The 2022 VALORANT Challengers Korea Stage 1 - Main Event media day took place on Feb 21, at the LCK theater in Yongsan, I-Park mall. DWG KIA, On Sla2ers, Maru Gaming, HolyMolly, DRX, WGSX-IT, Desperado, and Team T5 were the eight teams in attendance for the media day event.
Prior to the main event of the media day, the Head of VALORANT esports, Jake Sin, gave a presentation about the future of VALORANT esports. “Alongside League of Legends and Wild Rift, VALORANT will be at the forefront of Riot Games’ three premier esports. Our plan is to make this year’s VALORANT Challengers Korea into Asia’s number one FPS esports league.”
In the main event of the media day, the head coach & one player representative from each team in the VCT Challengers Korea sat down to answer questions from the MCs, as well as those from the reporters in attendance. From who they thought will win stage 1, how Korea will perform in the international stages, to their thoughts on the new agents, there were a variety of answers from each team.
All the teams in attendance shared their content in their revamped rosters. Kang “solo” Geun-chul, South Korean FPS legend and head coach for DWG KIA stated, “I’m very excited for this year’s stage 1 because there are a lot of notable players on each team.” Yoon “NeX” Ji-hoo, head coach for Maru Gaming stated, “The players are very close with one another, to the point where they’re always bantering. A close relationship like that really helps with their teamwork”.
Each team in attendance predicted that DRX, DWG KIA, and On Sla2ers as the top teams of stage 1, as the three teams were consistently at the top of the standings in all stages of VCT Challengers Korea 2021. Especially DRX, as they acquired the Vision Strikers roster from last year, was considered as the toughest contenders to perform well. The three teams have all said that they “Do not consider each other as rivals”, and added spice to the narrative.
There were interesting answers about the in-game shotcalling from each team. While some teams had allocated specific players to be in charge of shot calling, others have emphasized the importance of shotcalling as a unit. ‘RyZZi & Secret’ of Desperado, ‘Redwater877’ for T5, and ‘GODLIKE’ for WGS X-IT were revealed to be the main shotcallers for their team. However, Kim ‘glow’ Min-soo, the coach for DRX emphasized the communication of every player. “I hope all five players become leaders inside the game. While ‘Zest’ is in charge of initial shotcalling, it’s critical that the other four players also need to play like leaders.” Kang “Cruise” Ji-min, head coach of WGS X-IT, stated, “Our main shotcaller is ‘GODLIKE’. Our team had its strengths and flaws as a very aggressive team, but through the acquisition of ‘GODLIKE’, we’ve managed to strengthen the areas we’re weak at.”
Opinions were divided about two new agents, Neon and Chamber, that became available in pro play this year. Many teams predicted that Neon won’t see pro play, but WGS X-IT thought differently. Head Coach Cruise stated, “Neon’s a great agent for Kim “HANN” Dong-ho, because he’s a very aggressive player. Neon’s been performing well in scrims as well, so we think she’s a very strong agent.” ‘GODLIKE’ also commented, “Neon’s an agent that’s way ahead of her time. However, if she does get picked in pro play, she needs to make the plays she wants, with the rest of her team making supportive plays.”
On the other hand, every team had high praises for the other new agent of the game, Chamber. Teams provided various strengths of the agent, such as being very good at backup, great Cred management, and his ability to safely create variance. DRX ‘stax’ also added, ‘You need to have a great aim to be good at Chamber. I don’t know why other teams are so confident about him, but our team’s very positive about Chamber.”
Among the talent that gathered for the media day event, Kim ‘zunba’ Jun-hyuk of On Sla2ers and head coach ‘solo’ of DWG KIA both had extensive careers in other FPS titles. ‘Zunba’ has an extensive career in Overwatch, as he’s won the first Overwatch World Cup, whereas ‘solo’ was a former pro in CS:GO. When asked about how their past experiences affects their VALORANT careers, zunba stated, “Just like Overwatch, VALORANT is an FPS that has skills in their kit. I think my OW experience helped me get used to skillshots very quickly.” DWG KIA’s solo stated, “Just like traditional FPS titles, VALORANT also plants/disarms spikes. I’m very used to such in-game mechanic, so the approach was very easy in coaching the players.”
Lastly, they shared where the Korean VALORANT pro teams stand on the international stage. While the Western teams definitely were considered to be better in VALORANT and in FPS overall, they all predicted that Korean teams would step it up this year. DRX glow, who has experience in VALORANT Champions 2021, shared, “I really didn’t feel like Korean teams fell behind the NA & EU teams when we played against teams. I even felt that Korean teams were better in scrims. However, I feel that the vast difference in experience between the regions played a huge part. I truly believe that Korean teams will perform well on the international stage. I believe that a Korean team will at least make top four in the world.”
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