Enigma Gaming’s Antidote Reflects on the State of Indian Valorant
The Skyesports Champions Series (SCS) which was held in Chennai, India was an electrifying LAN tournament where teams from South Asia competed for two spots at the upcoming Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) 2022 Stage 2 APAC [Asia Pacific] Challengers.
Enigma Gaming (EG) was the first team to qualify for the VCT 2022 Stage 2 APAC Challengers, but a 2-3 defeat at the hands of Global Esports in the grand finals of the SCS pushed the team to the play-ins of the APAC tournament.
The team, which had the longest undefeated streak at the Chennai LAN, is seemingly confident in making it to the Group Stage of the VCT 2022 Stage 2 APAC Challenger where it will be kicking off its journey against Made In Thailand on 10th June.
Enigma Gaming’s Valorant squad has brought the organization into the limelight on multiple occasions and became the talk of the town when it exceeded expectations in VCC 2022 Qualifiers 1. It is a team that has been pitted against the likes of Global Esports (GE) and Velocity Gaming (VLT) time and again and has proved to be one of the top teams in the country’s Valorant scene currently.
AFK Gaming had the opportunity to interact with Enigma Gaming’s In-Game Leader (IGL) Sabyasachi “Antidote” Bose on 4th June before EG’s last series against Global Esports.
Antidote spoke about the experience of playing in LAN tournaments, the meta that can be expected going into the APAC Challengers event and Enigma Gaming’s biggest strength.
A rematch of the giants at the SCS finals
Before the big finals, Antidote recollected why the team lost against Global Esports in the Skyesports Souvenir Mumbai 2022 event. He said, “Last time the final was very bad and we didn’t play to our potential. Not to take away anything from Global. This time it is different. Last team, two of our players were playing their first LAN and the nerves got to them. But now they are settled in and they know the atmosphere. I think that will be the difference.”
Antidote explained that playing in a LAN setting was completely different from playing from a bootcamp setup and could trip up inexperienced players. “When you play from the bootcamp, it is all about comfort, and in LAN, it is a different setup and atmosphere. There are fans cheering for you and there are some booing against you and these are things you need to control and neglect while playing the game. I also get nervous but when I am in-game, then it is just a matter of skill,” he said.
Though the team lost the SCS finals and was denied a direct seeding into the Group Stage of the VCT 2022 Stage 2 APAC Challengers, Enigma Gaming showed great promise and resolve. It fought tooth and nail against the Global Esports squad on every single map in the best-of-five (BO5) series on 5th June.
In the first game of the series, Enigma Gaming was trailing behind its opponents with a score of 12-5 but mounted an electrifying comeback on Ascent. It pushed GE into Over Time and eventually won the first map.
Following this, Global Esports managed to win Game 2 on Spilt and Game 4 on Fracture. With both teams equaled with a score of 2-2, it all boiled down to one last map - Bind, which was conquered by Global Esports.
Enigma Gaming’s run at the SCS Chennai LAN
The group stage for the SCS 2022 took place between 19th May and 24th May where the top twelve teams from South Asia competed for slots in the playoffs. Enigma Gaming was one of the six teams that had qualified for Phase 3 of the tournament. Notably, in the Group Stage, Enigma Gaming came out on top of its group without dropping a single series. At the end of the groups, it had a score of 5-0 after defeating teams like Global Esports, Revenant Esports, Team Valor, prime 5, and Khumbu Esports.
As a result, Enigma Gaming was directly seeded into the upper bracket semifinals of the Chennai LAN for topping their respective groups in Phase 2.
In Phase 3, Enigma Gaming and Velocity Gaming (VLT) faced each other in a classic rivalry series in the Upper Bracket semifinals. The series was a complete stomp where EG won 2-0 and pushed VLT to the lower bracket.
Antidote called this his favorite series of the tournament. “The series against Velocity Gaming was my favorite series. For me, playing against Velocity is absolutely fun because I have been its former player. Playing against my own brothers, it’s a friendly banter type of thing,” he said.
Following this, Enigma moved upwards to the Upper Bracket Finals against Orangutan. Despite dropping a game on Icebox in the series, Enigma Gaming came back strong, defeated Orangutan, and booked a place in the SCS finals. Off the back of the Upper Bracket Finals victory, Enigma Gaming also became the first South Asian team to qualify for the Stage 2 APAC Challengers.
Orangutan, a surprise factor in the Indian Valorant scene
Orangutan is a newly formed Valorant squad that has players from India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and South Korea. Antidote also pointed out the difficulties of playing against a newly-formed roster like Orangutan, a team that includes talent from across APAC. “For me, playing against Orangutan was very difficult because they are a very new team, and [we] cannot judge or read anything because they have not played many official games. So it was an on-the-fly thing,” he stated.
