Orangutan X First Step to APAC Domination: Handpicking an Elite Female Valorant Team
A dream start for the Indian organization to represent the region globally.
Early in the year, Riot Games announced its plans for the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) 2023: Game Changers circuit, a league exclusive to women and other marginalized genders within Valorant esports for providing them with opportunities and exposure.
Two organizations from India, Global Esports and Orangutan, stepped forward with their respective female rosters to compete in the Asia Pacific (APAC) leg of this league, VCT 2023: Game Changers APAC, committing themselves to the development of female Valorant players from the region.
From a pool of about 70 teams that participated in the first regional qualifier, VCT 2023: Game Changers APAC Open 1, it was Orangutan’s international female lineup that earned a lot of praise for its brilliant performance, hammering the team's presence as one of the top contenders by finishing as the runners-up.
AFK Gaming recently caught up with Neha “CaspeR” Sottany, who is the Controller expert for Orangutan X, discussing the team’s journey leading up to the first regional event, the experience of taking on some of the best female teams from the APAC region, and thoughts on their journey towards the VCT 2023: Game Changers Championship.
Orangutan X - Establishing an international female Valorant lineup and enjoying early success
Starting from the outset, Orangutan X came together in parts rather than all players being onboarded at the same time. The organization kept three players from its former lineup (Japips, Chloettw, and CaspeR) while adding two new faces (zini and capriciouS) in the buildup towards the VCT 2023: Game Changers APAC Open 1.
: CapriciouS was a part of Orangutan X during the Game Changers APAC Open 1 and was later replaced by Twirly as she decided to leave the organization.
Orangutan, an Indian organization, opted to sign four international players from the Southeast Asia (SEA) region for their female Valorant team. Additionally, they brought back CaspeR to their active roster, who had taken a break from professional play to focus on content creation in the previous year. While this was a tough decision for CaspeR, as she had to leave behind her old teammates from VLT Asteria, she desired to grow and challenge herself by playing with international players.
“It was initially difficult due to the language barrier, but over time we managed to overcome it and establish a good working relationship,” said CaspeR, settling in the squad as preparations started for the VCT 2023: Game Changers APAC Open 1.
The team, known as Orangutan X, prepared diligently for the VCT 2023: Game Changers APAC Open 1 qualifier, and their training schedule reflected their determination to prove themselves from the very beginning. According to CaspeR, the training started at midday and went on till about seven in the evening, a solid seven-hour session consisting of scrims, theorizing, discussions, and more. This was followed by individual training during which players focused on improving their aim and other skills.
The team demonstrated their skills during the first Game Changer APAC qualifier, securing five wins and only one loss in the open qualifiers. They finished second overall in the closed qualifiers, setting a positive tone for their journey.
“Despite having limited time to practice and incorporating two new players (zini and capriciouS), we managed to reach the finals. Each member of our team stepped up and performed to the best of their capabilities,” said CaspeR, reflecting on the team’s performance and appreciating the effort put in by each member.
CaspeR recognized the exceptional ability and skill of each team member, playing to their strengths which resulted in an impressive 75% match-win rate. Even though they faced setbacks against two teams, RRQ Kaguya and Team SMG, it did not affect their overall confidence and approach throughout the event.
She also expressed her gratitude towards their coach, Asad "GuNNeR" Azam, for his remarkable contribution to the team's success. She appreciated how he recognized the team not only as a collective unit but also as individuals. “He possesses a keen understanding of our strengths and weaknesses and provides guidance and support to help us excel both as a team and as individual players,” she added
Orangutan X faced tough competition during the playoffs of the VCT 2023: Game Changers APAC Open 1, playing against some of the region's best teams. While they finished as runners-up, their overall gameplay and hard stats suggested that they struggled more in the playoffs. CaspeR noted that the team's communication was a weakness due to the language barrier, which may have contributed to their performance.
Following the event, CapriciouS left the team for personal reasons, and Orangutan X quickly found a replacement in Twirly. Despite the roster change, the team has been practicing diligently for the upcoming VCT 2023: Game Changers APAC Open 2.
Despite the challenges we have faced, we have been diligently practicing on a daily basis to cultivate a strong sense of chemistry among ourselves. We have been putting in concerted efforts to build a cohesive and collaborative team dynamic. This has required consistent dedication and hard work, as we strive to develop a harmonious relationship with each other.Neha “CaspeR” Sottany - Valorant player for Orangutan X
Orangutan X has made it clear that they are concentrating solely on the upcoming Game Changers APAC Open 2 and not looking to participate in any other tournaments. CaspeR reiterated the team's common goal, which is to win the Game Changers APAC and represent India on the global stage. The team is staying away from all distractions and focusing on their preparations for the event.
During the VCT 2023: Game Changers APAC Open 1 playoffs, the matchup between Orangutan X and Global Esports Phoenix was one of the most highly anticipated ones of the tournament. The two Indian teams faced each other in the lower bracket quarterfinals, and the series was closely contested until the last map. However, Orangutan X emerged victorious in the end, thanks to their strong coordination and gameplay.
Reflecting on the performance of their opponents, CaspeR acknowledged that Global Esports Phoenix is a skilled team that possesses solid aim skills. However, she also noted that their coordination needs some work. Nevertheless, CaspeR expressed optimism that with continued practice and teamwork, Global Esports Phoenix can overcome this challenge and reach new heights of performance.
Both teams are now gearing up for the upcoming Game Changer APAC Open 2, which will take place from 1st to 11th June with a total prize pool of $10,000 USD. It is possible that Orangutan X and Global Esports Phoenix could face each other once again in the tournament, which would undoubtedly be an exciting encounter to witness.
The VCT 2023: Game Changers APAC league has a total of three qualifiers scheduled to take place, and with Orangutan X and CaspeR's impressive performance in the previous tournament, the team will be looking to maintain its form until the very end.