VALORANT First Strike: Europe – The Main Event Interview with G2 and SUMN FC
With the first Riot-produced VALORANT tournament mere hours away, we’ve sat down with a few of the competing teams to find out what’s going through their heads in the run-up to the main event.
G2 Esports. Team Liquid. FunPlus Phoenix. SUMN FC. Nolpenki. Purple Cobras. Team Heretics. Orgless. Over the next few days, these teams will battle it out to lift the VALORANT First Strike: Europe trophy and claim bragging rights as the best VALORANT team in the region.
Naturally, much of the attention in this pre-tournament period will be going straight on the favourites – G2 Esports. As one of the most recognisable esports organisations in Europe, G2’s all-star VALORANT team have stormed through the Ignition series, a series of third-party tournaments created in partnership with Riot Games to kickstart VALORANT’s esports scene. It’s no surprise that G2 dominated the series, winning every competition they took part in.
“We have literally won every single Ignition Series in EU, so yeah, winning every single competition gave us more and more confidence,” says G2 player David “Davidp” Prins. “We'll just take it like every other tournament: take it easy, play confidently, and adapt to our enemies.”
Team captain Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho shares his teammate’s optimism. “G2 has a winner’s mentality and they are willing to do anything to have the best lineup possible in every game. If you want to win, this is the place to be,” he says.
Team Liquid, another well-established esports organization are also aiming for the top spot at First Strike: Europe, with a specific eye for taking down rivals G2. Meanwhile, FunPlus Phoenix have quietly been building up a strong roster of EU talent, with the specific goal of surpassing EU’s reigning champions.
“FPX will be the biggest challenge to us, I think, just because they're a pretty good team and they have great team chemistry,” adds Davidp. “They are working a lot to beat us, especially.”
Of course, not all teams competing in First Strike: Europe have the pedigree of the likes of Liquid and G2, but that isn't to say other teams aren't confident facing off against them. The org-less, majority British team SUMN FC, for example, are cautiously optimistic about their chances against the big hitters. True to his moniker, Jake “Boaster” Howlett is confident in his team’s chances for success in the upcoming tournament, but his comments are laced with a hint of caution.
“The qualifiers were quite ruthless, so we’re glad we were able to come out on the other side unscathed,” says Boaster. “We hadn’t played any officials for around four weeks leading up to it, so it was good to be able to perform and show everyone what we can do. Of course, we didn’t show everything, because we wanted to save it for the main event – so with that in mind, I’d say we are pretty confident.”
SUMN represent the grassroots esports scene, being without an organisation and therefore lacking the structure of bigger profile teams. It’s for this reason that SUMN could be considered the underdogs of the tournament, but given their track record of successes – particularly in the early stages of this very tournament – it would be foolish to count them out at this stage.
“It’s nice to have fewer expectations and less pressure on ourselves and I generally like being the underdog. However, if anyone has actually seen us play and perform, they’ll know that we’re actually a pretty scary team,” boasts Boaster. “I wouldn’t even call ourselves the underdogs in certain situations, because I believe we are one of the best teams in EU right now.”
When asked which teams could prove the biggest challenge to SUMN, Boaster agrees that FPX could be the dark horse of the competition, but is determined to settle his personal rivalry with the team.
“To be honest, there are a few teams we’ve never even faced before, so it’s hard to judge,” he explains. “But we’d really like to have a rematch against FPX. I’ve made loads of new strats for Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow to steal.”
Regardless of who ends up coming out on top, you can bet that the next few days will be anything but boring. Are you counting on the favourites to steal the top prize? Or are you rooting for one of the underdogs? Make sure to let us know on Twitter and follow us for the latest updates about VALORANT esports.