100 Thieves Stellar disappointed that VCT season’s already over: “It’s only July”

Declan Mclaughlin
100 Thieves Valorant coach and IGL

100 Thieves looked like they would have a promising season after qualifying for Valorant Champions 2022 and finishing top eight VCT LOCK//IN. However, their season ended in July without much to celebrate.

Fans and analysts had high expectations for 100 Thieves heading into the 2023 VCT season.

The team’s roster was overhauled in the middle of 2022 to center around young up-and-coming players that could be molded to the vision of the new general manager and the coach.

That squad, led by Brenden ‘stellar‘ McGrath, qualified for Valorant Champions 2022. Going into the 2023 season, 100 Thieves bolstered its roster with young sniping phenom Matthew ‘Cryocells’ Panganiban, who was picked over Jaccob ‘yay’ Whiteaker.

The lineup showed flashes of its potential at VCT LOCK//IN, where they made it to the quarter-finals before losing to the eventual champions, Fnatic.

But that potential never really materialized. 100 Thieves failed to make the VCT Americas playoffs after losing their final match to an MIBR squad fielding a coach, and were defeated by Sentinels in the first round of the league’s LCQ tournament.

After their LCQ loss, every 100 Thieves player tweeted an almost identical apology. Stellar, was flooded with positive messages from fans and family that hit him hard, the IGL told Dexerto in a post-match interview.

“I get kind of emotional, like, when my parents say they’re proud still and whatnot. Stuff was tough for me to read,” he said.

The loss itself wasn’t devastating in the moment, Stellar admitted, saying that he has endured tough losses before. But he added that a wave of emotions will certainly hit him in the ensuing days.

When asked about his thoughts on the season as a whole, 100 Thieves head coach Michael ‘Mikes’ Hockom took a long pause before echoing his players’ statement.

“I’m mostly sorry it sucked,” he said.

100 Thieves’ VCT season ends in July

For Mikes, the season was fast, almost too fast. He said it was sad to see the squad have a down season, and that there were many things that he should have noticed or seen as a coach sooner.

“I just know how talented these players are and it’s sad when you watch teams like this have rough seasons,” Mikes said. “I’m hoping for next year that the number of games will help out a lot because I think that’s something that you struggle with. Especially when you’re playing with younger and newer players, even myself, I’m pretty young… and you don’t really have a lot of matches to get acclimated.”

Mikes, who is only 24 years old, coached 100 Thieves by himself for most of the VCT Americas split. For a while, he was assisted by James ‘JamezIRL’ Macaulay, but the former Cloud9 coach left in April, just one week into the season.

For the LCQ tournament, Mikes had the help of OREsports coach Erik ‘vapen’ Sutton. It reinforced his view that modern day Valorant coaches need to have someone by their side with whom to share the workload.

“Never again,” he said about being a one-man coaching team. “I think solo coaching.. the game has gotten to a point, even a year and a half to two years ago, where there are too many things going on each week.

“Especially when you’re in a regular season format where you are constantly trying to change your map pool, you’re trying to change comps, you’re trying to look at what other teams are doing, you’re trying to anti-strat teams, focus on your own practice, focus on individual player development. I think there are just too many things for one person to do.”

With the season now done and dusted, all 100 Thieves can do is look ahead and start planning for next year.

“It’s tough not knowing what is going to occur in the next six months,” Stellar said. “It’s hard to really kind of wrap my head around that because the season is done. It’s only July.”

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