BONECOLD: “We’re going to smash it and go to the finals”
Acend kicked off their run at the VALORANT Champions Tour Masters Berlin with dominance and entertainment. The European top team made short work of their Turkish opponents SuperMassive Blaze, winning the series 2-0. Acend now waits in the Winner’s Match of their group, held on Monday, to secure a spot in the top eight.
After Acend’s victory, team captain Santeri “BONECOLD” Sassi joined for a brief chat. He discussed his team’s preparation for VCT Masters, and what it was like to finally meet his teammates in real life. BONECOLD also talked about the team atmosphere in Acend, and how they ended up to covering Queen’s We Will Rock You on-stage.
Hotspawn: Congrats on the win, BONECOLD. What are your first thoughts after that series?
BONECOLD: I mean, we were really hyped to play in the tournament. I think we had really good preparation for it. I feel like this was just the start of our run in Berlin.
Hotspawn: It looked like the team was very chill—did you feel any pressure?
BONECOLD: It’s just… I don’t know. We have very motivated players. The biggest preparation was to play and try to feel that it’s already a LAN. We had mental coach sessions. A lot of them. Like how to deal with the pressure when we’re playing on the stage.
We met the whole team two weeks ago for the first time in real life. The biggest preparation was to have fun, be relaxed in the same room together. Now that it’s not online you see their faces, the facial expressions. That was the most important thing for us. I feel like that’s something that’s going to be really, really strong for us going into the tournament.
Hotspawn: Talking about those mental coaching sessions: can you name something you picked up from those that you find particularly useful on stage?
BONECOLD: I feel like we didn’t get many [tips], but the ones that we had are really good for going on the stage. I really would prefer not to say leak our preparation, sorry.
Hotspawn: I didn’t mean any specific in-game tactics, but more the use of tricks to keep a cool head, remain trustful in your team while on-stage, that kind of stuff.
BONECOLD: There is just something about having a really good talk with the whole team. When it’s a team session especially, people express how they feel about somebody else or about how we play. It just opens up so much more territory where you can improve on.
Hotspawn: This first series you played was quite a dominant victory. Did you expect that?
BONECOLD: Yes. Actually, I feel like we had a win-streak of fifteen games before the series, but we obviously did lose to SuperMassive Blaze and Gambit. I think those losses were actually good for us in a way that people were saying “Oh, are they washed up? How are they gonna do in LAN?” We were just preparing out there. You better be ready on the stage. We will be yelling, we will be shouting, we will be ready.
Hotspawn: And you were definitely yelling on stage. It was hard to hear what exactly you were yelling but it was very loud at least. Is that the emotion boiling up?
BONECOLD: [Laughs] Yeah it is. It’s just so much fun, playing on the stage. There is so much more than just playing at your home. You see your opponents in front of you. It’s just another dimension. When you yell, it’s not into TeamSpeak. It’s actually to the whole production and the enemy team… it’s something else man.
Hotspawn: At one point in the series, there is a pause and you guys start singing We Will Rock You. How the hell did that come up? [Laughs]
BONECOLD: [Laughs] There is a little bit of preparation there, of course. It didn’t pan out so well—we lost six rounds after that I think. But I mean, it’s not about how it goes for you, it’s about the idea. It’s about the thought of doing that. I didn’t want to sing. It was mostly starxo, and everybody else was like “naaa na, naaa na, rock you!” with him. [Laughs]
Hotspawn: It seems that you are super comfortable with each other. How do you think that will impact your run further?
BONECOLD: We couldn’t have wished for a better start, to be honest. As I said earlier, this is just the start of our run in Berlin. I think we’re going to smash it and go to the finals, and win the whole thing.
Hotspawn: Any final words you have for the fans, BONECOLD?
BONECOLD: I mean, I’m going to troll everybody that hears this, but I’m really thankful for all of the supporters, fans, my family members, and friends. I’m gonna make every fan and everyone that knows me super proud and win the whole thing. So thank you and jätkä on täällä!
Acend play their next series in VCT Masters against the winner of Vision Strtiker vs Paper Rex on Monday, September 13th, at 6 PM CEST. You can watch the series live on the official VALORANT Twitch channel.