Acend’s new reality of being VALORANT Champions is slowly sinking in
The 2021 VALORANT Champions reflect on their year and how their underdog status secured their victory.
And when asked how they feel, as with any historic achievement, BONECOLD admits that it didn't even feel real.
"I mean, I think it's one of those things that, you know, just doesn't come to you in a day or two, I really feel like it's going to hit us hard once it does."
Rest, Relaxation, and Reflection
"We're going to take a break from practice," BONECOLD continues. "You know, there are no scrims, there are no official games. I feel like that's the point when we can just look back at the run and reflect on what we have done."
"We've been through lows and highs. Mostly highs, lows, so it's nice. But yeah, like huge shout out to the fans, to everyone that was supporting us throughout the year. And no matter what, without them, you know, it doesn't really make too much sense. Right. So, so thank you all and yeah, onward and upward."
Making history does have its perks and it does have its drawbacks. For Acend, it's having to return next year knowing that teams will be gunning for them in hopes of winning that trophy. Having that target on your back could cause a lot of pressure. But does Acend feel that pressure?
Zeek doesn't think so. "This will not stop us from still growing as a team and as players and that will not affect our gameplay negatively for the next season. And we will fight for our title again."
What also helps is having a solid mental. With a mental coach identified only as "Thomas," their weekly sessions provided them with the fortitude to allow them to press on, even after a disastrous performance on Fracture.
BONECOLD expressed the importance of this, which very much explained Acend's very easygoing reaction after dropping the map. "I feel we have we've had more weekly sessions with our mental coach and every single one of them has brought us more more together. We've had one-on-one sessions with all the players and I feel Thomas has made us more mature. "He made us learn how to handle all the pressure."
"Coming in, I feel he is the man in the dark who doesn't get any recognition but has done the most amazing job to make us the team that we are right now."
The Underdogs No Longer
"It's almost felt the same. We won Masters 1, we played solidly in Masters 3. There were a lot of people that didn't really believe in us winning. And we came from groups to quarters, even to semis as a massive, massive underdog really helped us. So we didn't have any pressure at all facing Liquid and we came here to play against Gambit, like the other ups and downs in the series.
But we never lost momentum. We never let it get to our nerves. It helped us a lot and you can see what happens when we just play without pressure and we just play for fun."
"Believe in your teammates." Acend reflects on lessons learned
"Don't give up," starxo states. "And believe in your teammates."
Kiles says, "And keep evolving. Under pressure, game after game."
"Adapt to every situation," BONECOLD offers.
"You don't need strats!" Zeke replies.
Nbs gave a more nuanced answer: "Honestly, during the tournament, it was clear to see from the many different teams that even though a team could be better, there are like a lot of external factors being played. You know, the pressure. So it's really, really hard to perform to your fullest."
"And I think to win it all you have to deal with that pressure. I'm very happy with how the guys dealt with it."