SUMN FC shocked the VALORANT world on Saturday, by upsetting the #2 ranked team in Europe, FPX, during the semifinals of the EU First Strike tournament. SUMN is an unsigned team who came into this tournament relatively unknown. We caught up with Muhammad “Moe40” Hariff right after his team’s victory over FPX, to talk to him about the big win, how his team stays focused during matches, and why he thinks SUMN is the best VALORANT team in the world.
Hotspawn: How do you feel right now, having advanced to the Grand Finals of First Strike?
Moe40: Honestly, I am hyped! I mean, this is insane! Everyone doubted us. They doubted us during qualification, and then when we qualified, they said our qualifier schedule was too easy. They said that we could never do it. It’s crazy. I am really proud of everyone on my team! We did it!
Hotspawn: What was your strategy for beating FPX coming into this match?
Moe40: We literally just played our own game and were all feeling it. The first map was a bit rough, since Split is definitely not our best map. The first game we played nervously and were too passive. We didn’t give them enough pressure, we basically let them have the whole site, and they took advantage of that and ran over us. Going into our second map on Haven, we reset, went back into it, and got the win.
Hotspawn: It can be difficult to reset your mindset like that, especially under pressure, what did you do before this tournament to prepare for that?
Moe40: For this event we hired a sports psychologist to talk to us about our nerves, handling stress while under pressure, and stuff like that. It was really helpful. After our first game we took a break, cleared our minds and feelings, and focused on mindfulness as a team. Then we went out there, did our thing, and we literally just showed them no respect.
Hotspawn: What kinds of exercises did you learn from the sport psychologist?
Moe40: He gave us stuff to do, techniques to use both throughout the game and before the game. Before a match starts, I take 10 minutes to just breath in and out. I focus on clearing my thoughts and being mindful. In the game, if I feel pressure or negativity, I think of a plane flying away with all the negative thoughts. We have played official games before this tournament, and we all had problems with our nerves, and felt like we didn’t play how we do in practice. We knew something had to improve if we were going to succeed. Now, to see everything play out like this, it’s a lot of relief.
Hotspawn: Your team said earlier in this tournament that you wanted to prove you are worthy of being signed to a major esports organization. Now that you are going to the finals, do you feel like you earned it?
Moe40: We’re in the finals, bro, let’s go! Of course we earned it! We had a rough schedule during this tournament too. To see us in the grand finals, with a bad schedule, and we are not even full-time players yet? That is such a big accomplishment! We have absolutely earned the opportunity to play for a big organization.
Hotspawn: Your attack side on Haven was excellent, especially when you pushed C. Was the decision to push C part of your attack strategy coming into the match?
Moe40: When we went into Haven attack side, we noticed they pushed A a lot. When we identified that pattern, we instantly went toward C, because there were less people there, so it was much easier to take the site. We took the site many times, and adapted to what they are doing. We play our own game, but sometimes you have to react to the other teams weaknesses in order to win.
Hotspawn: What was your favorite moment in this match?
Moe40: My favorite moment was, when I walked out onto the B site, and I toggled my aim, killed two and the round was won. I was so happy. I wouldn’t have made that play if I wasn’t feeling confident, either. And of course, I will always remember winning the whole thing, that last round was so exciting.
Hotspawn: You also picked up a pretty impressive three kill during the second round of the final map, and your teammates picked up their fair share of big plays as well. What gave you the edge in all of these encounters?
Moe40: Honestly, today we were all just feeling it. We were hitting nice shots, and we were ready to adapt to anything they threw at us. Basically, we came ready to play our game. We showed everyone why we were the best in the world today, and I do believe we are the best in the world right now.