FNS not a fan of VCT Americas playoff format: “Speed running matches of this caliber is pretty bad for the players”

Declan Mclaughlin
FNS playing for NRG on the VCT Americas stage

NRG Esports have been thrust into three high-stakes matches in the span of three days in VCT Americas. In an interview with Dexerto, IGL Pujan ‘FNS’ Mehta admitted he is not a fan of the playoff format.

NRG Esports did not have a lot of time to prepare for the VCT Americas Playoff stage, according to FNS. As the third seed, NRG played their first match against the sixth-seeded Evil Geniuses five days after their last regular season match.

The NRG squad lost to Evil Geniuses 2-1 in the playoff upper bracket and were sent down to the accelerated lower bracket. Two days later, they beat FURIA 2-0. Now, just 24 hours removed from that match, they find themselves going up against Cloud9, with spots at VCT Masters Tokyo and Valorant Champions on the line.

FNS, who has been outspoken about his distaste for the playoff format and other tournament decisions, told Dexerto he still isn’t a fan of playing so many matches in quick succession.

“I think speed-running matches of this caliber is pretty bad for the players,” FNS said. “It might be okay for the viewers and stuff like that, maybe it helps with the schedule for them. But it definitely isn’t good for the players because it doesn’t allow us to be at our best. It doesn’t allow us to do the most amount of studying we can do. It’s just a straight-up tournament format right into playoffs.”

NRG and FNS will play Cloud9 in VCT Americas playoff next

NRG is a preparation-heavy squad, known for anti-stratting their opponents along with changing how they play to stay ahead of the meta.

With the accelerated playoff format, a change from the regular season, where teams get a full week between matches, there is little time to prepare for a new opponent.

“That’s definitely added to the stress overall, it’s just you never really have a break to kind of concentrate and reinvent yourself, rebuild, come up with new looks. Because essentially, you’re just kind of going in with one day of prep max,” FNS said.

For NRG’s match against FURIA Esports, the team decided to switch up its composition on Haven, with FNS put on Viper. The IGL said he only had one good practice on the Agent before the match as he had never played her on Haven before.

FNS also revealed that he and his head coach got about seven and a half hours of sleep combined the night before the match.

NRG’s next match-up in the tournament is against Cloud9. The winner of the match will move on to Saturday’s lower bracket final, against the loser of LOUD vs Evil Geniuses. If NRG manage to reach Sunday’s grand final, they will have played five matches in just six days.

“I just don’t see how all of this has to finish in a week,” FNS said.