In the Driver’s Seat With Kunics, GM of the Spectre

In this installation of “In the Driver’s Seat”, I had the absolute pleasure and opportunity to sit down with Kunics, the General Manager of the Spectre. It was wonderful and insightful hearing all about his extensive MLE experience, as well as getting to know him more as a person. Spoiler: Kunics is a fantastic human being.

We’ll start off with a fun bit of trivia, that some people may not know, which is that I almost became a Jet in Season 6 instead of yourself. Please explain how that entire scenario went down, even I am not aware of the whole story.

I played my first season of MLE [then Minor League Doubles (MLD) ] on a laptop, for it was far better than the Xbox that I started playing on. However, during Season 6 the charger port on it died, so I was unable to recharge my laptop and became a reserve because of this. Blackwatch was Captain of the Jets at that time and was wanting to bring me on as a starter. Kracerlink, who drafted the Platinum League [the league that predated the Academy league] team, works in IT and therefore had an extra PC for me. Blackwatch had an extra GPU and there we go. They generously came together and got me a computer to use. You, Rolo, were the backup plan in case they were not able to make that happen.

When did you join the League?

Technically I joined in Season 4 during the Grand Finals, but my first season was Season 5 with the Jets. I found out about MLD through Springy, a player on the Elite at the time. I joined the Ascending Champion Esports discord server, through a recommended post on Twitter. I recently got on PC and was looking to make PC friends to play Rocket League with. Springy randomly asked me to sign up for a tournament with Badger Milk, so I said yes. Springy brought up MLD during the tournament and got me to sign up. That Season 5 Jets team consisted of me, Springy, Dur, with Blackwatch as coach.

What has been your overall record in MLE?

As a Jet I went 44-53, so slightly negative. I was on the Demolition for Season 9, went 16-9, therefore 60-62 overall. Since being General Manager of the Spectre, our teams have gone 161-146, with our Premier League team making playoffs last season. I am currently maintaining a spreadsheet that is tracking the Spectre record overall, as well as individual and team records.

What is your favorite car in Rocket League?

Currently the Fennec, but I have played many vehicles up to this point. When I first played Rocket League, I mained the Backfire, with sacred boost, rat rod wheel, and the cavalier topper. Please do not ask me why I remember that. I eventually switched from the Backfire due to the turning radius.

What is the best non-standard game mode?

Hoops, easily.

What is your favorite MLE memory?

 My first season, Season 5, we made the playoffs as a wildcard. There we played the Sharks and it was the most intense series ever. Arguably [the] top 5 series of all time within MLD at the time. We ended up losing the series in Game 7, after being down 3-2 in the series, but it was such an adrenaline rush. My hands were visibly shaking afterward.

Of note, the VOD is on YouTube, so please watch! However, what you will see is that my name was Sith Droid during Season 5. I quietly switched to Kunics during the offseason between Season 5 and 6.

Sharks vs. Jets, Season 5 Wildcard

What is your favorite Rocket League memory, generally speaking?

When we made Top 128 for RLRS play-ins a couple [of] seasons ago. Back then I was still Champion 2 and was super excited and proud to make it at that rank. I played with Mateo, who was high Champion 3, and Rox, who was Grand Champion. We did not do too well during the actual play-ins, for we had little warm-up beforehand. The experience itself though, qualifying by beating a full Grand Champion team to make it, was awesome.

What is the best part of being a Spectre?

The best and worst part is that as soon as you become a Spectre you score those most insane own goals and it happens too frequently to be a coincidence. I was given the nickname “Boonics” and it is my alter personality, one where I score the nuttiest of own goals. Unfortunately, “Boonics” has spread throughout the franchise.

What is your favorite hobby outside of Rocket League?

As per my old name, I am a Star Wars fan, as well as a sports fan. I cheer for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Penguins (please do not be mad at me for that). Really into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well.

Currently, a university student studying statistics. I started in Animation then switch to 3D Game Design. I unfortunately did not have the same motivation for it as others in my program. Therefore, I took a year of exploratory courses to see where my interests lied. I know I am a very logical person, so I decided to take a major that fits with my interests and suits my strengths, and landed at statistics.

What is the best part of being a General Manager?

Helping everyone on the team improve. I view myself as a coaching General Manager and I make sure to review one replay each week with each squad from their previous series. And of course, hanging out with the team and making new friends throughout each season.

What is the hardest part of being a General Manager?

Dealing with players that are not responsive or are not working well with the team, and potentially needing to make the tough decision to drop them or not.

What made you want to be a General Manager in the first place?

For a little bit of context, MonsterJamers was the General Manager of the Spectre in Season 8 and Legend was the General Manager in Season 9. After season 9, I was encouraged to apply for a General Manager position, but I really did not see myself getting it. I applied anyway and was hoping to create a stable team environment. I have been on some wonderful, stable teams since Season 5 and I wanted to emulate that on another franchise. I could not be the General Manager for the Jets so I wanted to be the General Manager for the franchise with the best and worst color combo in the Mystic division.

Where do you see yourself in 2-3 years?

In three years, I hope to be finally done my college degree and I am really looking forward to being done. I hope to move out and have my own apartment/place in that timeframe too. I am sure life will eventually take over, but I hope to be the General Manager for the Spectre for as long as possible. And I really hope to be involved with MLE generally for as long as possible too, for I probably would not be playing Rocket League if it were not for MLE.

Anything else you would like to add before we are done here?

During the offseason between 5 and 6, I played in a fun tournament with Ninjarider, a former caster, as Sith Droid. Then during season 6, he was casting one of my games, and my name was Kunics then. He had no idea who I was and one of his lines was, “Who’s this Kunics guy, I really like this Kunics guy.” That phrase is now one of my twitch notifications.

 Kunics’ teammates coming together and getting him a new PC so he could play, is a moment that I think exemplifies why MLE is so special. Since that time, Kunics has forwarded along that same level of support and dedication to his teammates and players. From creating a database to keeping track of all Spectre records to providing replay analysis for each League, “Boonics” gives back to MLE as much as he can and has done so for several years. Thank you “Sith Droid” for being such a stand-up and genuine person of this community.