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  • M80 NiSMO’s restaurant Amir and life before VALORANT.
  • How the Covid-pandemic helped NiSMO become a pro-VALORANT player.
  • Why NiSMO believes his family and son, Alessio Tayar, motivate him as a pro player.

Most people know Marc-Andre “NiSMO” Tayar as M80’s star VALORANT player, but there is much more to him than people see.

Three years ago, NiSMO wasn’t living the life he is currently living as a pro-VALORANT player. While VALORANT is NiSMO’s career and what he dedicates much of his time and effort to nowadays, his deep-rooted family values are the center of all his passions.

Most of his time went towards dedicating his time to his family restaurant, Amir, in Valleyfield, Quebec, where he cherished the aspects of being able to help his family out wherever he could.

NiSMO M80 Amir restaurant

M80 announcement featuring Amir, NiSMO's family restaurant.

“Family is central to everything I do,” NiSMO shared. “They have done so much for me in my life that I just want to give them everything.”

He highlighted the usual routine of working long hours at the family restaurant before rushing home to get as much practice with his teams in Counter-Strike. He noted the multiple instances where work would run late or have to fill in during off-hours so that he could help keep the business running.

“I remember my schedule being so inconsistent,” NiSMO said. “I remember I would come home and immediately go into practice, but some days I would come home really late a lot.”

During this period, he would be lucky to find a day to practice more than four or five hours a day because of the natural priorities of running a family restaurant.

It wasn’t until the Covid-pandemic hit that NiSMO could devote more time to gaming.

“When we closed the restaurant, I had the opportunity to focus on playing games,” NiSMO said. “I am pleased that all that work is paying off. I wanted to be a professional gamer, and seeing all of that coming to life is awesome.”

When NiSMO began to see pro gaming as a viable career path, he put in a lot more hours into VALORANT than when he was balancing other life obligations. He highlighted 2-9pm scrim days, which would not have “been possible” working at the restaurant.

How family helps NiSMO’s VALORANT career

Nowadays, NiSMO can dedicate most of his time to VALORANT, a game that he loves and is constantly motivated to improve.

However, to maintain this competitive level, sacrifices are needed to continue performing at a top level in competitive VALORANT. He highlighted his densely packed schedule of devoting 12-plus hours daily to the game to ensure M80 remains a top team. Yet, through this all, he still finds a way to balance his life outside VALORANT because of how much happiness and motivation it brings him.

“I honestly think having a family helps me continue to put in the work in VALORANT because it’s not just about me anymore nowadays,” NiSMO said. “I have something and someone to play for compared to the earlier days of balancing a career in gaming.”

NiSMO highlighted his lackadaisical nature when grinding FPL in his earlier years. He saw gaming as a fun activity he would partake in during his spare time away from the restaurant. Now, his treatment of a career in gaming is very different.

“Sometimes he will just call me on FaceTime, and he will be shouting let’s go, dad or that he is rooting for me,” NiSMO shared while laughing. “Seeing him and my girlfriend on that Facetime call motivates me greatly. Reminds me what I am playing for.”

New exciting pressures with his son Alessio Tayar

The past few months have been some of NiSMO’s busiest in his pro-VALORANT career, culminating in him and M80 winning the VALORANT Challengers 2023: NA Midseason Faceoff against G2 Esports in the Grand Final. Yet, the aspects of planning something for his son Alessio Tayar gave him a unique form of pressure that he had never experienced.

Planning his son’s first birthday party.

Due to the Covid-Pandemic, he had never been able to do a big celebration party ever since his son was born. While he has felt the constant pressure of maintaining a top level in competitive VALORANT, a different pressure was placed on him on April 14.

For NiSMO, family played a big part in shaping the person he is today. He remembered all the family parties he had as a kid and all the things his parents did for him so he could have these positive memories when he was older.

Now, a father himself, it’s about “moving the tradition” along to Alessio, which NiSMO really views in high regard.

“He’s going to be looking at these pictures and memories when he is older, and he’s going to be laughing at all the pictures,” NiSMO shared while laughing and smiling. “It was tough to create those memories for him during the Pandemic, but I want to keep that tradition moving.”

M80 NiSMO continues to defy expectations

A common misperception in esports is that pros in their late-20s start declining performance, especially when other life obligations enter life. For NiSMO, he sees the following stages of his career as “primetime” despite these things. All of these things are what motivate him to continue breaking these barriers.

“I think age is just a number,” NiSMO shared before explaining his mindset toward performance. “I think I have that sports mindset where I see 29 as my primetime for performance.”

He highlighted his traditional sports background in soccer and mixed martial arts. Here, he shared that the retirement ages in traditional sports hover around 35 to 40 years old and that his current age is when most pros experience their best performances. This is the mindset NiSMO carries every day into practice with M80.

“There are top superstars in sports that don’t start becoming amazing until their late 30s, and I see it that same way for myself,” NiSMO said. “I’m not slowing down. I’m doing what I used to do back in the day, and I feel like I am in my prime at 29.”

At 29 years old, NiSMO is in the prime of his VALORANT career and is one of VALORANT’s most underrated stars in the North American Challengers League with M80. And while he puts a lot of effort into ensuring his in-game mechanics are always on point, the healthy balance of family and health, alongside his professional career, shapes his everyday mentality.

“As long as I stay healthy, keep moving, and live a healthy balanced lifestyle where I can spend time with my family, then I don’t see why I can’t keep this up.” NiSMO shared.

NiSMO is living out his dreams as a pro-VALORANT player and finding a way to balance his personal life with the rigorous routines and pressures of pro play.

After winning the first split of the VALORANT NA Challengers League, NiSMO’s sights are set on being a part of M80’s growth as a VALORANT team.

That growth will continue again today as M80 takes on Turtle Troop at 4pm PT. Those interested in watching M80’s match can do so by tuning in to the stream’s YouTube and Twitch channels.