After a sensational pair of victories at the VCT NA Last Chance Qualifier, we had the chance to sit down with newly minted IGL Nitr0 of 100 Thieves to chat about his new role and the issues facing the event so far.
In what's already been an eventful North America Valorant Championship Tour Last Chance qualifier, Esports.gg had the chance to catch up with Nicholas "Nitr0" Cannella
, IGL for 100 Thieves.
100 Thieves have had an impressive debut despite dealing with rampant server issues on day one of the event. Nitr0 himself showed poise in his first official matches as IGL for 100 Thieves following the departure of Joshua "Steel" Nissan. Not only that, but he packed incredible power in the OP role in the matches against both Gen. G and XSET, racking up 248 ACS against XSET and 207 ACS versus Gen G across six maps.
We talked to Nitr0 about how he's settling into the IGL role, the server woes of day one
, as well as Steel's departure from the roster.
Nitr0 on Team Dynamics
Dustin Steiner, Americas Editor - Esports.gg: You came back to the IGL role with Steel's departure - how do you feel about the switch?
Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella, IGL - 100 Thieves: It's just a lot of getting used to I'd say. I've only had about two weeks or so of practice. Since I departed Liquid, the last time I IGL'd was early 2020, so it's been over a year and a half. A lot of it is just getting used to it, getting into the rhythm, communicating my teammates’ names, and saying what I want out of them. Working out a system of communication that gives me information in the way I want to hear it. It's been really fun, and I think I'm getting better every day at it. I'm kind of just taking baby steps and getting the confidence back. I'm also playing Jett, so there's a lot of pressure on my shoulders playing the OP role. It's just learning and learning from mistakes.
Steiner: Do you prefer not IGLing? In a previous interview, you'd indicated it was less stressful.
Nitr0: I was IGLing here before Steel took over. I wanted to just chill and be a secondary caller when he came in, but I think at the end of the day, IGLing is what I'm meant to do. It took me a while to finally realize that. On Liquid, it wasn't that I wanted to do it. But it kind of just happened in 2016. It grew on me. I'm not a natural leader, I'll be the first to say that, but a lot of it is just learning and repetition. It helped me become a "leader" out of the game as well.
Steiner: What led to the decision to bench Steel?
Nitr0: I think it was a clash of styles with the team that burnt the bridges with the team, so to speak. We don't have any bad blood with Josh [Steel]. Everyone kind of knows when the team needs a change, everyone gets that feeling. It's hard to explain unless you've experienced it. The main thing was a clash of styles, though, that was the biggest part of it.
BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 17: 100 Thieves' Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella (L) and Spencer "Hiko" Martin at the VALORANT Champions
Tour 2021: Stage 3 Masters Quarterfinals on September 17, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Lance Skundrich/Riot Games)
Steiner: How has Boi been fitting into the roster?
Nitr0: Personally think he's been doing really good. His role on the team is based on his utility and less on being a star player. It's more just making sure he does the correct Astra stars and Viper play. I think he has really good comms and that's his biggest contribution. He can fill in the gaps well and notice when someone needs help, and being a good teammate overall. I think those are his biggest attributes.
Nitr0 talks server woes of VCT NA LCQ
Steiner: It was a sudden switch, or it seemed sudden to you guys I'm sure, with not using the LAN server and using these virtual servers that Riot has chosen to employ for this event. How has the experience been using those and how do you feel about how the change was communicated?
Nitr0: I had no idea we were playing online servers until the match time. For me, it was a hit in the face. I was like "Wait, what?!" There's nothing we can really do about it, that's more of a Riot thing, I don't really even know what to say about it. I don't even know how that's a thing, to be honest.
The servers were lagging, we were having problems throwing our utility out. Sometimes we'd drone, and his [Hiko's] screen would turn black and he would be glitched into a wall, then he'd rubber band out of it. Sometimes the server would freeze for 10 seconds and the clock would keep ticking. There was a bunch of technical problems because of the online servers. If it was on LAN, in theory, it'd be smooth sailing.
Steiner: Do you think that the results today would have changed at all if you had been on LAN?
Nitr0: I can remember three rounds specifically where it affected the outcome of a Round. I don't think that would have changed anything really [in terms of overall results], but it would have changed those specific rounds.
Confidence heading into the rest of VCT NA LCQ
Steiner: It seemed like XSET and Gen G both pushed you guys a little bit. Does it seem like teams were more prepared for you coming into this event?
Nitr0: I wouldn't say so, I feel like it's a lack of them having VODs to watch. All the prep that we did was us prepping for ourselves, and we didn't know Gen G's comp going into that match. We had a good idea of XSET's though. We had to play our game, with two weeks of practice. They've had three months. In my head, I figured they had pretty good stuff. Good protocols, defensive strats, pushes, all these sorts of things. I was expecting a really close game and that's what we got.
Steiner: How's the team's confidence heading into the rest of the NA Last Chance Qualifier now that you've seen the teams?
Nitr0: I think we actually played our hardest matches that we're going to play so far because Gen G and XSET haven't played in three months so we had no prep going into that. The next team we play, we'll be able to watch their stuff and study them, see what they do, their comps, and can actually prepare for them rather than just prepping our own game. I'm really happy we came out today with two wins, I think it's really important that we came out with them. Now it'll be "easier", but in reality, we know it won't be easy. We'll just have a better game plan.
Steiner: How do you think Fracture is going to fit into the map pool meta once it debuts?
Nitro: I'm not sure. In my opinion, completely without scrimming it or theory-crafting it, I feel like a lot of teams are going to try and ban it because it's such a weird map. But I feel like if you have Fracture in your back pocket it's going to be a super good map to have in your pool. Just the way the map is designed, it's not a traditional FPS map, it's just a different style. So I think I'm going to try to look into that.