on building our chemistry together.

We actually almost split during the qualifiers. We went through two rough patches. About halfway through the qualifiers, we tilted and started to fall out. Then we had a few calls to discuss the situation. We knew we would not perform, so we figured it out. The next week, we bounced back even better.

Do you have defined roles on the team?

Yes, I am the set in-game leader (IGL). I make all the endgame calls. If I say something, it happens. Obviously, everyone pitched in ideas, but ultimately the decisions are my calls. ZexRow and calc are the two best fraggers in the game. ZexRow has the craziest aim I have ever seen. During his clutch in the FNCS finals you can see how good he is. Then calc is extremely mechanic. He will jump into your box in a boxfight and dumpster you.

The combination of my IGL skills and two raw talents works out.

How do you feel your trio changed from the first Cash Cup to the FNCS Finals?

In the first Cash Cup, we had no idea what we were doing in the end of the game. Absolutely zero. I believe we scored a ton of elimination points and minimal placement points. We thought we had to kill everyone.

Then we began to figure out what we needed to do. We changed from a “w-key” team to a team focused on the endgame. Our play style worked in the open qualifiers, but playing on Sundays was much different. You cannot w-key the best 132 players, so we worked on getting to the endgame.

The next event announced is squads. What are your thoughts on squads in Fortnite?

I think squads are going to be a lagfest. I cannot see it being the most competitive game mode due to the lag, heal-offs, and the extra person in boxfights. I do not like the idea of squads, but we are going into it one hundred percent and going with the flow.

Who is your squad for the next FNCS?

We are going to go with the duo combination. ZexRow played with Vinny “Vinny1x” Gilgan. I played duos with yung calculator. We are bringing the duos together for added chemistry.

How do you expect Vinny to fit into your squad?

ZexRow and Vinny already played together and performed well in the World Cup. There is going to be chemistry there. Then I think Vinny is the best support in the game. I think, in squads, support players will be huge. A player that sits back and plays off of other people is going to be important to find in squads. A player that can play off of the established trio.

Fortnite player MackWood joins TSM team solomid

You recently joined TSM. How did you become a TSM member?

I have been a TSM fan from the start with guys like Myth, Hamlinz, and Daequan. In Fortnite, TSM is the organization to be in, that and FaZe Clan. They reached out to me after we played well in the FNCS qualifiers. They gave me an offer that I could not decline. I think TSM is the best organization in the world and I am so thankful to be a part of it.

What has been your favorite gaming experience thus far?

It was definitely H1Z1. I would do anything to go back to the prime of H1Z1. The game was hilarious with proximity chat. It was super fun and perfect. I loved to mess around with my friends. There was nothing better than late summer nights with friends playing that game.

Who is your favorite gamer or streamer?

That is a tough one. I would go with Dubs. He is just a super funny kid and one of the best players in the game. I actually thought he was cheating when he first joined the scene. He is so good.

What do you like to do outside of gaming?

I am a big wakeboarder. We have a cabin out here. We will go hang out at the cabin and go wakeboarding with all my friends. It is nice to get away from technology.


Thank you to MackWood for his time!

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.