Envy mummAy: “We just have to keep grinding”
Version1 eliminated Envy from the VALORANT Champions Tour Stage Two Challengers Finals in a grueling three-map series. This map decided which team would join Sentinels in Iceland for the Masters Two event, and Envy will, unfortunately, watch the event from home. But the team accepted the loss as a learning experience and believes they can still win a major event this year.
Anthony “mummAy” DiPaolo and Jake “kaboose” McDonald spoke with Hotspawn after their defeat against Version1. Despite the disappointing result, both players stayed positive and elaborated on how the team will learn from its mistakes and come back stronger. They also shared their opinions on Astra, Breeze, and how they think NA can dominate on the international stage.
Hotspawn: How are you feeling after that last series?
mummAy: As a team, I think we recognize the many mistakes that could of netted us the win. We’re definitely going to go back to the drawing board and fix what we’re noticing. Version1 is a great team, so it’s nothing to take away from them. They played really well. We gave it our all, and it’s only up from here, you know. We’re going to recognize our mistakes as a team, check over the vods, and just fine-tune what we have.
Kaboose: It was pretty heartbreaking to lose in that fashion. You know we got dropped to the lowers in the first game, which shouldn’t have happened. Cloud9 is a pretty new roster. Floppy hasn’t been playing VALORANT very long. So we had that match-up that we really just needed to win because we favored really well against NRG as well, who would’ve been our next opponent—so dropping that cloud9 series, having to claw all the way back from the loser bracket, pretty brutal. The tournament could have gone way different for us.
Hotspawn: How did you prepare for Version1?
mummAy: It seems like a lot of teams are having one or two comps they can pivot to, so we didn’t prep in the sense of anti-ing. We just had a good idea of what they were going to do, how they were going to play, certain things here and there, and we prepped but stayed true to our game. We didn’t do anything too over-excessive to play into their strategy, we just stuck true to what we know and what we wanted them to do. They had great answers to everything. We just have to brush up on our CT side and get some more rounds on there.
Kaboose: We did a lot of preparation for all our games. For V1 specifically, we had a lot of pretty big tells on them. You know what they’re going to do when they’re going to do it. Even in the match, these tells were proving to be correct. They just had a lot of really great rounds individually out of players. I think on Ascent, Zellsis got two 3k’s while in his Phoenix alt. It plays like that that really closed out that third map for them. But we did a lot of preparation for V1 specifically.
Hotspawn: What was the biggest issue on Split?
mummAy: We had a really weak CT side on Split. We didn’t get the Operator in play as early as we would have liked, which probably would have had more impact and got us a few more rounds to net us the win. But we recognize that after we dropped the ball and didn’t get the Operator. Next time we’re going to try to get the Op into play a little earlier and try to get some impact out of my op so that we can get these early first bloods and just fall back and get some value out of our setups.
Kaboose: Splits been really weird. We were probably considered the best, if not the second best, between us and Sentinels on Split. We had a really strong record. I think this Astra and Viper meta and a lot of teams are throwing in Sage as well, is kind of changing the way the map plays. Kind of affecting we play the map as well. So I think the current meta is really messing with our Split, and we need to find a solution to become dominant on that map again.
Hotspawn: Talking about the current meta, Astra has come to the forefront as the preferred Controller on many maps. What are your thoughts on that Agent, and do you think she is appropriate for VALORANT?
mummAy: I think Astra is definitely an Agent that changes how things are done from a tactical FPS standpoint. Personally, I think it’s good to have something like that to keep it fresh and keep people adapting. I feel like she’s strong, but she’s not necessary. I think you can get away without using her. But you have to understand if you’re using her that you need to make sure that you’re using her towards her strengths and that your team needs to develop a strategy around her. She’s very disruptive for the enemy team. She can intrude and take away a lot of the timings that people are used to if people are defaulting and they don’t have Astra. It just changes the playstyle of teams.
That’s where you can think like alright, if a team is using Astra, as a team versing Astra, you have to account for the Astra plays. We can play these timings correctly, and we don’t have to worry about not being used to this situation. I think she is a good addition to the game, and I think people are adapting to her really well. Maybe they can fine-tune some things like placing orbs before the start of the round and having a little more harsher cooldowns to make it less oppressive. She’s interesting, and I don’t mind the variety.
Kaboose: I said this in the last interview, and I am going to sound really salty because I just lost, but I really, really, really, hate how Riot is handling this. First and foremost I think Astra is extremely broken. She can assist anyone across the map, which is ridiculous in itself. Her position doesn’t matter. She can help no matter what.
