Starxo: “The Champions title is the biggest title of VALORANT right now. People still have their eyes on us and they sh*t talk about us because we’re not playing really well.”
After an extremely entertaining 3-map fiasco, Acend have emerged victorious against G2 Esports in VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 2 EMEA Challengers. The win sees Acend rack up a 3-1 record, essentially guaranteeing them a spot in the playoffs. On the contrary, G2 have failed to advance to the playoffs in the EMEA event as they attained a 1-3 record in their group.
Following the intense matchup, we managed to get hold of one of the Polish players of Acend, Patryk “Starxo” Kopczyński. As always, Starxo opened up about that first Split map, which saw Acend be on their back foot, the new Acend team after roster changes, as well as how much pressure the team is feeling being the reigning VALORANT Champions.
Run It Back: Congratulations on today’s win! You pulled off the reverse sweep against G2 after losing your initial Split pick. So that’s what I wanted to focus on first. What happened on that Split? You guys looked somewhat lost against G2 at first as they took command. So if you could just tell me what went wrong on that map?
Starxo: Basically, I think we didn’t manage to find the momentum in the beginning of the first half. They were hitting some nasty shots and we couldn’t control the map well. They were taking the map pretty well, we didn’t expect them to not fight for some sites of the map, and fight for the other. We didn’t know how to counter that. Also, mixwell had a great game. He was impossible to kill. Even though he had his back towards you, he still would flick and kill you. He played great on Split and it was impossible to stop them. They just rolled over us.
Run It Back: But you put that Split behind you. Then, Icebox was a very tight game but you managed to get that win to force the decider. So, Starxo tell me about that comp on the decider, Bind. That was extremely surprising. Especially you on Raze and zeek on Omen.
Starxo: I like Raze a lot. I’ve been playing Raze on ranked games my whole life in this game. The decision of changing the comp was basically about not feeling comfortable on our old god-like comp that we had last year with the old roster. Some players haven’t managed to take the role of BONECOLD or kiles. It was just not their playstyle. So we decided not to force them into their shoes, but make our own new shoes. Just play the comfortable picks. We just made some strats, they were working, and we went for it.
Run It Back: With the addition of MONSTERRR and vakk, I’d like to know how playing in Acend has changed. As a player for Acend, what are some differences between playing with kiles and BONECOLD and now?
Starxo: Honestly, I think it’s the amount of comms. Kiles was more of a silent person, but he was doing his job really well. MONSTEERR is really young so he has a lot of different new ideas. He’s also very communicative. And vakk also took the IGL role which he never did in his life before. He decided to step in and I respect him for that a lot. He went from being a superstar Jett and Raze with flair into Sova, Skye, and other initiator slash support [role]. It was really tough for him and he was going through super hard times.
The other things come with time. We had a lot of pressure until this game and I think now the pressure is a bit off and we can focus on ourselves a bit more.
Run It Back: About pressure. You’re the reigning Champions of VALORANT so do you actually feel an pressure? Expectations are very high for Acend to make an appearance at Champions this year. Do you think those expectations are putting any pressure on you guys at this stage of play?
Starxo: Of course. The Champions title is the biggest title of VALORANT right now. People still have their eyes on us and they shit talk about us because we’re not playing really well. The pressure is there since day one. Mostly on our new guys, but also on the old as well, we just deal with it better because we’re used to it. We played last year under huge pressure as people were underestimating us as well, they didn’t care. They said we were a couple of friends and cNed carrying us. It was super hard to read when we knew what kind of job we were making as a team inside and people on the outside never really knew.
About the pressure, it was huge pressure on our new guys, as I said, vakk taking the IGL role especially. It’s alreadyan insane amount of pressure to switch and make people listen to you. You don’t know if you make the right calls because you’re not the IGL from the beginning of the game or something. It’s a super new role for you. But we tried to help him as much as we could, me and zeek. We’re mid-round calling a lot, so we take some pressure from him. So he’s calling in the beginning of the rounds mostly, and mid-rounds sometimes.
So yeah, I think the pressure is there every day, on everyone. But on us mostly, because we have the Champions title which I don’t really like to have right now. We are a fresh team, we have a new team. It’s not our title. It’s not ours since the first of January after Champions. We are a new team and we need to grind back the new chemistry and new titles.
*Note: questions and answers may have been altered slightly for the sake of clarity and or fluidity.