VALORANT CHAMPIONS TOUR MASTERS 2: V1CELAND
By Cassie Batinich
This time last week, Version1 fans and staff were cautiously flirting with the idea of Version1 earning a spot at the first-ever VALORANT LAN event in Iceland later this month. ICYDK, our staff is somewhat of a superstitious bunch, a one-game-at-a-time type crew. But visions of brilliant moss soaked cliffs and jagged rock formations seen through airplane windows on the descent into Reykjavík snuck past mental defenses, even if only in our dreams. As we created bits of content highlighting V1’s merciless path to qualify and followed matches live on the staff co-stream, we mostly just tried to keep it together. Don’t jinx it. Don’t jinx it.
And … we didn’t jinx it; we’re in!
A week later, we’re beaming with anticipation for the VALORANT Champions Tour Masters 2. In the background, some staff members rush to renew passports while others conceptualize plans for documenting the team’s journey onsite: together as a squad, for the first time ever.
Alongside Sentinels, Version1 is one of two teams representing North America at the Stage 2 Masters and V1VAL is the organization’s first team to compete on LAN this year. If you watch the highlights or read a synopsis of results from last week’s Challengers Finals, you’ll learn most think V1 snuck past the rest to qualify. We were the underdog to some, a dark horse to others. But ask the team (which we did) and you’ll find their confidence and determination to have fun helped them succeed.
So then what does a trip to Iceland mean for the squad? How are they preparing? We talked to Coach Immi, Vanity and Zellsis. Here’s what we found out:
Cassie: In advance of the Finals, how much were you preparing to qualify for Iceland?
Vanity: I don’t really have expectations.
Immi: We take every game as it comes. We go into every game just not putting any pressure on ourselves. We take each game as it comes; whatever happens, happens. We try not to think too far ahead. But we’re going to win Masters, so … it’s fine.
Zellsis: We were making Iceland. 100,000% we all knew were making Iceland. Even the moment we played Sentinels that first series, I knew we were making Iceland.
Cassie: Really, ok. What made you think that, just the momentum or …?
Zellsis: We have a really good IGL who grinds the game more than any of these teams do. We have a really solid young roster with Penny and others. I honestly just think, we were better.
Immi: The biggest thing about our team is we do just have good vibes. When we scrim we are all just laughing and having fun.
Cassie: We heard people saying V1 is an ‘underdog’ when it came to Challengers Finals. When people say that about this team, what’s your reaction?
Zellsis: The honest answer is, it was only a matter of time before we beat these teams. We did it last tournament and consistently, we will do it again.
Vanity: The only team we lost against in scrims was FaZe, then we beat them in open qualifiers.
Immi: We knew we could qualify. Like every one of us was confident we could qualify. We just destroy these teams in scrims.
What about the length of time your team has been playing VALORANT together, versus other teams? Does that factor into a level playing field in VCT?
Immi: Most teams we’re playing have been competing together for a year and we’ve only been playing together for several months. I think [other teams] definitely have the advantage over us because they know all the maps. That’s why Icebox has ended up being one of our favorite maps, because they don’t have six months experience over us on it.
Cassie: Do you get nervous before you compete?
Vanity: I get butterflies before the first map starts, other than that I’ve never really been affected by it.
Immi: As a coach I don’t get nervous until the game starts. Then I’m watching and I’ve got no control over it. I feel like I’m going to throw up.
Cassie: Is there a hype man on the team?
Immi: Jordan is hype-r.
Jordan: I am just dumb and I will yell.
Immi: We’ll make jokes at each other throughout the game. Even if we’re losing, we’ll try and make jokes. Most of the jokes are aimed at me …
Vanity: Yeah and he can’t talk back.
Immi: I get called bald at least five times a game.
Cassie: Outside of practice, how are you preparing for Iceland?
Zellsis: I’m going to start meditating. I’m going back to the gym and I’m going to start meditating.
Immi: No you’re not.
Zellsis: Yes I am, man.
Immi: If you start mediating, I’ll start meditating,
Zellsis: OK, start meditating. Order the yoga mat, today.
Immi: I’ve got one.
Zellsis: Oh, you’re already a step ahead of me.
Cassie: From a mental and physical perspective, how do you stay in shape?
Vanity: I go to the gym and I wake up at the same time every day.
Zellsis: Yeah, I’d say a disciplined routine and going to the gym is super overlooked.
Immi: I can’t go to the gym; because well the gyms are shut and have been for six months.
Zellsis: Work out at home Immi.
Immi: It’s horrible working out at home.
Vanity: Yeah, it’s horrible.
Zellsis: Yeah, I can’t get a pump at home.
Cassie: How will you entertain yourself during quarantine prior to Masters in Iceland?
Vanity: I’m gonna play Valorant.
Zellsis: Yeah a shit ton of Valorant. I’m hitting ranked 10 EU … let’s go to the gym there.
Vanity: We probably can’t go to the gym there. Maybe after quarantine.
Zellsis: We can play cards or something. Wait … what are we gonna do? Have you ever played Sorry? I love Sorry.
Cassie: Are there any superstitious routines on the team? Wearing the same jersey or anything like that?
Vanity: I wear the same shirt. But then we lost a map, so I switched shirts.
Immi: I made sure to look at my Buddha twice.
Cassie: Do you wash this stuff in between matches?
Vanity: Nah. Absolutely not.
Zellsis: You guys are so cringe.
Cassie: Is there any piece of equipment you can’t play without, that you’ll bring to Iceland?
Vanity: My cat ears.
Zellsis: I have a stuffed animal. His name is Tank. He’s a hammerhead shark.
Cassie: Oh, so if you were an animal, would you be Tank?
Zellsis: No, I think I’d be a panda maybe.
Cassie: Vanity what about you?
Vanity: Oh, I’m a silverback gorilla.
Immi: An orca. A killer whale.
Zellsis: AN ORCA?!
Cassie: What’s something that’s common knowledge about the team fans watching on stream don’t know?
Zellsis: Vanity and Effys are pretty selfless. They will do anything for the team. If someone asks them for something – like dropping a gun – most people won’t see that. If Vanity has a Spectre and me and penny have a rifle, which is quite often and we get a 3K, Vanity is the hero of the 3K but people don’t see that. Vanity and Effys do stuff like that quite frequently.
Immi: Zellsis’ personality. We need him to be pumped because he brings the whole team up. It’s pretty important this his personality is at 100% when we play matches, which it always is.
Cassie: Anything else?
Immi: If we win, we ain’t going home.
Zellsis: I want to Vlog. First international RIOT VAL tournament? I want to VLOG. That’s going to be heat.