Paper Rex Benkai: "We Are Just Hoping to Set a Better Example for APAC Teams"
In July, Paper Rex (PRX) rewrote the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) history by becoming the first-ever Asia Pacific (APAC) team to make it to the finals of an international Valorant Masters event. VCT Masters has always seen the likes of North American (NA) or Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) teams make it to the grand final and Paper Rex from APAC broke the streak by challenging FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) at Valorant Masters Copenhagen. The team and its in-game leader (IGL), Benedict “Benkai” Tan, have managed to accrue a loyal fanbase for themselves in Paper boys and Paper girls. Paper Rex is now all set to face tough competition from the rest of the world at Valorant Champions 2022, which kicks off today, 31st August.
Ahead of the Valorant Champions 2022, AFK Gaming asked Benkai about his thoughts on the expectations for Paper Rex at the tournament and if the team felt any pressure at all coming from APAC at the pre-event press meet in Istanbul, Turkey.
Benkai says Paper Rex has no expectations for Champions
Benkai stated that he’s heard people point out how Paper Rex placed first and second back-to-back at VCT 2022: APAC Stage 2 Challengers and VCT 2022: Stage 2 Masters - Copenhagen, respectively, and how there’s a narrative of how the team will clinch the Valorant Champions trophy next. He added, “I don’t think that’s the case. We’re still not expecting to win the entire tournament. If we do, that’s great and if we don’t, then we’re okay with that.”
Setting the standard for APAC in Valorant esports
Following this, Benkai also spoke about the APAC region in Valorant esports. “We are just hoping to set a better example for the APAC teams moving forward and I just hope that APAC as a region can perform as well as we did in the last few events.”
Benkai also stated that Paper Rex is approaching Valorant Champions with the same mentality – not expecting to win it all. “We’re just going to see how far that mentality is going to take us because the last time we had that mentality, it took us to the grand finals.”
Answering another question about representing South East Asia and giving recognition to Indonesian and Singaporean players, Benkai touched upon the stigma around esports as a profession in the region. He added that the results Paper Rex has shown have done the talking. “It is definitely an honor to bring the APAC region to the front stage for the first time and just to show everyone else that it is possible and achievable in our region. Having this as a profession is a bit looked down upon, especially where I come from - Singapore, so getting those results meant that I was showing people back home that what I am doing is possible.”
Paper Rex’s show of dominance at Masters Copenhagen
At VCT Stage 2: Masters Copenhagen, Paper Rex had a calm and collected Upper Bracket run and only faltered in the grand finals against FPX in an extremely close series. Notably, Paper Rex player Wang “Jinggg” Jing Jie had the highest Average Combat Score (ACS) in the tournament with an .
The team also had :
Haven - 2 wins
Ascent - 2 wins
Icebox - 1 win
Paper Rex also had moderate success on Fracture with 67% (2W-1L).
Currently, Paper Rex is rated 2172 with a win-loss record of 95-23 and ranked number one in APAC, according to .
The other two APAC teams at Valorant Champions are XERXIA and Boom Esports and together, the three teams will look to paint APAC as a strong contender alongside NA and EMEA.
With the Valorant Champions 2022 starting on 31st August, Paper Rex will be taking on EDward Gaming (EDG) from China, at 4 pm CET. Click here to read more about Valorant Champions 2022 and to follow the scores and updates from the tournament.