Saturday, March 2, 2024

Kylie Gabor has Tier 1 ambitions for SLAYPEX

It’s been just about a year since streamer and drag artist Kylie Gabor launched SLAYPEXa monthly competitive Apex Legends tournament that’s entirely focused on centering marginalized players and content creators. Since then, the tournament has grown quite a bit, with professional players like Hamb1no participating in the upcoming SLAYPEX Invitational Pride event.

But Gabor has her sights for SLAYPEX set even higher. Gayming sat down with her to discuss her goals for the event going forward.

How does it feel to be coming up on the first anniversary of SLAYPEX?

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s hit me yet. Time just went by so fast and I just get caught up in the month that I’m focused on for the tournament. I guess it’ll probably hit me when the tournament happens in June.

But I think it’s amazing because I’ve met so many cool people, I brought so many amazing people into the community and gave them the confidence to participate in other tournaments besides SLAYPEX. And we’ve gotten over like 600 people in the SLAYPEX Discord, which is really cool to see.

How would you say the tournament has changed over the past year?

I don’t think anything has really changed that deeply. The only thing that has really changed within, I want to say, maybe like three months or so after the first one was the organization of SLAYPEX. It’s become so much easier. I’ve gotten help from BoomTV, which is a tournament hosting website. They have been so amazing. I work directly with them to help organize and get the signups on there, because originally, I would release a Google Doc and have everyone sign up and type their names in. And I would have to sit there for hours, organizing the teams, putting them together. But now they can do it themselves, and pick their own teams, and that kind of stuff.

Also the anxiety that came with it, now that’s gone. And now things run a lot more smoothly because I think I ironed out most of the wrinkles that came my way throughout the year.

What would you say you’ve learned about tournament organizing so far?

That people will have issues no matter what. It could be the best tournament ever, but people are going to have stuff to say whether it’s negative or positive.

I’ve also started to learn a lot more that when people sign up to sign up it can throw off other people’s motivation to be in some of these events, because they see that people sign up and those people don’t show up. And I’ve got to really decipher how to negate that.

What are some of your plans/goals for SLAYPEX going into its second year?

I want bigger prizes to make it almost like a Tier 1 tournament, and not just a Tier 4, smaller, queer tournament. I want it to be up there with all these like big pro players because we deserve the space. The LGBTQIA+ community deserves the opportunity to be in that Tier 1 tournament aspect, and not just something that’s kind of “oh it’s just there to be there.”

So my goal is just to put it on the forefront and actually really, really push the marketing and stuff behind it to get as far as possible.

Are you planning any other themed tournaments, like last year’s Halloween event?

I don’t have any themed ones planned, but I’ve really been wanting to do a solo tournament. I think it would be really cool to see a solo tournament, and that way it’ll split up the prizing a lot more, so there will be a lot more prizing for the one person who wins.

I also really want to a LTM (limited-time mode) tournament. So in Apex LTM is limited-time modes, which are like Gun Run, Control, Team Death Match. I want to do a tournament in one of those little mini-game modes and see how that works. But I haven’t tackled that yet because I’m a little bit scared because the logistics and organization behind it are going to be completely different than a typical 60 people tournament.

How have you been going about choosing the captains for the SLAYPEX Invitational Pride event?

I’m trying to prioritize people in the LGBTQIA+ community. I’m also prioritizing POC people and also picking people that can help actually be super beneficial to the tournament and bring in more eyes to the event, as well as bring more eyes to the participants that don’t have many eyes on them and their content to give a good mix of people that have bigger audiences and smaller audiences. That way people can meet each other, and audiences can meet new creators they might like.

What are you most excited for about the SLAYPEX Invitational Pride event?

This is probably going to be the sweatiest tournament because of the teams that are already signing up. Some of these people are like Preds (the highest rank players can reach in competitive Apex Legends) or pros. So I’m excited to see the gameplay because this is gonna be like no other. I’ve never had a tournament that I hosted that had like a crazy amount of high-ranked, high-tier players play into it.

From what I’ve seen in my tournaments, people just kind of play and have fun, and just, you know, just go for it. So I wonder how this is gonna play out. They’re gonna have to play a lot smarter because there’s a lot more money on the line, and also a lot more high tier players in the game.

What kind of advice do you have for anybody who wants to get into organizing tournaments?

I would say just make sure you have a good people around you. But it’s okay to do it by yourself, though it is gonna be harder to do it by yourself.

I’d also say you’ve got to have thick skin because people are going to attack you. So I just think make sure to go in there knowing that there is going to be some pushback, but keep going because you’re going to build a community and you’re going to build a space that some people don’t have. So go in there with the mindset of “I’m gonna do this for the community, and negative feedback? I’m not gonna listen to it.” But just know that it will be there.

What else do you want people to know about SLAYPEX?

It’s managed by a queer POC individual; that we try our best to get funding to make it as big as possible, and that it’s a safe space for anyone to come in. If you’re scared to play in a tournament because you’re scared of homophobia, transphobia, bigotry in other tournaments, this is a good place to to have a safe space and still being in the comp aspect and tournament aspect if that’s what you want.

And also if you just want a place to learn how to play comp, SLAYPEX is the perfect place to do it. We have a lot of people that do a lot of competitions and a lot of tournaments that you can learn from in the SLAYPEX discord. So SLAYPEX is the perfect place for any individual.

Ty Galiz-Rowe

Ty is Gayming Magazine's deputy editor and esports expert.