On the eve of the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 2 Masters in Reykjavík, Iceland, Team Liquid’s Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom made a surprising yet astute revelation on the state of each VCT regional Valorant meta and what it ultimately means for competitive Valorant.
ScreaM was joined in an impressive panel by Sentinels’ Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan, Fnatic’s Jake “Boaster” Howlett, Version1’s Anthony “vanity” Malaspina, and Team Viking’s Matias “Saadhak” Delipetro, who all candidly answered questions from the media on May 24.
ScreaM believes they are only at the beginning
From the get-go, ScreaM outlined the state of the current Valorant meta, citing that Valorant itself is still a new game that was released in June 2020. “Things have to develop and the tactics are still very new. The meta is still going to evolve a lot. As of now, every team is in this position,” ScreaM reflected.
ScreaM concluded that the top spot was still very much open for the taking. “This is the beginning of the game. In my opinion, no one is really [good enough] right now to dominate the whole scene. So, anyone can win this tournament.”
To echo this sentiment, each of the players on the panel provided a take on what they’re looking to get out of the highly anticipated tournament which is notably the first international Valorant competition since the game was released.
ShahZaM asserts that it’s a test of matchups
Sentinels’ ShahZam was especially cautious, knowing not to underestimate their opponents. He noted that teams would be changing up their compositions going into the opening rounds, specifically looking to improve from the last time they’d played.
“I highly doubt any team is going to come into this tournament doing the same stuff they did in the regional finals or the qualifiers because that will make absolutely no sense,” explained ShahZaM. “So, I feel like this is going to be a test of matchups and who brings their best game, and who can adapt and adjust mid-game in these opening matches, more so than preparation and counter-strategies.”
“Teams will do their homework and players will have their tendencies, but I expect teams to reinvent themselves,” he concluded.
On his own team’s efforts, ShahZam was quick to point out that they’d gone through some changes, too. In response to a comment from ScreaM about how Sentinels’ players are amazing individually but are nonetheless predictable, he interjected, “The team you saw in Masters 1, and the team you saw in the Regional Finals is a different team from the team you’ll see here [in Iceland].”
Vanity explains that everyone will have to deal with nerves
When asked about player performances and how the setting may affect them, Version1’s vanity articulated that everyone was bound to feel some pressure. “Given the stage it’s on, the first international one for Valorant, there’s going to be nerves across the board. It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter how [high or low a level] you’ve competed on,” he responded.
“The people who competed on a higher level will probably have an advantage later on in the tournament. But in the beginning, everyone’s going to have nerves, and I don’t think it’ll affect the level of play very much,” vanity added.
Saadhak notes that it’s a learning experience
For the lesser-known Team Viking, Saadhak is aware that what they have to do is adapt. “I think our playstyle is really good against aggressive teams. Now, we’re transitioning to play against slow teams. So, one of our strengths is the adaptability we have. It’s really surprising how teams play here, it is really different and we’re learning from them.”
Boaster wants to enjoy the moment
As the most carefree player in the press conference, Fnatic’s Boaster didn’t seem to be phased by the pressure. “We’ve come this far and I think it’s a matter of just enjoying the whole moment. It doesn’t matter, win or lose. We’re at Riot’s first-ever international event, and we’re here to enjoy it.”
The 25-year-old former CS:GO pro is focused on enjoying the moment. “We’re here to have fun. We get to see all these other teams as well which is really cool. Whatever happens, happens. We deal with it. We’ve been practicing quite hard. Hopefully, we’re consistent. We’ll go on that stage and hopefully we’ll give it the best we can do.”