V1 effys and vanity on wippie: “He’s just so calm. He’s ice-cold”
After a close loss to Sentinels to open the VCT NA Challengers Finals, the Version1 VALORANT roster has responded with two impressive wins over Andbox and NRG. The team is doing a trial by fire with Maxim “wippie” Shepelev, and he’s had an impressive start to his career in V1. On map one against NRG, he dropped a staggering 30 kills over just 13 deaths with Viper on Split.
Following the team’s win over NRG, both Loic “effys” Sauvageau and Anthony “vanity” Malaspina sat down with Hotspawn to chat. They discussed how they adjusted to a late roster change, what changes they made between their opening loss and now, and what wippie brings to the team as a whole.
Hotspawn: A curveball heading into this bracket with PLAYER1’s departure after your wins at Challengers One. What was the team’s mentality like heading into such a big event fresh off such a sudden change?
effys: It was really a mix of things. Yes, there’s a new player, but it’s less complicated to bring in a new player [to VALORANT] compared to CS because the meta is always evolving. So right as PLAYER1 left, wippie came in, but also Astra came in, and the Viper buffs came in. We had to reinvent ourselves anyways. There are still communication and teamwork issues that the team is working on, but it’s not like CS, where it’s from scratch.
vanity: It wasn’t completely unforeseen, but I think it was a change that was kind of necessary because I don’t think PLAYER1 really fit into the style I like to IGL in.
Hotspawn: What’s impressed you the most about playing with wippie?
Effys: He’s just so calm. He’s ice-cold. He’s not afraid. He just makes plays. He’ll walk through a smoke when it’s 11-12, match point. He just doesn’t care.
Vanity: We had okay clutch players, but I think wippie is a lot better than what we had. PLAYER1 was a good player, a solid player, but I don’t think he was exactly what he needed. Wippie brings in a lot of versatility and playmaking that I think we were lacking.
Hotspawn: What’s been the biggest obstacle to overcome so far?
Effys: Comms are a bit rough between him and me sometimes. Both of us have kind of an accent, so it’s a bit hard to understand each other in 2v2s. But it’s mostly been pretty smooth.
Vanity: Comms is the biggest thing that always needs work. It’s just getting acclimated to new players and learning how to express themselves. It’s about learning how to talk to certain people because you can’t really treat your teammates all the same, and some people respond differently to types of criticism. Everyone’s going to respond differently.
Hotspawn: Yesterday, you started on the losing side of Sentinels in a close 2-1 but rallied with a win over Andbox. What was working against Andbox that wasn’t there against Sentinels?
Effys: I think we played with a lot more confidence. We’re a team full of confident players. Actually, we switched our team composition between both matches. We weren’t feeling our Haven composition against Sentinels, so we just YOLO-ed it against Andbox. We had a strong start then because we had Penny back on Jett and Zellsis back on Phoenix.
Vanity: In the match against Sentinels, we realized what we needed to change. We weren’t taking initiative. Given that I play Astra, I can’t really see what’s happening, so the people together have to talk. Because I can tell them what to do, but on Astra, I’m just guessing because I can’t see much of what’s happening. Given how strong her kit is, it just doesn’t make sense to take individual fights.
Hotspawn: Wippie was tremendous on Split vs. NRG, with an impressive scoreline and the final kill in a retake trade, and a big clutch late on Ascent too. Did you expect to see this kind of heroic performance from him this early?
Effys: I didn’t know what to expect from him. I didn’t get to play CS with him, but my teammates were confident that he was an insane player. We didn’t even run a tryout; as soon as PLAYER1 said he was going to leave, they said we’re going to play with wippie. We didn’t think about anyone else. I knew he was going to step up when he was needed.
Vanity: I know he’s one of the more talented late-round tactical FPS players in North America. He was the same way in CS, but he never got offers from legitimate organizations, so it doesn’t make sense for him to pursue that full-time. But it’s an opportunity that will benefit both of us in the long run, and it already has so far.
Hotspawn: A dominant start to map two for Version1 VALORANT on Ascent. Was it composition or coordination or duel-winning that elevated you above them early?
Effys: Everything was clicking. Zellsis was having a great game, and when you’re Phoenix is having a great game, you’re pretty much playing 6v5 every two or three rounds. Not only were we up 8-0 and they only had like six or seven kills combined. We were denying every orb, taking fights early, and just didn’t let them get going.
Vanity: You hit like a flow state where we’re doing everything with confidence. Obviously, Zellsis had an incredible performance that helped bring us over the finish line, but everyone had their moments here and there. That’s what makes us such a strong team. Our talent is pretty deep, and we have players that know when they’re feeling it and are confident in themselves.