Antidote believed that Global Esports was also surprised by Orangutan in the Skyesports Champions Series. He said, “I believe Global Esports is a team that likes to read its opponents beforehand and do its homework and come into the game. So the first game they faced against Orangutan, Global was surprised, I feel like. But then again, when they faced each other in the decider finals, Global took Orangutan down.”
Enigma Gaming’s idea of a six-man roster
Enigma Gaming was one of the very few Valorant teams that boasted a six-man roster which set them apart from the rest of the competition. But one of the players of the team, Shakir "hikkA" Razak, stepped down from the active roster and transitioned as a full-time streamer for the organization. Now, the Enigma Gaming roster has a stellar lineup with Antidote leading the team members: Akram “rawfiul” Virani, Karan “Excali” Mhaswadkar, Rishi “RvK” Vijayakumar, and Tejas “Rexy” Kotian.
Currently, the team does not have a sixth man under its banner and this begged the question of whether Enigma Gaming has changed its mindset of having an extra member alongside the starting roster. Antidote firmly stated that the organization has not changed its ideology in this regard and said, “Not really because we already have a sixth. I cannot reveal the name because the announcement is still left. So we are working with a sixth guy and the mentality is the same.”
According to Antidote, esports is just like another sport that requires teams to strengthen their squads in the form of bench strength.
State of Indian Valorant teams and meta expectations
While talking about how Enigma Gaming ranks up against its top competitors like Global Esports and Velocity Gaming Antidote believed that the members of Enigma Gaming were on the same level as other teams. “Everyone is in the same league. It’s about how you play as a team. I don’t think there’s too much of a skill gap or anything. It’s just about how you synchronize and play as a team.”
He also opined that Global Esports, Velocity Gaming, and Orangutan were the top three teams in the Indian Valorant scene, excluding Enigma Gaming. However, he added that the entire squad of Revenant Esports was the one to look out for in the coming tournaments. Antidote said, “You should look out for the entire squad of Revenant Esports. Not just one player. This was their first big LAN but I think they are the next big thing in India.”
Valorant is a game that is heavily dependent on team play and synergy between the agents chosen on a given map. It is also meta dominant and every region seems to have its own priority pick. Discussing this further, Antidote believed that the Asian region has multiple strategies including double duelists, and double initiators, and pointed out how some teams side with two sentinels, as well. “Even double controllers - you can see Brimstone and Viper on Bind. So, it’s just how comfortable a team feels. I am a big fan of fast, flashy gameplay. So for me, I’ll go with double duelists, if needed.”
The IGL’s favorite agent, which he no longer pilots that much, happens to be Jett. Notably, Antidote stated that Jett’s nerfs were not that impactful since it just means that Jett players have to be smart about the usage of their dashes. Apart from Jett, he said he enjoys playing Omen and Astra.
Addition of yb and Excali to the Enigma Gaming roster
Enigma Gaming had rounded off its roster with a top-tier coach in Lukas "yb" Gröning. Antidote turned to yb, who has a decorated career in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO), spanning a decade. Additionally, the two had already worked together during their times in OpTic India and Signify CS:GO rosters. Antidote said, “yb was my IGL before and as you know, I just switched to the IGL role a few months back. So I needed someone to mentor me and yb was retiring from Counter-Strike. I got the opportunity and I brought him back to India.”
Enigma Gaming roped in marquee fragger Excali as its sixth member just weeks before the Valorant Conquerors Championship (VCC) event in February. Antidote acknowledged how talented and mechanically gifted Excali was as a player and pointed out that the results shown by the team have been incredible after he joined.
Antidote oozed confidence and stated that Enigma Gaming was one of the teams with the best mental game among all others. “It is all about mentality because you know all the teams present [here] are capable of beating each other any day. They are all good. It’s about the mentality and how you go there and how you present yourself and perform in-game. We’re the strongest mental-side among all others.”
According to the 25-year-old player, Enigma Gaming stands apart from its competition thanks to its strong mentality and its firepower. Antidote stated that the team was excited to take on the competition at the Stage 2 APAC Challengers tournament and that they are looking forward to going head-to-head against teams like Paper Rex and Team Secret.
As a sign-off note, Antidote thanked Enigma Gaming’s fans on behalf of his teammates. “Thank you so much for supporting us and you guys have been amazing throughout the journey. We’ve built a small Enigma Gaming family from scratch. Keep supporting us!”
The Play-ins of the VCT 2022 APAC Stage 2 Challengers kicks off on 9th June and the top two teams from the two groups will advance to the Group Stage. Enigma Gaming will look to get back to its winning ways and meet its Indian counterpart, Global Esports, in the next stage of the tournament and qualify for the VCT Masters Stage 2 event.