Fresh off of their close loss to 100 Thieves in the quarterfinals of the North American First Strike VALORANT event, former CS:GO veteran and T1 player Sam “DaZeD” Marine sat down with Hotspawn to discuss the mistakes made in their series, their steady approach to improvement, and what the iBUYPOWER reunion has meant to him.
Hotspawn: Relatively fresh compositions for both teams heading into this series that ended up being really close, is there something about 100T that you can pinpoint that gave them the edge today?
DaZeD: They had a lot of big plays, a lot of multikills. Nitr0 had six 3Ks, I mean six fucking 3Ks. So they had nine 3Ks, two 4Ks, and an ace. We had five 3Ks and three 4Ks. We didn’t trade well, we had a lot of communication issues, we didn’t have the right planning and protocols when it came to post-plants retakes, and they had fast retakes on Haven before we could get set up. Going forward we need to trade kills better, whether it’s via taking our time more or just hitting our shots. Everyone needs to do their job. These are things we are trying to improve day-by-day.
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) December 5, 2020
Hotspawn: How much time did it take for the former iBUYPOWER players on your side to recover your familiarity? Was it just like old times?
DaZeD: I mean we sucked when we first started playing together, for sure. We’ve made consistent improvements week-by-week, and we’re still making them. Other teams are improving as well, so it comes down to who’s going to plateau. But I don’t think we’re even close to plateauing. I remember from the first couple weeks we were scrimming, we had a 7% scrim win rate. Now it’s pretty solid, and we’re getting further in tournaments. I always try to look at what we can do better.
Hotspawn: I spoke to FaZe babybay after their loss earlier, and said he was less concerned about the finish at First Strike, seeing it more as practice for the Tour next year. Obviously you guys really wanted to win, but what’s next for you guys in preparing for next year?
DaZeD: I don’t even know what the schedule is for tournaments, but we definitely need to make some changes when it comes to how we practice. We need a little more deliberate practice. We’re going to work on all the things we talked about, and have a concrete plan for all the scenarios that can be put in. It’s just trial-and-error. It’s about us having control over the game versus letting the other team have control over the game.
Hotspawn: Spyder has been sort of the odd man out on the roster, coming from a different region, coming from Overwatch, and not having the shared history you all have. What’s been the key to fully integrating him into this team?
DaZeD: I try to keep the game in front of him, and I think he’s doing a lot better because of that. It’s much more difficult to play off other people. If you’re not the one making the decision and everyone’s following you, then it’s much easier. So when he’s Phoenix, we’re adapting to him, but in order to adapt to him we need to keep the game in front of him, and we can adapt to him. It’s about being deliberate in your approach when it comes to entering sites and following routes and trading kills. So we try and keep the game in front of him in that regard. Because then it’s going to help everybody.
Hotspawn: Given the time you guys have missed playing with each other, is there any added pressure or motivation to win now, or are you just playing the whole thing patiently?
DaZeD: I think if you look at anything short-term, you’re taking the wrong approach to things. That improvement and getting good at anything is the result of having a process and trying to incrementally improve week-by-week. Honestly that applies to anything in life. I don’t necessarily worry about the short-term, obviously we want to succeed and win every tournament we’re in, but it’s more about improvement and trusting the process. There’s no pressure to win now, and [T1]’s been very supportive.