Hiko on the disappointing Masters run and moving forward
The Valorant Champions Tour has included some of the most intense competitive battles since the release of the game. The first Masters event has not been without amazing performances and some shocking defeats. Gen.G Esports besting 100 Thieves 2:0 falls into the latter category. The First Strike Champions were defeated in a way no one expected, ending their Stage 1 Masters aspirations. Following that contest, Run It Back was given the opportunity to speak with Spencer “Hiko” Martin of 100 Thieves. As always, he had much to say and many feelings to express. His passion for competing is unbridled and unmatched. That truly shines through with how he views the loss against Gen.G.
Run It Back: When we spoke during First Strike, you said you were worried when the team went through its revamp. Another, albeit smaller, change for the team has occurred with Ethan replacing dicey. Did any of that same worry from before creep back in this time around?
Hiko: Maybe we were a little too ambitious thinking that changing a player and changing a comp, that we would be prepared for a tournament like this. I’m not going to make any excuses about if we had more time we would have been better. That probably is true. We just changed this roster and decided to change comps, as well. There were just a lot of moving parts. A lot of gears were in motion. I cannot blame dicey for the problems that we had.
The problems we had are deeper than just one person. I think today was very indicative of that and indicative that the way we practice and prepare ourselves for tournaments like this are not as optimal as they could be. Compound that with the new player and the new agent composition, I think that it just put a lot more pressure on us. Unfortunately, it came back to bite us in the bite and now we’re out of this tournament.
Run It Back: You also said you felt 100 Thieves were a Top 2 team, at least, in North America. After this loss to Gen.G, what your thoughts on 100 Thieves’ current position in Valorant? Do you still hold yourself in that high regard?
Hiko: I would love to. I think we have the players to be a Top 2 team. I don’t think we are right now. I think that’s obvious. Our Closed Bracket run up to Masters and all through Masters, we came up short. I personally couldn’t find my rhythm at all. On our best day, I definitely think we are a top team. We weren’t prepared enough for this one. The plan moving forward, we have some time to go back to drawing board. We can figure out which players are going to play on which agents, if we even want to continue with the agents we’ve been running. Hopefully we won’t feel so time crunched.
We decided to play with Ethan between the second and third Closed Qualifier. Up until now, I think we’ve only been a roster for two or three weeks with many travel days and tournament days in between. We really haven’t had that much time to theory craft. Ethan himself will be playing long term. I don’t know if he’ll be playing Omen long term, but it made the most sense for the limited amount of time we had. Overall, we are going to need to tinker with it a bit more. We need to figure out how to practice more efficiently.
Run It Back: Making it to Masters is nothing to scoff at. 100 Thieves did win First Strike after all. Does this exit from Masters 1 leave you and the rest of the team feeling defeated or does it simply make you hungrier?
Hiko: It’s not acceptable to go out how we did. That being said, again, we haven’t really had that much time to practice with the new agents. And we have a brand new player to the game, who just switched within the last month. It definitely is disappointing. I, personally, am very disappointed with our showing in this event. In my eyes, it only goes up from here. With more time and more practice, we can turn it around. We were exposed to problems in our strategy and in the way we see the game.
Already, based on what we’ve talked about, we’ve pinpointed what problems we have. Our focus moving forward is, not only to figure out what agents we want to play, but how to make things work more effectively. How to make our practice more beneficial for us, for our own sake, and to make sure what happened today doesn’t happen again.
Run It Back: Lastly, during your streams on Twitch, you’ve discussed what is next for Hiko after competing. No one wanted to see Ric Flair or Brett Favre retire, but it seems inevitable at some point. What do you hope to accomplish in Valorant overall before you hang it up?
Hiko: I have always valued winning over almost every aspect of my life. I put in 14-15 hour days, five days a week, playing Valorant. I stream for five or six hours. Then we have another seven or eight hours of practice after that. I’ve literally sacrificed my life to everything that I want, which is to win. I don’t see myself retiring until we, or I accomplish that. The group of guys that we have on this team right now has that potential. I am obviously aware and cognizant to the fact that I probably don’t have that many more years in me. I also think that’s why we built the roster we did, with a lot of experience, and now with Ethan.
I’m sure it is becoming a broken record as this point. We just keep saying, “Oh yeah, we have so much experience.” Now is the time to cash in on that. We made it to Masters, we made it to the playoffs, we didn’t go as deep as we wanted. We have time until the next Masters. We have time until the next set of tournaments. We are going to do everything in our power to make sure we are as prepared and on top of our game as we can be. I don’t think my life will change in that regarding. I will still be putting in 14-15 hour days each week. I’m still going to be streaming and playing. My whole life is Valorant right now. That being said, we need to do better. We need to make deeper runs in tournaments.
Thank you to Hiko for the insightful interview and best of luck to 100 Thieves going forward. Stay tuned to Run It Back for more VCT coverage, including player interviews and tournament results!