Velocity Gaming are undoubtedly the best Valorant squad in the South Asian region. Having won multiple events and titles, the team recently won the TEC Challenger Series #2 making them two-time champions. While their era of dominance continues, names like GE and Noble are slowly but surely beginning to close the gap. We speak to one of VLT's star players, Antidote to get his take on all things Valorant ...
Congratulations on the win. Was the second win more difficult than the first one?
Thank you so much Shounak. It was a difficult win because we were having some performance issues and to top that the opponents were much better prepared than last time. You could see that we had some off games and even lost a series against GE.
When you say that other teams are getting better, what does that mean?
Since mostly everyone comes from a Counter-Strike background, the aim is always there. So when I say teams are getting better what I mean is that their strats, execution and understanding is improving a lot. I would also like to say that my team didn’t have a lot of time to practise as we were playing a lot tournaments. As a result we kind of stagnated and became easier to read. So now we have decided to skip a couple of tournaments and work on ourselves and hopefully reinvent our strats and our approach.
On the final day of the TEC Challenger Series #2 you had to play two long series stretching up to 8 games. Was this tiring and exhausting for you and the team?
I don’t think it was tiring necessarily. Since we call ourselves athletes, we prepare ourselves specifically for these types of scenarios where we have to play 8 or 9 maps a day. And you could see on the last map as well we were able to keep our composure and make calculated plays so yea, I won’t really say it was tiring in any sense.
You mentioned the last map and it does stand out as the series had been relatively close up until then. However, on the final map you guys simply blew GE out of the server. What happened?
I think we were playing the final map a bit differently than the other games. We were more proactive than any of the previous maps and that caught GE off-guard. We were also able to use the momentum well and deny them any opportunity. That’s why the last map was quite one-sided in our favor.
So what were some of the big learnings from the Challenger Series #2, especially considering you guys had some difficulties?
Personally, my one major takeaway was that sometimes things don’t go your way and everything seems to be stacked against you. You can’t back down and give up hope in these situations. You have to maintain that never give up attitude.
When you talk about setbacks, there was a patch that dropped recently that saw nerfs to both Jett and the Operator. How did that affect you and your team?
Yea obviously, that was not a good update for me. Even in the matches you can see I didn’t get my hand on the Operator in many of the rounds. Because of the increase in price, it’s so hard to maintain the economy and be able to buy an Operator. So changes like winning the pistol and continuing the second round with a Ghost is something we figured out a bit late. Nonetheless, the Operator was a crucial part of our strategies and it will be a sort of a loss for us.
In terms of map picks, Haven has been a standout map for Velocity. Especially the way you guys play Sova on it has really helped to unlock its true potential. Thoughts?
Yea Haven is a strong map for us and me specially. It allows me to float a lot with the Operator on Defense and allows me more opportunities to find picks. Of course, Ace’s Sova is just so good and I can’t imagine a single player on the map who can get the job done like him.
Since you have had a pretty long career in Counter-Strike and are now switching over to Valorant, what are some of the mistakes you want to avoid?
I don’t think I have too many regrets about my time in Counter-Strike but if I had to pick one thing I think I want to be careful about how I pick my teams. So before I join any teams now or in the future, I want to take my time and think things through first.
Nowadays players are making a more conscious effort to work on streaming, their personal brands, social media and connecting with fans. Is this something that you are focusing on or is performance the only thing for you?
I think both things are equally important and I really enjoy connecting with my fans and well wishers. But yea building a personal brand will always be super useful. Performance is of course the key as if you are the best fans will be supporting you, but it's also important to connect with the fans and build your community simultaneously.
What is something you enjoy about The Esports Club tournaments?
TEC are pretty much the best tournament organizers in Valorant in the region. I’ll be honest, they have the best seeding system across the board. The double elimination format is also nice as it makes things more competitive. Additionally the scheduling is also proper and there are breaks in between matchdays, which is really helpful. And of course, the management team is really nice and friendly and they have a lot of experience in how to handle things, which makes everything easier.
What are your thoughts on GE and Noble and how they have been performing?
I think both teams are improving a lot day by day. I won’t be surprised if either of them are able to take a tournament of us sometime in the future but of course we’ll also be working hard to keep our unbeaten streak.
And what are your thoughts on the meta across the world?
I think the meta is pretty much same across the world. WE play with other Asian squads on a regular basis so it’s not like we will be caught off guard. The one thing is that in North America, teams give a lot more respect to their opponents than teams do in Asia.
What’s in store for the VLT players in the coming months?
Very soon, we are going to go to the bootcamp in Hyderabad and we’ll put our full focus on the PvP Regional.
Thanks for your time Anti! Do you have any parting words?
Yea I would like to thank all our fans who have supported me or us as a team. Keep supporting us and we will hopefully continue to do you proud.