On top of all that, she has five orbs, which, when you’re on a default on your offense side, your mission is to bait out utility and get information. It doesn’t matter how much utility you bait out because when you go for that site execution, there is still going to be that one orb that Astra has left. All it takes is one orb. They suck you on your execution, they throw a nade or a shock dart or viper molly, it just seems very, very impossible to properly default, effectively bait out utility and then hit an execution. Omen wouldn’t be able to do what Astra does for sure. You can bait out his smokes. You can bait out his flashes as well.
When he has his flash out, he is pretty useless. But Astra has five orbs, and you can’t bait out all five. It’s pretty disgusting meta wise and I really hate how it got kind of just got thrown in before big tournaments as well. Kind of the same thing they’re doing with the new map for Iceland. They’re throwing that in with a month to prep. I think that’s ridiculous.I think that is really going to take away from the event. I really just don’t like how there are these big changes before events. Viper most recently, even after Astra, they made Viper extremely strong a week before the tournament. I think that is really, really lame.
Hotspawn: Speaking of Breeze. Outside of the effects it will have on Iceland, what are your thoughts on the map in general?
mummAy: I think there is a lot of angles in the map. For me, as an Oper, it seems like an Oper paradise. I’m definitely looking forward to being able to Op on the map and play Jett and float around and see where I can get picks. It’s definitely a wide-open map with a lot of angles. It would be nice if they could adjust some of the angles. Kind of revamp it like they did with some of the other maps. Not revamp; just go over the map and take away a few unnecessary angles and corners or 50/50s just to make it a little easier from a tactical FPS standpoint.
Sometimes when you have too many angles, it’s a little ridiculous and takes away some of the strategy because you can’t really clear a lot of the stuff. But it should be interesting to see how people adapt and figure out where the value comes for the Agents. I’m looking forward to double controller comps or even no duelists comps on that map. We’ll see how it goes.
Kaboose: I think it’s pretty cool. I haven’t got to play on it too much, no scrims as well. So I think it will be much different to see how it plays in a team environment. I’m kind of waiting on that to really judge the map. We’re not really going to Iceland now, so it’s fine, but I feel bad for the teams that are attending that have a month to re-up their game. There are tons of vods from the tournaments they just played. Every team just played so many matches, especially the ones that qualified for Iceland. So not only do they have to come up with new stuff for the other maps, but they also have to learn this map completely. I’d say that’s pretty bad—no clue on how the map plays at the moment.
Hotspawn: do you think the North American teams going to Iceland will be successful on the international stage?
mummAy: Absolutely. I think a lot of NA teams have a lot of talent, and they’re definitely contenders to be some of the best interregional teams. We’ve got some strong aimers in NA, and we’ve got some really confident players that can play well in a team setting, and that could carry them out internationally. There is quite a few teams that can carry out the NA torch internationally. I’m just looking forward to playing the international teams later down the road, hopefully, for the end of the year VCT global LAN event. But I think NA is definitely a top contender.
Kaboose: It’s definitely biased, but I would say they’re going to be dominant. I would say the only region that can compete would be Europe. It would’ve been interesting to see Vision Strikers. I know they got knocked out, so we won’t get to see what they bring to the international table, but I really feel like NA is the most dominant region. Every CS player, even at the top level, pretty much came to VALORANT. We just have so much talent and so much org support since the very beginning, you know, day one, these orgs were signing players. I think NA at the moment is more ahead of every other region.
Hotspawn: What steps are you going to take to improve individually and as a team going forward?
Kaboose: We just got to keep on the grind. We’ve been putting in a ton of hours. Most teams say we’re one of the most hardworking teams. We just have to keep grinding and fixing mistakes. Eventually, we will get our win in a big event like we really should.
Hotspawn: Do you think teams should play more than one match a day?
Kaboose: From a player, two best of threes in a day is definitely a lot. If we won our match versus V1, we would be pretty exhausted going into our game against C9. That would be a really big disadvantage for us. I know schedules, you can’t have tournaments go too long, but I definitely think two best of threes is too much for a player. It won’t be the best VALORANT possible. I think for an event like this, it’s the first LAN, there are only two spots, and you grinded multiple qualifiers to get to this point, it just seems very bad for one team to play a three-hour best of three while the other team was watching that game, warming up, stuff like that. It’s definitely something that should be changed, but I’m not sure if it can.