100 Thieves are among the few North American teams making the trip to Manchester, England, for the Red Bull Home Ground offseason event. In an interview leading up to the event, head coach Michael ‘Mikes’ Hockom said that the squad’s newest addition, Matthew ‘Cryocells’ Panganiban, has integrated into the lineup nicely.
Cryocells signed with 100 Thieves after a successful stint with XSET to replace the team’s previous sniper, William ‘Will’ Cheng. In 2022, the young player helped XSET reach its first international event, VCT Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen, and qualify for Valorant Champions 2022. At the world championship in Istanbul, Cryocells finished in the top five in terms of VLR rating and Kill/Death ratio.
The 100T head coach revealed that the new player has become an integral part of the team’s game plan and that he is a good fit, inside and outside the game.
“He meshes really well with the team, the culture fits in really well,” Mikes said in an interview with Dexerto. “We’re going for the same thing as with the previous lineup, where everyone gets along really well. It’s not like after practice everyone goes their separate ways. Everyone gets along.”
Mikes also highlighted Cryocells’ talent for the game and ability to read the opponent and the round, adding that the recruit is one of the most talented Operator players in the world.
That praise shouldn’t be that surprising, considering the team chose to go with the teenager over the likes of Valorant superstar Jaccob ‘yay’ Whiteaker.
Mikes also talked about the other new addition to 100T, assistant coach James ‘JamezIRL’ Macaulay, and what he brings to the table.
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“We were looking for someone that was kind of creative because I don’t find myself very creative overall when it comes to drawing up strategies or ideas,” Mikes said. “I do a lot more of the fundamental, round-to-round basic kind of stuff, while he brings lots of different ideas every day on how to give different looks and strategies or ideas you wouldn’t see anywhere else.”
Red Bull Home Ground expectations for 100T and Cryocells
The offseason tournament has no standings on the Valorant Champions Tour or the wider circuit, so teams can come into the event with less pressure. For 100T, the goal is to win the trophy but also to try out new things ahead of the VCT 2023 Kickoff Tournament.
Mikes said that the squad is hoping to test new compositions and their team philosophy. He specifically pointed towards playing a looser style and having more calls made on the fly by the squad’s IGL, Brenden ‘stellar’ McGrath.
“We’re trying to set up our team so they get more comfortable doing that, always having hard set strats for the round, just so people get more comfortable with what they see around the map and they have a better idea of what the other team is doing constantly. So it’s kind of an angle that we’re trying to go for,” the head coach said.
100T and Cryocells will start Red Bull Home Ground competition on December 9. The squad is in Group B along with FUT Esports, Team Liquid and Team Heretics.