How Gen.G overcame their demons & took home VCT Pacific’s first title

Declan Mclaughlin

Gen.G became the first VCT Pacific and South Korean team to lift a major Valorant trophy at VCT Masters Shanghai, fighting through demons both on the server and from their past.

The South Korean team is a collection of mostly FPS veterans from the region, most of whom have a history in Counter-Strike or Overwatch. The team’s coach, Kang ‘solo’ Keun-chul, is an FPS legend and was part of the first Korean squad to make a deep run at a Valorant Masters event

Every Gen.G member, from solo to the rookie Kim ‘Karon’ Won-tae, was hungry to show they belonged on a Grand Final stage before the 2024 season even began.

Kim ‘t3xture’ Na-ra and Byeon ‘Munchkin’ Sang-beom sought redemption after their 2023 seasons. t3xture failed to qualify for an international event with Global Esports, and Munchkin couldn’t seem to do anything with T1 at the highest level of play.

Kim ‘Lakia’ Jong-min and solo were both coming off a season toiling away in Challengers Korea, a far cry from their heights in 2021. Kim ‘Meteor’ Tae-o, the one constant in the squad from the previous year, had the skills to compete at the highest level but lacked any major hardware to prove his talent.

And Karon, who hadn’t even played on a LAN stage before January 2024, wanted to prove he was more than just a ranked demon.

“When I first joined this Korean roster, we were just a group of people desperate for a chance to prove ourselves, and that made us push more and work really hard. As we said, we don’t slack off,” Gen.G’s strategic coach Kim ‘HSK’ Hae-seong said.

Crumbling in Madrid

Gen.G quickly burst onto the international stage after unexpectedly plowing through the VCT Pacific Kickoff tournament, cleanly beating favorites Paper Rex and DRX to claim the first seed for Masters Madrid.

Madrid had a small number of teams but was full of fan-favorite squads like Karmine Corp, EDward Gaming, and Sentinels.

Despite the outside noise of the European crowd, Gen.G continued to grind away, and their efforts paid off with a Grand Finals appearance.

However, their harsh practice schedule didn’t prepare them for the creeping dread of repeated mistakes at the final hurdle.

“I think the series was more on us not having a strong mentality. We just had a lot of mistakes going on, and I guess we lost control of our mentality as these small mistakes started to amplify those problems,” solo said after losing to Sentinels 3-2 in Madrid.

The team was visibly dejected while shaking hands with the Sentinels after the loss; however, solo reminded them and fans in a press conference after the match that there was still more of the season to play.

“We’re going to take as much as we can from Madrid,” he said.

Heretics or Demons?

Gen.G returned to VCT Pacific and built off their Masters disappointment, placing first in their group and qualifying for Masters Shanghai after routing T1 in the playoffs 3-0. And at this event, no one was going to underestimate them.

The Korean squad easily made it through the Swiss Stage, but squads like G2 Esports, 100 Thieves, and Team Heretics started making waves for their flashy plays and surprise runs.

Team Heretics, in particular, were the Cinderella story of the event. The EMEA team was playing with a stand-in and had to put their Initiator player in the Duelist role to make the roster. While that might cause some teams to bottom out early, it only made them harder to beat. Mert ‘Wo0t’ Alkan took to playing Duelist like a fish to water, and by the time Heretics made the Grand Finals, he had racked up almost 400 kills.

Wo0t and the team’s other two young stars, former top Fortnite player Benjy ‘benjyfishy’ Fish and Turkish phenom Enes ‘RieNs’ Ecirli, looked like they couldn’t be stopped on their way to the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

It looked for a while like even Gen.G couldn’t stop them.

The team was down 2-1 going into the fourth map of the series in the final best-of-five of the tournament. Again, small mistakes were compounding during their games on Icebox and Ascent despite finding early leads.

However, Munchkin wouldn’t let the team forget what they had learned three months ago.

“After dropping Ascent, the map we were the most confident in, we tried to rally the troops and keep the confidence up because we didn’t want to repeat what happened in Madrid,” he said.

The team overcame their demons on the final two maps and didn’t let the Heretics get going. They stopped the European wonder kids from getting eight rounds in the last two games, as both t3xture and Meteor showcased the fruits of their labor over the past two years.

“No words can describe how I feel. That trophy right there, I’ve been chasing it forever,” t3xture said after lifting the Masters Shanghai trophy. “Why is it so tough? But in the end, it was worth it… I would like to thank my mom because I couldn’t see her for two years because I was too busy practicing and trying to get my hands on the trophy.”

Through sheer will and endless practice, Gen.G gave VCT Pacific its first Master trophy.

“No tears will be shed tonight, I will not cry today,” t3xture said.

Sign up to Dexerto for free and receive:
Fewer Ads|Dark Mode|Deals in Gaming, TV and Movies, and Tech