Gambit Esports’ Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin continues to reach new heights since creating the lurking meta that teams from all regions are now trying to replicate at Valorant Champions 2021.

After Gambit Esports were crowned VCT Stage 3 Masters Berlin champions, teams like Korean squad Vision Strikers studied nAts’ unique playstyle, noting how effective it was against the best Valorant teams in the world.

The 19-year-old even clutched out rounds that looked unwinnable against G2 Esports at Masters Berlin, helping Gambit Esports secure the first-ever 13-0 victory at an international LAN event.

ONE Esports had the opportunity to interview Gambit Esports’ nAts at Valorant Champions where the rising star shared valuable insight into his playstyle with an in-depth guide on how to dominate games using his unique lurk plays.

What is the lurking playstyle?

Viper in the backdrop of her ultimate, Viper's Pit
Credit: Riot Games

Lurking is when a single agent from the attacking team goes to the opposite side of the map, waiting for an opportune moment to sneak around and shoot opponents from behind.

Lurkers move based on the information they gain. They sometimes even bait their team to get a better position on the map.

nAts’ guide on how to properly execute his lurk playstyle

Gambit Esports' nAts lurk guide from VCT Stage 3 Masters Berlin
Credit: Riot Games

This guide will help players understand the game better. Lurkers are very different from how duelists and initiators play. The role falls into the hands of sentinel and controller agents like Cypher and Viper, characters that excel in superior positioning and information gathering. These agents can also break the enemy’s line of sight using their smokes which they can use to sneak around the map.

“The main thing I’d like to say about lurking is that you have to understand how your opponent plays because that will mean a lot,” nAts explained. “If you know they’re playing a certain way, if you know an area on the map is free, if you can spot the patterns through that information, you’ll be able to do some unpredictable things.”

According to nAts’ guide, players should keep a mental note after each round on where the enemy agents are and what parts of the map they’re defending. They can then use this information to get close enough to the enemy team to hear footsteps or agent abilities when opponents decide to do their mid-game rotations.

“The second thing is, you have to do it confidently,” nAts further advised. “If you’re not confident, it’s going to be hard to execute your plays. You’re going to take duels every time, and you have to win them to be a good lurker.”

How Valorant’s pro meta shifted with more teams having lurkers

Gambit Esports, VCT Stage 3 Masters Berlin
Credit: Riot Games

When Gambit Esports won VCT Stage 3 Masters Berlin, nAts shared that their playstyle focused on slowing down each round as they gathered all the information they could before deciding to make their move.

“Actually, we could do other things with our playstyle, but at Masters Berlin, we played slow games that our opponents found annoying. Some of those plays worked,” he reflected. “The main point of our game is to slowly take information about the opponents during the round and then do something about it by the end of the round.”

Considered somewhat unconventional because he isn’t a duelist main, Gambit Esports’ star player was surprised when others began to emulate his lurk plays, with other pro players showcasing it at Valorant Champions.

“I was thinking about that two years ago, that there would come a day when someone would copy me,” shared nAts. “But, still, I wasn’t ready for the large number of players that began copying my playstyle after Masters Berlin.”

nAts’ new lurk playstyle for Valorant Champions

Valorant agent Viper and Gambit Esports pro player nAts at Valorant Champions 2021
Credit: Riot Games, ONE Esports

The next step of nAts’ playstyle revolves around being even more unpredictable. With so many teams now studying how he plays, he sees the value of changing things up, especially as he and his team gradually advance at Valorant Champions.

“Right now, I’m trying to do something new. I mean, lurking is lurking. Everybody will be waiting, anticipating where I might be. nAts is here, or here,” he explained. “And, because of that, you have to constantly be creating something new; it’s so hard to keep doing the same thing, as people will be waiting for you.”

This new mindset likely stems from Gambit Esports’ 0-13 loss on Bind to Acend during the Red Bull Home Ground tournament on November 6 where they finished in 5th-8th place.

“As you saw in the games after Masters Berlin, a lot of people were trying to annoy me, to destroy my game,” reflected nAts. “I was trying to do a lot during the games, too, like on Bind and Icebox. I’m trying to annoy people as well, to be able to take control of the map.”

READ MORE: Valorant guide: Learn how to quick scope from the best pros