Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker holds his OpTic Gaming teammate Pujan “FNS” Mehta in extremely high regard. FNS is the best in-game leader in both Counter-Strike and Valorant, he said, having led his team to a triumphant Masters Reykjavik 2022 championship win.
“All the IGLs I’ve played with, they’re not really IGLs,” he said. “I feel like FNS is a true IGL, a true leader. The others are just shot-callers.”
IGLs are generally responsible for giving their team directions and keeping them focused on the strategies and executions that can make or break a team in a tournament setting.
However, according to yay, his captain goes above and beyond as OpTic’s leader.
Yay and FNS’ history as teammates in CS:GO and Valorant
The two first teamed up in CS:GO, playing for Complexity Gaming in 2018. They then joined forces again under the Orgless banner in 2020 with Matthew “Wardell” Yu, Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik, and Gage “Infinite” Green. With FNS as their IGL, Orgless qualified for Flashpoint Season 1 and finished 5th to 6th, earning the team US$35,000.
The veteran players would eventually both switch to Valorant, Riot Games’ latest competitive first-person shooter, in 2020 in search of better opportunities in a completely new esports scene.
Yay then teamed up with FNS again after Andbox’s VCT 2021 season ended in a loss to TSM in the VCT NA Stage 3 Challengers qualifier.
The two soon found immediate success, finishing as the runner-ups of 2021 VCT Stage 3 Masters Berlin behind Gambit Esports. The OpTic team would go on to win their first major tournament a year later at Masters Reykjavik 2022, sweeping Brazilian superteam LOUD in the grand final.
FNS has also garnered praise from his competitors throughout the years. Former TSM member and current NRG player James “hazed” Cobb has previously described him as the best IGL in North American history.
Even 100 Thieves’ coach Sean “sgares” Gares, also known for his skills as a leader in CS:GO, praised FNS’ methodical approach to Valorant.
“He has a phenomenal mind for the game,” said sgares. “If he sees a specific piece of utility on the map, whether it be a Brim Smoke, a Cypher Cam, or a Sova Dart, he knows exactly how to respond and move the pieces around the map, which is often very quick.”