Tfue, Ninja, NICKMERCS, Daequan, SypherPK — where are they now?
The rise of Fortnite Battle Royale has been unprecedented. In a short time, the game shocked the world and became an international sensation. Gamer or not, everyone has heard of Fortnite.
A game is nothing without its players — and Fortnite has a lot of them. Fortnite made people’s dreams come true. Dozens of streamers that no one had heard of prior to Fortnite, became online sensations overnight.
A few years have passed since the dawn of this legendary game. The Fortnite community has sort of “grown-up” with many of these streamers. We’ve seen them at their best and at their worst. Some have taken on new challenges and others remain steadfast. Some have disappeared completely, to be replaced by new streamers.
Let’s take a look at some of Fortnite’s founding streamers. These individuals have paved their own paths. Their decisions, choices, and actions have led them all to different points. It begs the question, where are they now?
Turner “Tfue” Tenney began his gaming career as a Destiny streamer. From there, he migrated to the Battle Royale genre, streaming titles such as H1Z1 and PUBG. At this point, Tfue was still relatively unknown. It wasn't until Fortnite that Tfue began to gain some attention.
Tfue’s rise to stardom was rapid. Tfue joined FaZe Clan on April 30, 2018. At the time, Tfue still only had 70,000 subscribers on YouTube. A viral YouTube video titled, “Tfue - The New King of Fortnite” was Tfue’s first big break. Tfue can be seen decimating opponents and showcasing talent unheard of at the time.
Tfue did not waste this newfound opportunity. The outspoken gamer captured every bit of momentum he could get his hands on. Tfue dominated all of the early Fortnite tournaments. He was considered the #1 Fortnite player by many in the community.
Things only went up from here for Tfue. When Ninja and Shroud left for Mixer, Tfue became the most followed streamer on the platform. While streaming Fortnite, Tfue would consistently pull in 100K concurrent viewers. His presence alone was enough to carry the Fortnite category on Twitch.
However, all good things must come to an end. Tfue lasted longer than most of the other Fortnite content creators. Unlike most other streamers, Tfue was ingrained in the competitive community. Tfue was one of the rare streamers talented enough to compete with the new age of younger “cracked” Fortnite players. His game sense and a knack for attracting skilled teammates allowed him to exceed season after season.
Despite this, Tfue was becoming increasingly frustrated with the game. Just take a glance at his Twitter account and you’ll see complaint after complaint. He and Ninja got into arguments on more than one occasion over Tfue’s constant bashing of Fortnite.
The release of Call of Duty: Warzone was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. Tfue saw an opportunity to abandon the game that made him — and he took it.
Nowadays, you’ll find Tfue streaming Warzone gameplay. While he may not garner as many viewers as he did at the peak of Fortnite, it’s obvious he is a lot happier now. The desire to compete may draw Tfue back to Fortnite one day, but for now, he is dedicated to Warzone.
Before Tfue, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was the face of Fortnite. Before he became a streamer, Ninja was a professional Halo 3 player. In 2011, Ninja transitioned to streaming Battle Royale games. Like Tfue, Ninja mainly played H1Z1 and PUBG. In late 2017, the release of Fortnite shot Ninja into the spotlight.
Ninja was a Fortnite OG. Ninja picked up the game early before anyone knew what it would become. Adopting the building oriented Battle Royale would end up being the best decision Ninja ever made. In less than a year, Ninja’s Twitch followers grew from 500K to over two million.
From here, Ninja piled up milestone after milestone. One of the more notable moments being when Ninja teamed up with musicians Drake and Travis Scott in front of 635K viewers. Ninja’s impact on Fortnite can be summed up in the fact that he has his very own in-game skin.
In August of 2019, Ninja famously made the move to streaming exclusively on Mixer.
Today, Ninja is a household name. He has his own clothing line and has been featured on MSNBC and The Tonight Show. Ninja’s wife, Jessica Blevins, even claims that the couple is in the process of buying an island.
Through all of the success, even Ninja’s love for Fortnite has begun to dwindle. Ninja constantly voices constructive criticism on Fortnite. He wants to enjoy the game again, but the allure of new titles has taken ahold of him. VALORANT specifically is a game Ninja has started to sink a lot of time into. Even though he isn’t streaming right now while he weighs his options, Ninja continues to grind VALORANT off-stream.
