At only 18 years old, Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk is one of VALORANT’s biggest stars and the veteran on the 100 Thieves roster, but just a few years ago, playing video games for a living was far from reality.
The only child of a Ukrainian working-class couple in New York City. Asuna’s early years were spent in a cramped New York City apartment with eight people living in it. The importance of working hard was a mentality instilled in him at a young age.
“It’s interesting looking back on my life growing up because my family didn’t grow up with a lot of money, but I never realized how little we had until I started to get older,” Asuna said. “My parents would hide a lot of things from me to make sure I had the best life growing up, but throughout life, they would just work extremely hard just to make ends meet.”
Growing up, Asuna shared that his passions were always in video games, but he understood the reality that it might not be the best way to make a living.
“My family immigrated to America from Ukraine, and as their only child, I never wanted to be a failure to them,” Asuna said. “It sounds harsh to place these expectations on myself, but I knew that I always wanted to support them in the future. Even if it meant sacrificing my dreams.”
He remembers the long hours his father would put in at his construction job and the countless nights it took for his mom to rise up from a hotel cleaner to hotel manager all just to make ends meet.
Those memories and sacrifices made to give Asuna a better life in America were things that the young VALORANT player held dear to his heart.
Setting a timer on his passions
Photo credit: Riot Games
When Asuna was in high school, his passion toward gaming really began to develop which created a tough decision about chasing his dream. In hindsight, the answer was simple, but a career in gaming is a risky path.
“I don’t want to chase a dream that is only a dream and not within the scope of reality,” Asuna said. “So I gave myself a deadline to dedicate time for this dream, and if it did not work, I would just focus on school instead.”
He set a timer until the middle of senior year to pursue a career in VALORANT, and if it didn’t happen, he knew that he had to be realistic.
“I didn’t want them to sacrifice everything by moving to America just to blunder that all because I went all-in on a goal,” Asuna said. “I knew I had to balance both school and gaming if I wanted to ensure that their sacrifice was worth it no matter if esports worked out or not.”
This motivated Asuna to work extra hard toward his goal of becoming a pro VALORANT player while also sectioning off time to excel in his school work.
Asuna’s day-to-day life became consumed with school and VALORANT. For most kids his age, that amount of time would lead to burnout, but for Asuna, he saw every single minute as an opportunity to get closer to his dream of playing video games for a living.
One of the motivating factors Asuna felt led to his eventual rise in VALORANT was the COVID pandemic.
“It sounds weird to say, but the pandemic was lucky for me,” Asuna shared. “It gave me those extra hours I needed to stay home and work on my dream of becoming a pro player.”
Instead of waking up early and commuting to an eight-hour day of school, Asuna’s days were condensed at home. The extra hours to himself and minor distractions are what Asuna feels accelerated his dreams becoming reality.
“I never really had a social life anyway if I am being honest,” Asuna laughed while sharing. “Still, I don’t know how I would’ve handled my final years in high school, but that extra time helped me get to where I am today.”
Asuna began to rise up the ranks in VALORANT, where he was finally signed to his first professional VALORANT team, Immortals, in June 2020 before finding his current home at 100 Thieves in October of that year.
After reaching his goal of becoming a pro, what's next for Asuna?
Photo credit: Riot Games
Now, Asuna is living his dream as a pro VALORANT player for 100 Thieves where he is one of the game’s greatest talents. Yet, what makes this dream so much better for Asuna is now knowing that he can support his family doing what he loves.
“We just paid off the [home] loan after 18 years because of me and it feels amazing,” Asuna shared before continuing. Well, it was a combo of them using my college money as well as my esports money, but still. It was amazing to know that they are doing well and that I am able to watch them do that while living out my dream.”
Similar to his parents, Asuna lives a very minimalistic lifestyle. They do not gift each other many things, aside from an annual Christmas gift, because they found happiness without it growing up.
His humble upbringing has resulted in a mentality that resists complacency and promotes hard work.
“I always live by the mentality that I am never done and that there is a lot more that I can accomplish,” Asuna said. “Once I enter this nonstop grind to achieve a goal, it never ends. That work ethic is something that has stuck with me my entire life.”
Asuna knows that his goals do not stop at becoming a pro VALORANT player, and he is aware of the hard work it takes to become one of the best of the best.
Yet, it is this exact process of hard work that motivates Asuna to become an even better version of himself. This is something that Asuna feels VALORANT gives him an opportunity to do.
“In VALORANT, you really have to grind to prove yourself and your worth. That is what I really love about VALORANT,” Asuna said.
From winning First Strike North America and reaching the semifinals of Masters: Berlin to failing to qualify for Champions 2021 and Masters: Reykjavík 2022, Asuna has experienced both the highs and lows in VALORANT.
Now, he is no longer the young rookie surrounded by a group of veterans on 100 Thieves. With a rebuilt roster, Asuna is now the veteran pillar that 100 Thieves is looking to build their future around.
Looking to improve upon their performance in the VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 1 Challengers main event, Asuna and 100 Thieves will compete in Stage 2 starting May 13 with a matchup against The Guard.
Lead photo credit: Riot Games