When you think of Call of Duty and the UK, the first major team that comes to mind is probably an avian variety, and might not be Team Delirium – but they’re making a strong case for why they should be up there amongst the best.
The UK-based organisation have seen their members rise to success through Twitch and tournaments, with some streaming with the likes of Vikkstar and winning Warzone competitions. And Mina Mendes, a German supermodel and Warzone tournament host, approached Delirium to join as an ambassador and Twitch streamer.
Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco takes a closer look at Team Delirium and chats with founder and CEO Smurfy (aka Jack) to find out how they came to be.
Delirium’s origins begin in 2017, when Smurfy created the Delirium branding after a family member was diagnosed with the condition and hospitalised for a short time.
This was during the time that H1Z1 was pretty popular.
“We sent a UK player (Perry ‘tuf0xy’ Kenyon) to Dreamhack Atlanta who was one of the top-placing European solo players at the time, but after that event H1Z1 started to die and we ended the team,” Smurfy explains.
“I’m originally from a Call of Duty background. I’m an esports-based graphic designer who started out as a young teen playing on Gamebattles and self teaching myself how to use Photoshop in order to design for my team pages and friends.
“Now years later, I’ve befriended and worked with numerous pros and organisations, always with the dream to create my own brand in gaming. I’ve worked with the likes of OpTic Hecz, Nadeshot, CouRageJD, Excel, Elevate and many more. Assisting them with branding identity and social media/content graphics, I developed a style and understanding of esports and took that knowledge across to shaping and creating my own brand.”
In 2019, Smurfy and close friend Ghoul decided to revive the brand, spurned on by the success that Fortnite was seeing. They later recruited Liquid as co-owner to help manage the team and its Fortnite division.
“Fast forward a year and we’ve obtained sponsors from Saru General and GFUEL Energy, whilst also growing a decent sized following with numerous YouTube creators and esports competitors representing our brand and competing in tournaments,” Smurfy continues. “Some of these have now gone on to join teams such as TSM, Misfits and another being a finalist in the most recent FaZe5 recruitment challenge.”
Smurfy is also the co-owner and lead designer for Saru General, a streetwear clothing brand known for supplying rare clothing to a niche demographic and high profile clientele, such as athletes, musicians and pro gamers.
“The sponsorship happened due to my affiliation with both brands and seeing the growing connection between gaming and hypebeast fast fashion,” he adds. “We’re in the process of planning a Delirium x Saru clothing collection drop.”
All this activity has helped to build a solid following for Delirium, with around 200,000 combined followers across their various channels, and 80,000 of those on TikTok.
It’s of course Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone that they are now known for.
“During 2020, Warzone was released which was very exciting for me and my co-owner as we both came from a COD background,” Smurfy says. “We recruited a few Warzone players and streamers who were friends with us from our COD days (including Vapulear), who have now grown to become some of Europe’s most recognisable names in Warzone, one of which (Angelika) transferred to CDL team, London Royal Ravens, as a content creator, and Smixie joined RØKKR.”
Delirium players often compete in big Warzone tournaments and place well whilst streaming on Twitch and Facebook Gaming. For example, Delirium Vapulear finished second in week one of the Vikkstar showdown, third in the Royal Ravens $25,000 tournament and finished well in Twitch Rivals along with teammates Lenun and LouiCM.
Smurfy adds: “Vapulear and I went way back, so when he returned to Warzone to pursue streaming full time it was a no brainer to recruit him to Delirium as I know he’s an extremely talented individual. Someone else who recognised this was Vikkstar who quickly took him under his wing to compete in several tournaments.”
Vapulear actually won the first COD Warzone tournament with Vikkstar and WarsZ back in March 2020, and he also won the $70,000 CashApp tournament among others.
This started to catch the attention of the community more and more.
“Because of our Warzone presence,” Smurfy continues, “Mina Mendes, a German supermodel and Warzone tournament host, approached us and discussed joining our brand as an ambassador and Twitch streamer. She’ll be hosting yet another big tournament later this year, which I can’t say too much about, but will be her biggest yet.”
Mina hosts a variety of Warzone tournaments including 2v2 cups and has a $100,000 competition coming up in Dubai:
Smurfy says Delirium has an appeal that has drawn some top talent in Call of Duty, and while some have gone on to CDL franchises, many have stayed.
“We’re now the biggest Warzone team outside of the CDL. Almost every other top tier creator is either signed to a CDL franchise or the organisation partnered with one,” he explains.
“Our USP is what we’ve been able to create with little to no investment, but from purely networking and experimenting with the skills we have and the people we know. We’re also very hands on and down to the earth with our players and team members, seeing them as our peers.
“We’re similar ages and have known some of our creators for years, before the team was even created. Our brand dynamic is fairly unique, here in Europe especially, with our content creation, vast Fortnite following and Warzone presence, you’d expect some of our players to be in tier one organisations on high paying salaries, but instead they’re with us building out our creative vision and shaping the Delirium brand.”
It seems things are looking bright for Delirium – who knows what heights they may reach as new CoD games and tournaments emerge in the future.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.