FNS on the Evolution of Envy, High Expectations Going Forward
Exactly a year and a month after the original roster was signed by Team Envy, the VALORANT team now surrounding in-game leader Pujan “FNS” Mehta is completely different. First, they added two refugees from the first failed T1 VALORANT experiment, Victor (then known as food) and crashies. Then in the past month and a half, they went all-in with some new elite talent: Marved on loan from FaZe Clan and the Jett superstar in the making in yay from Andbox.
Already Envy is in a good position going forward. They’ve ensured at the very least a high seed in the NA Last Chance Qualifiers for Champions, and they’re one win against XSET away from securing a spot in the Masters Three Berlin. Before their match against XSET, after their victory against FaZe, the Envy in-game leader sat down with me to talk about their keys to winning versus FaZe, how the roster has evolved, and what expectations he’s set for them.
Scott Robertson, Hotspawn Esports: What would you say was the biggest challenge that FaZe offered you and how did you guys overcome it?
Pujan “FNS” Mehta, IGL for Team Envy: The biggest challenge was just even going into that game because, you know, in our heads we know we’ve never beaten that team and in their heads they know that they have always beaten us. That plays into it a little bit in the mental game because you want to get off to a good start versus a team like that. When we get into the game, we have a very easy time playing against people now. We have a lot of confidence in each other as individuals. And as a team, we understand what we want to do. We have a specific game plan. Everyone listens to what I have to say and we have a lot of synergy now. Even if it’s FaZe or anybody else we’ve just gone in with the same mentality that we should be able to win this game.
Hotspawn: Whether it’s their playstyle or their agent composition or just their players, what specifically has been giving you guys trouble when playing FaZe?
Envy FNS: Their style is just really difficult to read; all five players are extremely unpredictable. It doesn’t matter what agent they’re playing, they’ll always just do random things, and by random, I mean random to us as in unpredictable. I think it’s a huge counter to us because I like to try to read my opponent and they’re very unreadable sometimes because they play very reactionary and that makes it very difficult to play against them. They’re just too reactionary for me to be able to read consistently what they’re doing, and that just that makes it hard for me to call versus them. And it also makes it hard to make a correct decision versus them.
Hotspawn: You’re leading a completely different roster than the original one that was signed by Envy last year. What’s the most noticeable difference between this previous group and the new one that you’ve seen from the IGL position?
Envy FNS: The obvious thing is just the upgrade to firepower. The other players were great players, but they simply didn’t have that tier one experience from Counter-Strike, for example. They didn’t have insane mechanics by any means other than maybe like Calypso and mummy, and kaboose as well now that I think about it, he was insane. I would say just an upgrade in mechanics but also just overall good decision-making, that’s the biggest difference is the decisions. We play a little bit slower. With this team, I can leave someone in a bomb site and I’m always expecting two kills from that person. You know, every change we made and every change that I’ve personally tried to make on the team has always been mainly like decision-making related.
Hotspawn: Something that’s been missing has been that elite game-changing Jett player, and it looks like you might have one now since adding yay. What does having that presence do for the team as a whole?
FNS: I mean you can look at his impact right away. You see that he has like 18-21 first kills on average during Bo3 matches, so that alone helps me call a lot better because we get a lot of entry kills and we’re able to manipulate rotations a lot better than before. So it’s definitely a massive thing to have a Jett presence like that because teams are consistently afraid of him. And I think that makes it very easy for the rest of us to kind of help him and also play for ourselves as well and help each other get kills because he’s just a force in the server that people focus on him and lose focus on the rest of us. But the fact that we’re all individually strong players, and that any of us could pop off at any time, he knows that it’s not all on him and I think that makes him really comfortable as well.
Hotspawn: Did Marved lend any insight or expertise on how to play versus FaZe prior to today’s match?
Envy FNS: The one thing he did specifically say during one of the pauses was not to focus on what they do and just to play our game. I thought that was a very important message to send to the team during a timeout when we were down 0-5. He made it very clear: don’t worry about what they’re doing at all, don’t focus on them, focus on our team. I think that’s one of the things that he brings as a leader. I know people see me as the IGL but a lot of the players on this team can take over that leadership role at any given moment and make calls that win us games. I think that’s something that is huge and I think it helped the team a lot in that we kind of just started focusing on what we wanted to do instead of worrying about where babybay is gonna be or if corey is pushing or not and straying away from our game plan.
Hotspawn: What’s the minimum expectation for this team going forward?
Envy FNS: I would say anything less than Berlin [would be disappointing]. Right now that’s the short-term goal. Losing would be a huge disappointment regardless of the opponent. We understand how much talent we have on this roster. We know we might not have the greatest chemistry with yay, but we understand the talent it there. The four of us have a lot of chemistry, we’ve been playing together for a while now, there’s no real excuse to lose tomorrow. Obviously, the long-term expectation is to just be number one, and I know that’s a cliche answer, but if you look at our lineup, there’s no way I would say [we should be] anything less than number one.