A Brush With Destiny: Medal Esports Journey to VCL 2023 South Asia Split 1


AFK Gaming

A Brush With Destiny: Medal Esports' Journey to VCL 2023 South Asia Split 1

Do you think fortune favors the brave? It surely does for Medal Esports!

Aditya Singh Rawat
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The exclusive Valorant event for the South Asian region, Valorant Challengers League 2023: South Asia, was welcomed with a lot of enthusiasm following its announcement in February 2023. Unfortunately, it ran into a lot of operational problems that upset the community.

As a result of several unforeseen issues, the organizers had eleventh-hour adjustments, including revising the rules to permit the top three open qualifier teams to participate in the main competition, rather than only the winners. This turned out to be a stroke of luck for Medal Esports who had ultimately failed to win the open qualifier, after a hard-fought loss in the Grand Finals.

AFK Gaming recently caught up with Medal Esports to discuss the high-stake grand final loss, the emotions they went through post-qualification, preparations for the main league, and the ideology behind operating an extended seven-player lineup.

Hard work with a stroke of luck: Medal Esports qualifies for VCL 2023 South Asia Split 1

The complete lineup of Medal Esports was announced on the day of the open qualifiers, 26th February 2023, comprising four Indian players and two overseas talents from the Philippines, with a single aim of qualifying for the main event - VCL 2023: South Asia Split 1.

Several adjustments were made within the team like Kakarot switching his role from initiator to controller while also calling the shots in English for the first time ever, whereas Jeee went from being a controller main to playing initiator agents.

Despite these changes, Medal Esports enjoyed a near-flawless run to reach the grand finals, where they squared up against the Anaadi Army (now Aster Army) lineup. The best-of-five series went down to the wire, exceeding the expectations of most viewers.

Fox knows that a BO5 decider is quite different from a regular BO3 match, “It’s a test of your endurance, how fewer mistakes you can do in the game, and how well you can follow your game plan in later maps. During the series, we simply tried to not overthink situations and play our game. Even though it was a grand final, we tried to play it as a normal game.”

However, they could not exactly follow through with his mantra despite gaining a 2-1 series advantage by the end of the third game. Breaking down the situation, Ezzy explains that having won the most intense map of the series, Icebox, they relaxed thinking that they had it in the bag.

There was fatigue as we started playing the fourth map, Ascent. After a 5-7 switch, we were not communicating properly as we could have converted more rounds in our favor. We were not playing Ascent the way we had practiced during our scrims and Split was our least-played map. I think we were kind of just lost and exhausted while playing Split.
Rishabh "Ezzy" Gupta

Adding to this, Jeee shares that the language-barrier and a lack of chemistry also had a major impact on their performance, “We have to improve our in-game communication. Hopefully, we all get to bootcamp as early as possible and get to work. The earlier we know each other’s tendencies, the faster we will be able to improve our game.”

Aster Army was able to successfully mount a difficult comeback, confirming a berth in the main league. It was a hard blow for Medal Esports who thought this was the end of their journey in VCL 2023: South Asia Split 1, but what is destined can not be taken away.

NODWIN Gaming, organizers of this league made a late adjustment to the qualification rules, granting the top three open qualifier teams a chance to compete in the main league, automatically granting Medal Esports a spot alongside Aster Army and MLT Esports.

Medal Esports at VCL 2023 South Asia

It was an emotional roller coaster for the whole team says Kakarot, the mood in the camp going from absolute rock bottom to astronomical elation in a matter of 48 hours, “After the loss, we all felt sad and down because we knew it was our only chance to play in the league. All of us had a hard time sleeping. Then the day after, Medal Esports told us that we had qualified, and instantly all sadness and worry was replaced by joy and excitement.”

The happiness that surged through the entire team was boundless and motivated them to improve themselves for the main competition. Immediately, the organization brought in a new head coach, Hacker, to strengthen its strategies and tie up loose ends.

He began working in tandem with the captain, Kakarot, devising new tactics for the team and rectifying mistakes that were being committed during scrims leading up to the event.

“We have changed how we play some maps. We are still trying to figure out the perfect combination of agents on some maps, but most have been prepared. Overall we are having a lot of fun because the ideas and inputs of players during the game have been amazing. We are also learning and adapting to the game way better. There are still a lot of theories to test out, but we are trying to test the best of them and adapt accordingly,” explained Hacker, talking about modifications in practice methods now that the team had moved on from the open qualifier.

The changes seem to be working with Medal Esports already having registered a 2-1 win against Aster Army in its first match of the league. Nothing better than a revenge victory to boost your confidence while going against some of the best teams from the region.

According to Godvexy, the inclusion of a new coach on the team will result in a performance that surpasses expectations, “A lot of new stuff has been added to our gameplay which is going to give us an advantage over a lot of teams in the league and I would like to warn our competitors not to take us lightly.”

Medal Esports seven-player Valorant team: One roster, two aims

Medal Esports had stepped into the open qualifier with a standard six-player setup, the main playing five with a substitute player. Surprisingly, the organization signed an extra player alongside their head coach, DcRulz, who has already played for the team against Aster Army in its opening match of the league stage.

“Our practice is going pretty well and we are putting in everything we can before the event as the team is still quite new,” says the 18-year-old, who was actually part of the team even before his short stint with the ROG Academy.

According to Hacker, the young player is not just a strong duelist but a jack of all trades who has been brought into the side to provide explosiveness in certain games while also allowing them to explore a variety of compositions.

Medal Esports seems to be running a two-in-one Valorant team, with an aim to win the league while also nurturing young talents at the same time. According to the management, the organization believes in developing young players with help from prior experienced individuals.

Our coach Hacker is a veteran in the Indian FPS scene and we have potential young talents like Tricky and DcRulz on the team. Not only are these players among the best upcoming players in India, but we also care about their academics and other commitments. This is why we came up with this seven-player roster, in order to fill for any upcoming contingencies in the future.
Statement from Medal Esports

The team has managed to showcase a good performance till now at the VCL 2023 South Asia Split 1. The team got its revenge against Aster Army by winning the first match without its international duo and is currently standing third overall as part of Group B.

Medal Esports will be next seen in action on 29th March at 19:00 IST, ready to take on the table topper Orangutan who has shown top form till now in the league. It will be interesting to see how far they are able to go in this tournament and the way they utilize their ambitious seven-player setup.

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Aditya is the in-house CS:GO writer at AFK Gaming. While his understanding of the esports space is not restricted by geographical borders, his current focus lies in the Asian region. Understands and follows almost all major esport titles.

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