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Johnta on pre-game preparation, the Sentinel role, and ranking FPX on the European Valorant scene

Johnta on pre-game preparation, the Sentinel role, and ranking FPX on the European Valorant scene

Naim "EnKay" Rosinski


Photo in featured image credit: Liquipedia

We had the opportunity to chat with FunPlus Phoenix’s coach, Ivan “Johnta” Shevtsov, just after FPX bested Fnatic and net themselves a spot at Valorant Champions Tour Masters event. Johnta shared with us his thoughts on his team’s performance against Fnatic, how the Sentinel role looks like at FPX, and how he preps his team before certain matches. We also asked him to rank FPX on the European Valorant scene. Johnta’s insight was invaluable.

Interview with Johnta

RunItBack: How is the team’s spirit following this huge win against Fnatic?

Johnta: It’s great. It feels good to get the revenge win. Last time we lost against them and we feel like it was a bit of an off-day for us when we played them at First Strike. We wanted to show up good this time. Nevermind the first map that we lost. We had great confidence going into the second map. We’re happy. We feel like we did a very good job to prepare this week. Not just for Fnatic, but overall.

RunItBack: As a coach, how do you rate your team’s performance? What are some things that did go to plan, and other’s that did not?

Johnta: We had a good gameplan for Bind, we started pretty well but we a couple of mistakes that we thought of in the later stages of the round. We kind of screwed the ending of the first half where we were winning 6:2 but then we finished on 6:6. Then after the half-switch we were also going ok, we got a 5v3 pistol but lacked urgency in our movements which lost us the half. The guys started to feel a bit less confident in some of the moves as the rounds were slipping. Overall, it felt like our gameplan was pretty good, maybe not perfect but good. But we couldn’t exploit it like in practice. In practice our Bind looked strong.

On Split everything was perfect. We had some changes. We are working on bringing in something new every time that we play. This is the kind of style we like to have, bringing in something fresh for us to feel. You just get more enjoyment when you play something different and it works and it’s a cool part of Valorant. We are happy with Split and I rate it as very good.

And Haven as well. I think we did some good preparation for it. Since the last time we played an official game on Haven we did some changes and I’m happy to see that it worked pretty good as the players had to change agents. They prepared well and we’re happy that it turned out good for us.

RunItBack: What thought process goes into putting such a great mechanical player as Dimasick on a Sentinel like Cypher? Why not put him on a duelist?

Johnta: We see the Sentinel role not that much as a passive role. Sometimes we feel that yeah, sometimes it needs to be passive, but we want to be able to be very different going from match to match and having Dimasick as a very experienced player in terms of his own skill, the Sentinel of the team, how the team works, and how to act in different situations, we felt like we needed a very adjustable player to the situations. Before we had Meddo, who is also a very good player, but his playstyle was more passive. But we wanted both, passive and sometimes aggressive. This gives us more info and more space and felt that we needed a player who can play both, even on a Sentinel role.

RunItBack: As a coach, what can you tell us about preparing against T2/3 teams and T1 teams such as Fnatic? What’s different in the practice regime?

Johnta: When we play against a team that we have 0 information about, it’s more about focusing on 100% on ourselves. How we play, and how our fundamentals of the game are. We just have to be ready for everything because sometimes teams do something very weird. And we have to be ready for it. And sometimes it’s hard, because things can go very weird *laughs*. When we play against some teams that we know, like Fnatic, we just have to put it in the filter of what do we know about their playstyle. How we should adapt to it. But we still focus like 90% of on our game. Any preparation that we do when we go to any match, it’s like, “ok guys, what’s good about us, what should we do, what’s our gameplan, how should our teamplay be”. And that’s our main focus.

RunItBack: With the emergence of teams such as OG, Alliance, and lots of teams stepping up in Europe, where would you rank FPX on the European scene?

Johnta: It’s pretty hard to say because it’s always a bit different when you play the officials, and when you play practices. Some things can look a lot different. I think we deserve to be in the top 3 of EU for sure. At the upcoming Masters, hopefully we can show that we can be above this. So this is our goal definitely, to be the best team. Not only in EU, but also in the world. And we are desperately waiting for the lockdown to be less and less. We’re using this moment to set a good level in Europe and try to be the best here and then in the world. I think the level of EU teams increased a lot since First Strike. There were some reshuffles, some organizations got new teams like Vitality, Alliance, OG, Fnatic signed SUMN FC. There are a lot of good teams and the competition is very strong right now.

RunItBack: Thank you for your time Ivan. We wish your team all the best at Masters and achieving your goals in 2021.

*Questions and answers may have been modified for the sake of clarity and brevity.

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