Korea's NUTURN Gaming pulled off a very close match victory against NA's Version1 on Thursday. The match went to overtime in both of the last two maps, with NG edging out V1 on both maps to claim their place in the Winners bracket final against Sentinels tomorrow. Not only did the match prove that NUTURN Gaming was a worthy representative of Korea, it also showed that the Korean region is in contention for best VALORANT region.
We had the opportunity to sit down with the IGL for NUTURN Gaming Kang "solo" Keun-chul to discuss their nail-biting victory against Version 1, who the best region is, and delve into the strategy they used to overcome Version 1 on the final map of the series.
How do you feel right now, after that incredible win over Version1?
It was a tough match, but right now I am feeling very happy!
You upset the entire narrative of NA dominance today, what does that mean to you and the team to defeat Version1 today?
To be honest, we as a team and I, admit that the North American team's Version 1 and Sentinels have strong gameplay. But I think Korea is not very far behind, if not on par with the NA region. We believe that, and that is why we were able to get such a good result today.
Considering what just happened, how confident are you that you will win this tournament?
While I can't say it's 100% certain, but if we are able to play how we are used to playing, and if we play to our potential, I would put our probability of winning the VCT Reykjavik tournament at around 70%.
Y’all had a rough start today, what changes did you make heading into Ascent to turn things around?
We had some unexpected kills that V1 was able to pick up early in the game on that first map. I think it shook the nerves of our players a little bit. But we knew that Ascent was a map that we were very confident in playing. So I just told my team members, "let's forget about map one and jump straight into map 2. If we take Ascent, we can definitely take them down in Map 3. So that is the mindset we had after losing Map 1.
It seemed like your playstyle changed drastically on that last map Split, with you waiting for last-minute executions on sites. The strategy ended up paying off with the win! Was that an adaptation to V1 specifically, or was that a standard plan you already had for the map?
We definitely did analyze the way Version1 played on Split. We actually watched their match-up against Team Liquid a bunch of times. So it was a tactic that we prepared for V1 specifically, in the end, I think it worked so well because they struggled to defend A a little bit. So we tried to play mind games, fake B and then fake A, and keep them unsettled a little bit. We wanted to mess with their heads, and it worked.
You are playing Sentinels tomorrow in the Winners Bracket final. What are you expecting from Sentinels and how do you feel about that matchup?
Not only is it the winner's bracket final, but it's also the top seed in North America facing off against the top seed in Korea. So I think if we play up to our potential, we are sure to show our viewers and fans an exciting match just like we did today against Version1.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.