Luminosity Gaming started Valorant Champions Tour Stage 1 as almost a brand-new team. They managed to qualify for VCT Challengers and made a decent run, but in Stage 2 the team looks like a different beast with their new players from Stage 1 popping off and a chemistry that wasn’t there previously.
Leaving a trail of former hyped squads in their wake; Sentinels, Version1, FaZe Clan – Luminosity are one of North America’s hot teams and have the tools to make a deeper run this time around in VCT.
During Stage 1, their expectations were tempered, hoping to see what they could accomplish with such a new team against the best North America had to offer at the time.
Luminosity used to study their opponents before their matches in Challengers and counter-strategize around enemies extensively, Brandon Michael ‘bdog’ Sanders told Dexerto in an interview. But now, the team is more confident in themselves and has grown into their own as a group.
“We are more confident in playing our game plan, and not worrying about trying to counter other teams and possibly end up playing down to their level because we used to be really focused on what other teams did, but we kind of turned it around and more just focused on ourselves and just play our game,” bdog said.
— Nerd Street VALORANT (@nerdstreetval) May 27, 2022
This growth can be seen in their current performance in VCT Stage 2 Challengers as Luminosity took down Sentinels and FaZe Clan in the first two weeks of competition.
But according to Luminosity player Adam ‘mada’ Pampuch, their recent success in the VCT Challengers groups stage is not something they are popping champagne over just yet.
“We’re not getting too ahead of ourselves,” mada told Dexerto.
— VALORANT Champions Tour NA | #VCTNA (@valesports_na) May 13, 2022
The team knows this sentiment well after getting swept 2-0 by Evil Geniuses in their most recent VCT Challengers matchup. But their wins show a marked improvement over their performances just a few months ago.
At this same point in VCT Stage 1, just before Week 4, Luminosity sat at 2-1 in their group. The team was still setting the base for their strategies together and learning to get comfortable with each other.
Even with the new-look roster, mada and bdog were announced in January and Challengers began in February, Luminosity managed to make the playoffs in Stage 1 and place just outside the top four.
“XSET, The Guard, Cloud9 and OpTic, they’re truly a tier above and I think they are the pinnacle of [North America], at least they were in the first stage… So to come close to them and be the best of the rest, I guess you could say, I definitely think that exceeded our expectations,” bdog said about Stage 1.
— VALORANT Champions Tour NA | #VCTNA (@valesports_na) May 2, 2022
After their exit from Stage 1 in a loss to XSET, the team took a few days off and came back with renewed vigor. Since then, Luminosity have revamped their practice schedule, adding more scrims, and players putting in extra hours outside of practice to hone their skills.
For bdog, this extra effort outside of practice is spent watching how his contemporaries like Matthew ‘Cryocells’ Panganiban play the game and the angles he finds. This extra work has shown results in the server, not only with their two Challengers wins but also in their qualifying run into Challengers.
Their path into the NA VCT league saw them defeat Gen.G, Build By Gamers Academy, Sentinels and Version1.
The vibes within Luminosity during VCT
— Luminosity Gaming (@Luminosity) May 20, 2022
But not every Luminosity win in Stage 2 has been clean. The team has gone into overtime in two of their series in Challengers and has only had three 2-0 victories in VCT Stage 2, throughout the qualifiers and main event.
According to mada, the team is used to playing from behind and in high-pressure situations.
“We’ve always been in the deep end,” mada said.
But even if the team starts slowly, or certain players struggle to find their groove in-game, the players are focused on playing to win and lifting each other up.
“The vibes are really good on this team in matches, no one is ever out of the game… no one’s selfish enough to care about their own scoreline and be upset about their scoreline or the match scoreline or whatever,” mada said. “We’re always bouncing back.”
Bouncing back and going deep into overtime has started to feel exhausting, bdog told Dexerto, but he said the team has done better to cut down on close losses compared to their matches in Stage 1.
While both players said it would be nice to have a clean series in Challengers, they know they can close out a map even if it gets too close for comfort.
“We’re not worried too much about these close games, we know that we’re getting the job done,” bdog said.
Luminosity is aiming to be one of the top four teams in the region, surpassing their previous placement and possibly making an international tournament. It would be the first Masters appearance for the organization and each player on the roster.
But for now, Luminosity will have to wait and see where the chips fall and hope their extra practice pays off for an international appearance.
The team sits at 2-1 in their Challengers group at the moment and will face Cloud9 on June 5 for a chance to lock in a high seed for the playoff stage.