Paper Rex finished fourth at Valorant Champions Tour Stage 1 Masters Reykjavík after losing to ZETA DIVISION in the lower bracket. But their run will still be remembered in a tournament filled with firsts.
In a tournament full of Cinderella stories and historical runs by teams from previously disregarded regions, Paper Rex and its band of multinational players stood out as a team that injected a sense of lightheartedness into the event.
While their exit wasn’t as fun-fueled as their stage entrances, Benedict ‘Benkai’ Tan made each walkout must-watch entertainment, Paper Rex proved that their fast and loose playstyle was just as viable as any other way to play the game.
“If anything, I think we have validated that our playstyle is not something that is like a flash in the pan, like can only win one game kind of thing,” Paper Rex’s coach Alexandre “alecks” Salle said in a post-match press conference.
While Paper Rex hoped for a deep run, the objective wasn’t to lift the Masters Reykjavík trophy according to Benkai.
“I think we’ve exceeded our own expectations honestly,” Benkai said after the loss to ZETA DIVISION in the lower bracket. “Initially, when we were first coming into here we were like, ‘Oh, hell yeah baby top eight.’”
“You know, that kind of feeling. But any result that came after that was a bonus to us and I feel like although right now we are feeling pretty disappointed, at the same time we know that we should be proud of what we were able to achieve.”
Paper Rex deal with pressure by not piling it on
Paper Rex are true W warriors when it comes to their Valorant playstyle. Jason “f0rsakeN” Susanto and Wang Jing “Jinggg” Jie are often running at the enemy the second the starting walls fall down on both defensive and attacking sided rounds.
To play Valorant this way successfully, Paper Rex treat the tactical shooter like the game it is and don’t try to put too much mental energy into the gravitas of it all.
“Having fun is a huge aspect of how we bring our mentality into these competitive games and I feel like if we were to focus on just being like a serious team all the time, and just really treating this as a job and forgetting that we’re playing a game, I don’t think would be able to get the kind of results that we do,” Benkai said.
“Because at its core, it’s just a game, right?”
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) April 22, 2022
The team was also excited to just see each other in person. Because of world health conditions, and the logistics of having players from three different countries compete on the same team, Paper Rex only get to see one another when they qualify for major LAN tournaments like Masters.
Every time f0rsakeN gets to see his teammates at a LAN, he first gives them a welcoming fist bump then a big hug.
“I always feel really happy to see them after long periods as I really enjoy their company outside of the game,” he said.
Bootcamps are also scarce for the team for the same reasons. While some teams can build in-person rapport before big events, Paper Rex have to make up that ground while getting match ready.
“I think all of us being able to meet again is great, because we only see each other at these kinds of events and coming here it’s really nice for building the chemistry for the team because we get to interact with each other in real life,” Benkai said.
Fans could see the team back on a big stage
The Singapore-based team have surpassed their expectations for this event, but they have yet to reach their goal for the year.
The team wants to continue to meet in person and improve towards Valorant Champions.
“We just want to attend every LAN that [Riot Games] will hold this year, like Masters and Champions.” Paper Rex player Aaron ‘mindfreak’ Leonhart said.
They will have to wait a while for their next shot at a LAN, but if they make it fans can expect more fast-paced play, Benkai shenanigans and fun matches.