SUMN FC: “We Want to Prove That We Deserve to Be a Signed Team”
The European side of VALORANT’s First Strike has a surprising number of un-signed teams reaching the upper echelons of the tournament. After a solid victory against the Purple Cobras in the European First Strike quarterfinals Domagoj “doma” Fancev, James “mistic” Orfila, and Kostas “tsack” Theodoropoulos of SUMN FC sat down with Hotspawn to discuss the rise of the UK VALORANT scene, why they chose to bring Viper back into their composition, and their keys to staying focused during their run.
Hotspawn: A lot of United Kingdom representation here at First Strike, in fact it has the highest representation of any country with almost a quarter of all players. This is a region that never obtained a huge presence in CS:GO, so what does it mean to have this huge UK presence in the early days of VALORANT?
Mistic: It’s a good thing. In UK Counter-Strike people got gate-kept, and they didn’t really get the chance.
Tsack: When the game count out, everyone wanted to go hard in it. Originally, Sliggy (Team Liquid’s coach) wanted to make a team with me and Kryptix from Fish123, so I was pumped for all that. That fell off, but I know in CS the [UK] scene wasn’t that good, and the VALORANT scene is 10 times better. Everyone in CS was a bit toxic, no one was committed, but now everyone [in VALORANT] is trying to be professional.
Hotspawn: SUMN FC faced off against a fellow roster that’s looking for an org to represent, one of four at this tournament. Does having a plethora of other teams looking for orgs add to the pressure to compete well? Is it motivation?
Mistic: Exactly, it’s definitely a motivation. We want to be the best of the unsigned teams, we definitely want to prove to ourselves that we should be a signed team. Don’t get me wrong, all these other unsigned teams are decent, but I think at the moment we’re simply better.
Tsack: Originally when we saw all the teams that qualified, we were worried about the competition org-wise. But we didn’t focus on orgs or signings at all, and we just practiced to just win and be better.
Mistic: We have this thing of not mentioning offers, orgs, or anything like that, and just keep our minds set on the task of performing well and winning First Strike.
Hotspawn: Let’s talk about this series and map one, on Bind. You guys ran an unusual strategy of playing with no duelist agents, switching doma from Raze to Omen, and having mistic bring out Viper. When did you guys make the decision to swap it up and what prompted it?
Mistic: Boaster had the idea of working around Viper like 2-3 months ago. We actually used this comp in the early days of SUMN FC, but we weren’t using it well so we went back to the drawing board. Boaster and coach mini re-worked everything and found that it’s quite viable.
Tsack: We were on that comp for two months now. Right after we stopped playing tournaments to prepare for First Strike we started running that comp.
Doma: The idea for Viper came from Boaster during beta; he wanted to play Viper in every team he was in. Now he finally got the chance to convince us to play it, and it didn’t go that well at the beginning. But after losing one game to the future FPX roster, we decided to swap to our [at the time] new comp: Mistic on Brimstone, me on Raze, Tsack on Cypher, moe on Sova, and Boaster on Breach. But then everyone realized how we play with that comp, so Boaster decided to bring out back Viper but with me on Omen.
Mistic: The original idea was to test doma on Viper.
Mistic: But because of his aggressive nature we realized that wasn’t going to work. At first I wasn’t used to playing Viper, but it only took me 3-5 days to start enjoying her.
Doma: It was the same for me on Omen. I was actually supposed to play Brimstone but Brimstone is boring. So they put me on Omen, which is better for me because I can do aggressive shit with him.
Hotspawn: Are you worried perhaps that maybe you gave away this strategy just a bit too early? Given how easily you ran through Purple Cobras, is it a concern that you might have revealed this card in your hand too soon?
Mistic: At the end of the day I don’t think the teams have enough time to prepare. And the things we did today were specific to playing Purple Cobras, and we usually adapt to other teams.
Tsack: We all assume FPX is going to win the next game (which they did), so they probably thought we were going to win. I think they’re going to be ready either we.
Mistic: The reason we didn’t reveal this comp earlier is because we haven’t played Bind in First Strike at all. We got really lucky.
Hotspawn: Doma – you obviously love playing agents that fit your aggressive style, and we saw that on Haven when you played Raze. When you’re in a close map like that where it’s tied at halftime and you’re trading second half rounds, do you pull back on the aggressiveness a little or keep going full throttle?
Doma: It kinda depends on how I started the game. If I get a 4K like I did against Cobras, I’m going to be feeling it. I’m just gonna take lots of duels, take lots of fights, but it depends how I’m feeling.
Hotspawn: Do the rest of SUMN FC still get surprised by anything he does?
Mistic: No, not at this point. I see him running around the map and I see the killfeed and see doma kill, doma kill, doma kill, and then he died but he got three kills.
Tsack: He’s already in CT spawn if you’re on attack.