TSM are one of North America’s best Valorant teams. According to coach Taylor ‘Tailored’ Broomall, that makes his squad one of the best in the world. Why? Well, he believes NA is one of the best regions globally.
TSM Valorant’s 2021 has gotten off to a shaky start in the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT). An early loss in the Challengers 1 Open Qualifier to XSET sent them packing early.
“It was a tough loss. I think the guys were pretty tense afterwards and frustrated in themselves,” he told Dexerto. “XSET played really well and brought a lot of new strategy and a lot of interesting comps.”
While it’s interesting to look at both First Strike finalists bowing out early — 100 Thieves bowed out in the Round of 32 after losing to Carpe Noctem — it’s indicative of just how hotly contested North American Valorant is.
TSM’s special bond
TSM are the second most-winningest team in North American Valorant. They took home two Ignition Series titles in 2020, as well as First Strike runners-up to 100 Thieves. In their element, they seem unbeatable.
LETS GO TSM VALORANT 🏆
We are your @T1 VALORANT Showdown Champions.
Congrats boys 👏 pic.twitter.com/0LCHirNbaU
— TSM (@TSM) June 29, 2020
That comes from a special bond the team has built. Tailored was on teams with four of the five TSM players in CS:GO before Valorant. While that was an early piece of the puzzle, it was a crucial one for making sure the squad was fast out of the gates.
“I played on a team with Drone and Cutler in Envy in Counter-Strike, so I have a really good relationship with them. Drone was actually the first person I ever met playing CS:GO. I met him like 6 years ago or something, so I’ve known him for a very long time,” Tailored said.
“I was the medium between Drone and Cutler, and Wardell and Subroza. Obviously Wardell and Subroza are super tight, they’re really great friends and their chemistry is great.”
When Wardell and Subroza made their intentions clear to move to Valorant after Flashpoint Season 1 — where Tailored was their coach on Orgless — he wanted to move too.
“I always knew Wardell was talented — I wrote an article about him when he got picked up by Ghost way back when, and Subroza, I’ve been trying to help him get on teams forever. There’s a lot of raw talent and I can see the drive they both have. We all just respect each other a lot.”
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It might have been the decision that saved his career. Although he’s still in love with CS:GO, Valorant allowed him to break out and grow, much like the rest of TSM.
“I love Counter-Strike. It’s an amazing game. But Valorant, and Riot, have been so significant in the growth of my career. They changed all of our lives, it’s crazy, and we only have Riot to thank for that,” Tailored said.
“We were all cautious going into it because it’s such a complex game.
“It’s a lot different from Counter-Strike in a lot of ways. We all trusted Riot to do a good job, and the teams behind the Agents and the maps especially really know what they’re doing. So, no regrets.”
Is NA the best Valorant region in the world?
There’s a lot of teams starting to shoot up in NA. While the likes of Sentinels are still a formidable force, Luminosity, XSET, and Andbox are really challenging the old guard. This depth of teams is NA’s greatest asset, as it lends to many different styles of play.
“I think NA has the most depth as far as styles of play, and I think a lot of teams have shown you can play a lot of different variations,” Tailored explained.
“100 Thieves has this strat-heavy meta they work towards, and obviously us with our triple duelist meta in First Strike was very different to what anyone else had seen.”
However, that doesn’t mean the international competition is that far behind. In fact, the TSM coach heaped praise onto the more “creative” Korean teams. He didn’t explicitly mention NA as being the best, but it’s the region with the most potential.
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“A lot of these Korean teams use these Initiators [Skye, Breach, and more] in really creative ways, and I really like the way they use it,” he said.
“I think in Europe, they’re still playing it like Counter-Strike.
“They’re playing really passive on bombsites, not as aggressive, not as fast on [defender] sides, a lot of slow rounds. Speed is your friend in this game, so I think NA definitely has the most depth in terms of meta.”
Looking towards Valorant Champions on LAN
That theory will be put to the test at Valorant Champions in December 2021. The international LAN event is set to be the first major global tournament in the game’s history. Tailored is confident TSM will make it, and even have the upper hand on zero ping. The only question is if the event will actually run.
“We’re excited to possibly be playing [on LAN] at the end of the year, but the way things are going, it almost feels like we’re not going to play on LAN at the end of the year,” he laughed.
“We feel that a lot of our results would be different if we weren’t playing online sometimes. I don’t always want to call a fluke, but I know my team does. Playing on LAN would feel really good. It would give us a fresh head start against some of these teams.”
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TSM’s run to the top isn’t going to be easy. The nature of Valorant means you can’t just apply “CS:GO math.” Some teams will flat out counter others with their playstyle and Agent selections. Ultimately, that could determine the fate of TSM, and North America, in December.
“You try to do this math to figure out who’s the best team, but it feels like some teams are pretty good matchups for other teams. Envy, for example, is an incredible team. They sh*t on a lot of people, and we almost never have a lot of trouble against them in matches because our playstyle just works really well against that team.”
“Sentinels versus us is like our kryptonite. It’s really hard for us to beat Sentinels a lot of the time, but when it came to finals, we’d beat them quite often. Certain teams just match up really well against other teams.”
TSM’s VCT run continues in the Challengers 2 Qualifier, on Feb. 11.