After making the transition from CS:GO to Valorant, we spoke with Riley ‘Ohai’ Nguyen and discussed everything from life as a professional gamer to building Complexity’s next juggernaut.
With Riot Games pledging to really hone in on competitive integrity, Ohai — like many others — jumped ship over to Valorant, after seeing the potential it has to flourish as a competitive first-person shooter.
After competing at the highest level in both Counter-Strike and Apex Legends, Ohai has acquired a plethora of experience at just 22 years old. Now, with all eyes watching to see if Valorant can cut the mustard as an esport, the youngster has joined Complexity in hopes of becoming one of North America’s best teams.
Ohai typically mains Jett, which fits perfectly into his gung-ho playstyle that taps into his multi-game background. Dexerto spoke with Riley following his big reveal with Complexity, and discussed everything from the Valorant meta to advice he’d give to aspiring pros.
Valorant as a tier-one esport
What would you say is the biggest advantage CS:GO players have in Valorant?
“I wouldn’t say veteran CS:GO players are leagues ahead of everyone else right now, but I do believe that they have a solid head-start, which is why you see them dominating a majority of the professional Valorant scene. Counter-Strike is the ideal playground to learn basic 5v5 tactical shooter fundamentals — such as when to value your life, how to play around your team and the importance of utility.
“This foundation provides a fun way to play Valorant, since every Agent’s abilities can enable complex and interesting tactics on top of those already established fundamentals. As time passes, we’ll start to see more players who originated outside of Counter-Strike start to shine bright.”
Valorant has the potential to become a tier one esport... What do you think it needs to get there?
“Mainly time. Valorant has great potential as a tier one esport with its overall aesthetic, design quality, and accessible, fast-paced gameplay. If Riot continues to cater to both casual and competitive communities as they have been, then the scene will naturally grow into the juggernaut that it’s expected to be.”
What are your biggest concerns with Valorant as of right now?
“I’m interested to see how the competitive meta shapes up and how team compositions will evolve over time. As new Agents are released and old Agents are tuned, I look forward to teams having a lot of choice in deciding which Agents they’d like to run.
“In fact, it already appears that Riot intends on implementing balance changes frequently to provide players with more options for what their team could look like. Hopefully the release of new Agents will introduce new, unexpected ways to play the game that weren’t feasible before.”
Being a pro in Valorant
What's the Agent meta so far in professional Valorant? If you had an ideal tier list for each map, what would it look like?
“I think the most useful Agents, in no particular order, are Omen, Brimstone, and Cypher. Outside of these guys, there’s a bit of wiggle room depending on your team’s playstyle and how you approach the game.
“Right now there seems to be a meta shift where teams are slowly implementing Jett for their OPer, getting rid of Sova and Sage on some maps, and putting Phoenix on others. Every team seems to be approaching the game in a unique way, but here’s my ideal team composition for every map:
- Bind — Sova / Brimstone / Jett / Sage / Cypher.
- Split — Cypher / Omen / Jett / Sage / Raze.
- Haven — Cypher / Omen / Phoenix / Jett / Sage.
- Ascent — Cypher / Omen / Brimstone / Sova / Phoenix.
“These compositions have more than enough room to sub in Agents like Breach and Raze on some maps, and the flexibility to put Sova on every map depending on your team’s playstyle.”
What does a typical 'day in the life' of practice look like for a pro Valorant player?
“Now that we’re competing under the Complexity banner, my days typically start out with a stream until we begin our scheduled scrims. We usually spend a bit of time before and after practice reviewing and discussing what worked well for us and what we need to work on the following day. We try to be as productive as possible in the time that we have together as a team.”
Three pieces of advice for upcoming players looking to break through?
- “The best piece of advice ever given to me was to find the one thing you enjoy the most in the game, and never stop doing it. Learn and master that one skill until you think it’s time to move on — and always have an open mind!
- “Stay humble and don’t let the opinions of others affect you. You’re capable of greater heights than you know.
- “Make as many friends as possible. You never know where your breakthrough opportunity is hiding, and everyone should look at Valorant as a clean slate to start fresh.”
Building Complexity’s Juggernaut 2.0?
Why Complexity and what's the vision with Valorant moving forward?
“Complexity Gaming is committed to its players and works to equip us with the tools and resources that we need to succeed. The organization wants to help all of its players and teams to grow and develop both in-game and out-of-game.
“Not only do I have access to a vast network of support staff from team managers to mental performance experts, but also can use the top-notch training facility at The GameStop Performance Center to help me improve and refine my cognitive and physical skills. With this dedication to player well-being and emphasis on performance, we’re aiming to train hard to become one of the top Valorant teams.”
Have you spoken to Jason Lake? Are you guys going to be his Valorant juggernaut?
“I haven’t had a chance to speak to Jason Lake personally, but that’s my hope. From the Cognitive Lab with cutting-edge cognitive training to advanced training rooms that mimic LAN competition, Complexity has a lot of resources available to us that we can leverage to boost our in-game performance and climb the ranks.”
After taking the time to talk with Riley, its clear to see that he and his Complexity teammates have one thing in mind: to become one of Valorant's most well-rounded teams. Will Ohai and co. cement their legacy as one of North America's top squads? Only time will tell.