Ninja is bound to find a new streaming home soon; whether that be a return to Twitch or another service like YouTube. However, his days as the poster boy of Fortnite may be over, as Ninja has stated that he wants to compete in VALORANT. It will be hard to do that and commit to Fortnite at the same time. While Ninja may still play Fortnite on occasion, it appears that he too has opted for greener pastures.
Up until the emergence of Fortnite, Nick “NICKMERCS” Kolcheff was a lesser-known Call of Duty and Gears of War player. NICKMERCS made a living off of Gamebattles tournaments and wager matches.
NICKMERCS made a name for himself as the top console/controller player on Fortnite. NICKMERCS would compete in tournaments against the very best PC Fortnite players — and do well. At one point, NICKMERCS held the record for the most kills in both Squads and Duos.
As the game evolved and players got better, NICKMERCS fell off. He simply couldn’t compete with mouse and keyboard players on superior hardware. Eventually, NICKMERCS moved to PC but still didn’t find much success competitively. With that, he began a transformation into a content creator. At the same time, NICKMERCS left 100 Thieves and joined FaZe Clan.
Following a long, dedicated relationship with Fortnite, it appears NICKMERCS has returned to his roots. NICKMERCS fell in love with Call of Duty: Warzone following its release. He has been grinding the game ever since. NICKMERCS has become one of the biggest streamers in the Warzone category on Twitch — just like he was during Fortnite’s heyday.
NICKMERCS claims that he still loves Fortnite, but he is just really enjoying Warzone. NICKMERCS will likely return to the game to view the live events as he did with The Device. However, we will likely never see him as dedicated to Fortnite as he once was again.
Fortnite OGs will remember Daequan “Daequan” Loco vividly. Daequan was part of that original group of content creators/streamers that completely blew up off of Fortnite. Daequan’s initial skills allowed him to be more than just a streamer. Daequan was signed by TSM, along with Myth, CaMiLLs, and Hamlinz as part of their original competitive team.
At the time, Daequan was a dominant Fortnite player. He made the double pump exploit famous and broke the record for most individual kills in a match.
Unfortunately, Daequan’s competitive career never really kicked off. Daequan opted to go the route of streaming and content creation rather than play in tournaments. Fortnite was becoming sweatier and Daequan was more comfortable streaming casually instead of sinking time into practice and competition.
Additionally, Daequan suffered from a plethora of real-life issues. Chronic back pain led to Daequan sitting out much of 2019 as sitting in a chair to stream was unbearable. On top of that, Daequan admits to struggling with mental health issues. Finally, his girlfriend, Exie, has her own health issues that Daequan must help care for.
With everything going on in his personal life, Daequan has abandoned the internet completely. He has not published a Tweet since March of this year and has not streamed or uploaded YouTube content in even longer.
Daequan may return to his old stomping grounds in the future, but for now, he has far more important issues to attend to in his personal life.
Ali “SypherPK” Hassan began creating content as far back as 2011. He would make YouTube videos on Runescape and The Elder Scrolls Online. Eventually, he expanded into shooters like Overwatch. However, his career up until Fortnite was relatively quiet. He had a small fanbase but never got the attention he had hoped for. He even quit temporarily in 2016.
Fortnite’s release changed everything for SypherPK. He had an innate talent for the game and grinded it relentlessly. SypherPK gained fame early on in the Fortnite community with his elaborate Trap Towers.
Through his illustrious career, SypherPK has always been one of Fortnite’s biggest advocates. SypherPK is always promoting the game and providing pertinent feedback. He even served as a commentator/host for live Fortnite events/tournaments. His love for the game shows through his content.
Time to become a beast. 👹
Still, everyone is susceptible to burnout. Last week, SypherPK publicly announced that he would be turning his attention to Call of Duty: Warzone. He will still play Fortnite on occasion to produce YouTube content, but it will be minimal.
Fortnite played a major role in all five of these individuals' lives. Each of them took a different path but they all arrived in the same spot. Now, for different reasons, Fortnite is in the rearview. However, their experience in Fortnite will carry them down whatever path their future holds.
Stay tuned here at @GGReconEsports for Fortnite news, guides, features, and more.
Images via Tfue | Red Bull | FaZe Clan | TSM | SypherPK