Updated on June 22, 9:27 p.m. (GMT+8): Corrected typo in Harley’s IGN.
Paper Rex coach Alexandre “alecks” Sallé has had a challenging year.
The Valorant roster has been undergoing many changes in 2023, some of which under their control, some of which were not. The organization added duelist Ilya “something” Petrov at the start of VCT Pacific, flexed Jason “f0rsakeN” Susanto away from duelist, benched Benedict “Benkai” Tan before Masters Tokyo, and subbed in Patiphan “CGRS” Posri after it was confirmed that something would not be able to join the team in Japan due to Visa issues.
Amidst the turmoil, however, they’ve not only persevered, but have also made a deep run in the tournament. After sweeping VCT Pacific rivals DRX, they were swept by EMEA powerhouse Fnatic. Falling to the lower bracket, they overcame familiar scrim partner Edward Gaming and NRG Esports 2-1 to make it to top three.
In this exclusive interview with ONE Esports, coach alecks gave us the rundown of how’s it been like fitting in CGRS behind-the-scenes and the help he’s received from an MVP contributor remotely.
Paper Rex coach Alecks is a one-man army who sometimes gets help from a part-time analyst
The reality of competing with a substitute at Masters Tokyo
Not playing with their main roster had a significant impact on their playstyle at Masters Tokyo because the team is “forced to play a certain way to fit CGRS in.”
“Other people are just better at what we’re trying to do right now,” coach alecks told ONE Esports. “What we’re really good at right now is double duelist. I’m not sure if we’re the best in the world, but we’re close to it. Not being able to play double duelist is just hurting us.”
And because the team is doing their best to accommodate CGRS, they don’t have the capacity to come up with creative strategies which they are famously known for, where they’ve picked off-meta agents like Reyna and Yoru and even triple duelist.
“You’re not going to see any funky comps this time around, unfortunately. It’s impossible,” alecks assured.
Behind the scenes, a 7th man has been secretly aiding the team
In order to make the best out of the roster that he has, the head coach has been sacrificing sleep, waking up at 6 a.m. daily to review VODs at Masters Tokyo, he told press after their lower bracket semifinal win against Edward Gaming.
He is not alone, however. Backing him up is Parth, a part-time analyst in India, who first approached Chief Gaming Officer and Paper Rex co-founder Harley “dsn” Orwall showing the kind of data analysis he can do.
“Harley asked me to check his work, and I thought it was impressive, so we engaged him. He gives very good ideas. He refuses to let me pay him, so shoutout to Parth! One day, we’ll pay him. One day he’ll accept a gift from us, hopefully soon. He’s very, very good at his job,” praised alecks.
Parth has been working remotely from India and volunteering for Paper Rex part-time on top of working a fulltime job. His role as data scientist is something that alecks has been on the lookout for because he’s not too fond of numbers.
“When something changes, you have to be very specific on what to look for, and I think that’s what he does very well. He shows me summarized data that I incorporate into my thinking. You have to find someone you can trust,” alecks shared. “Aside from that, I still watch everything. He watches it with me, he gives me his thoughts, and I conclude from there.”