At VCT LOCK//IN, Boaster finally got the Valorant trophy he’d long been chasing

Declan Mclaughlin
Fnatic Boaster kissing Valorant trophy

Fnatic defeated LOUD 3-2 in dramatic fashion at VCT LOCK//IN. The win was a long time coming for team captain Jake ‘Boaster’ Howlett, one of Valorant’s first major personalities.

Even down 11-3, Fnatic’s IGL Boaster wasn’t too worried about the match. After completing a miraculous comeback on the final map in the VCT LOCK//IN grand final, stopping a reverse sweep by LOUD that seemed inevitable, Boaster told reporters that, when everything looked dire, he just took in the atmosphere, even as the crowd vociferously backed his team’s opponents.

“We were in the pause where we were talking and I just remember looking at the audience on the top row, and it was like red lights, and it was honestly like a movie,” Boaster said. “They were doing all their chants and stuff. I just remember thinking, ‘This is sick’. We might have been 11-3 down at that time. Even if we lose, I’m still really happy and really appreciative to be here in this situation.

“Then I said to the boys, ‘Right, boys, get me the pistol, and I’ll IGL us to victory.”

After winning the final map in overtime, Fnatic accepted the VCT LOCK//IN trophy. When Boaster’s time to speak finally came, he started to tear up.

Boaster shed some tears after winning VCT LOCK//IN

“The emotions were from just kind of remembering all my previous losses,” he said about the on-stage moment. “All of them kind of built up to today and with this roster and with my previous rosters as well and the idea of people that I love are watching, and then I just thought they might be proud. So then I started crying for some reason.”

Boaster took Fnatic to the grand final of Valorant’s first international event, VCT 2021 Stage 2 Masters Reykjavík, where his squad was denied the trophy by Sentinels. Since then, the roster has gone through multiple iterations in an attempt to return to the same heights. Only Boaster, Nikita ‘Derke’ Sirmitev and head coach Jacob ‘mini’ Harris remain from those early days.

After the win, Boaster was asked about his journey to pro Valorant stardom. The now-championship-winning player worked part-time while playing CS:GO before becoming a vlogger for EXCEL Esport’s League of Legends team and then transitioning to professional Valorant following the game’s release in 2020.

“I was 18 when I joined my first Counter-Strike team, and I was pretty serious. I told my mom, ‘Hey, mom, I’m going to be pro in the next year,'” he said. “I told them the next year and the next year and the next year, so I was working part-time jobs as a waiter, or for my uncle’s business… And then I completely stopped competing overall, I thought my pro career was over.

“But then Valorant came out. I was like, ‘I really don’t want to do these sorts of jobs. I want to play.’ Because I remember just watching the League of Legends pros and thinking I could do that better than them. Like, look at their mentality sometimes. They don’t appreciate what they’ve got.”

With this new crop of young guns, including a former Masters winner, Boaster was able to win his long-awaited trophy in the esport that has given him the chance to fulfill his dream of being a professional player. Regardless of how the rest of the year pans out, he can finally claim that he is a champion.