Ohai interview: Building Complexity's Valorant juggernaut - Dexerto
Valorant

Ohai interview: Building Complexity’s Valorant juggernaut

Published: 27/Jul/2020 18:06

by Andy Williams

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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.

Ohai competing in CS:GO.
David Patlut
Ohai is by no means new to the realm of first-person shooters.

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.”

Player holding knife in Valorant.
Riot Games
Valorant is gunning for the big dogs of the FPS space.

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?

  1. “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!
  2. “Stay humble and don’t let the opinions of others affect you. You’re capable of greater heights than you know.
  3. “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.”
Valorant Agent Phoenix.
Riot Games
Wise words: Ohai’s advice for upcoming Valorant pros can be echoed in all walks of life.

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.

Valorant

Valorant First Strike Global Finals: European predictions

Published: 29/Nov/2020 15:51

by Lauren Bergin

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Eight teams have qualified for Valorant’s European First Strike finals, but only one will emerge victorious. Who will take the regional crown? We’ve ranked all qualifying teams ahead of the Global Finals.

Valorant’s First Strike is Riot’s first real move into developing their flagship tactical shooter into a well-established esport. Although events like the Ignition Series and other smaller competitions have allowed teams to flex their muscles throughout the year, the First Strike series has become the true proving ground.

Ahead of the European leg of the Global Finals — one which has seen Guild Esports have to forfeit a win against G2 Esports, among a plethora of upsets — we’ve compiled our predictions of what teams to keep an eye on between December 3-6.

First Strike Europe predictions

8. Orgless V (formerly Prodigy)

Orgless V’s qualifying run has been anything but easy. The first round of qualifiers saw a decent run for the team, but their game in the Playoffs against Team Liquid was anything but convincing. While their first map of Ascent went pretty well, the team were demolished by Liquid on Split.

Their mental, however, remained unbroken. The second round of qualifiers saw Orgless V face-off against L’Institut in a slightly better showing, but L’Institut have a lot less experience than the likes of G2 Esports or Team Liquid and still managed to give Orgless V some trouble. If they’re looking to put on a show versus the big dogs, they’ll really need to step-up their game.

7. Purple Cobras

Purple Cobras have certainly had a few shining moments throughout their battle for one of the top spots. While their first attempt to qualify didn’t go swimmingly, they came back with vengeance and toppled titans in order to earn that First Strike spot.

A strong performance against iconic FPS organization Ninjas in Pyjamas — a team who gave G2 a run for their money — saw the Cobras secure their spot in the Playoffs, where they went up against ‘need more DM.’ Possibly one of the easier opponents of the playoffs bracket, it’ll be interesting to see if the Purple Cobras can slither their way into a better spot.

6. nolpenki

Nolpenki are the team that no one quite expected to be here. A band of five friends just playing for fun, their first attempt at qualifying ended with a loss to Orgless V and it seemed as though they were maybe just ‘another rookie team.’

That’s not quite the case. Coming back in the second round of qualifiers, nolpenki have emerged as a force to be reckoned with. A fierce battle saw the band of brothers topple fan favorites Guild Esports, who were tipped as being one of the teams likely to make the main event. This, followed by the madness of their reverse sweep against Enterprise Esports sets them up as a possible dark horse in the fight for the title.

5. Team Heretics

Team Heretics are the obvious frontrunners from the second round of qualifiers. Their performance throughout this round was one of dominance, as they stomped pretty much every opponent they were matched against throughout the Play-ins.

Their playoffs performance cemented this, as they dismantled Team Finest with insane plays on both Ascent and Bind. Team Heretics are definitely ones to watch, especially if others see them as less threatening than the likes of FunPlus Phoenix and G2 Esports. Win or lose, we know Team Heretics are going to put on a show.

4. SUMN FC

SUMN FC are a team that a lot of fans wouldn’t expect to be so high on this list. Yet another org-less team based out of the UK, SUMN have cemented themselves as one of the best Valorant teams in Europe. Their run through the qualifiers and play-ins was smooth sailing, with none of their opponents being able to even slightly rock the proverbial boat.

The Playoffs, however, were a little tougher for the UK’s newest contender. Although beating eXiLe eSports 2-0, their opposite number made them work for it and the games were tight. While SUMN are in a great position to take out some of the lower ranked teams, whether they can prove themselves against the ‘best of the best’ is another story entirely.

3. Team Liquid

Team Liquid’s Valorant journey hasn’t always been the easiest. A lot of Valorant fans will cast their mind back to the organization’s less than satisfactory third place at the BLAST Twitch Invitational, where a 0-2 loss to FunPlus Phoenix forced Liquid back to the drawing board.

This time, however, TL have made the First Strike Europe qualifiers and Playoffs look like a walk in the park, and insane plays from Adil ‘ScreaM’ Benrlitom and Travis ‘L1NK’ Mendoza have come to define expectations for the future of Liquid in Valorant. Can they finally see off FPX and G2?

2. FunPlus Phoenix

When Chinese organization FunPlus Phoenix announced their entry into the European Valorant scene, players and fans were shaken. FPX’s history of dominance outside the Valorant sphere set them up as favorites in the competition — and it’s a legacy that they’ve proven they deserve.

Their play-in and playoff runs were marked by pure dominance, only dropping three maps en-route to the main event. It’ll be interesting to see how they stack up against longtime rivals G2. Will their League of Legends dominance transfer over to Future Earth? Or will G2 have their number in Riot’s FPS?

1. G2 Esports

G2 Esports have become one of esports’ most respected teams in the world. Associated with excellence and passion, these samurai have sliced open every game they’ve played, rejigged the meta to suit themselves and left others play catch-up. Their Valorant story is no different.

With a win-rate of 88% and a roster featuring former CS:GO pros like Oscar ‘Mixwell’ Cañellas Colocho and Ardis ‘Ardiis’ Svarenieks, the heat is on for G2. Their qualifying run was dominant, their plays insane and they just keep getting better. We won’t be too surprised if G2 win First Strike Europe, but we can’t wait to see them fight to get there.

G2 Esports to take Valorant’s European crown

Dexerto's Valorant First Strike EU predicitions
Riot Games / Dexerto
G2 Esports are undeniably the best team in Europe heading into First Strike’s finals, but can they live up to expectations?

So that’s it for our predictions. We certainly can’t tell the future, but based on each team’s showing in the tournament so far, we think G2 are the hot favorites to come out on top.