BOOM esports IGL, fl1pzjder, spoke about the team’s potential, the APAC region and shared his thoughts for their loss in the debut match.
Valorant Champions 2022 is the first time BOOM esports is playing on an international stage. As such expectations from the team were low, especially as their first opponent of the tournament was OpTic. Drawing one of the strongest Valorant teams in their debut international match, BOOM surprised fans with their performance all the way to three maps. However, in the end, OpTic emerged victorious and the final map was a rather one-sided affair in favor of the North Americans. We caught up with BOOM esports’ Saibani "fl1pzjder" Rahmad after the match where he shares some of the reasons for BOOM’s loss in that series. At the same time, he’s proud of what his team has accomplished and promises a much better showing in the future.
BOOM esports won the first map, Breeze, after multiple overtimes. The players were aggressive and would often have the right read on OpTic’s playstyle. However, the team faltered in the next two maps, eventually losing the series.
"I think we feel a bit sad because of how we lost the game," recalled fl1pzjder. "But also at the same time we can be proud of ourselves and make us believe that we can do it. Because it's our first game on the international stage and it was against one of the best team OpTic. I think we feel sad, but good in the same way."
The constant tussle back and forth during the first map highlighted the APAC team’s mental strength. Playing in their first international tournament, their approach to the game fuelled their belief which was a big reason for their victory on Map 1.
I think our mentality was like, we just played to have fun on the stage. You know, like, this is our first game. This is our first LAN, just having fun. Even how we lost the overtime game, right? The first overtime? We still believed that we could do it because the score was so tight. And then we all believed that we could win the first map.
Giving opponents too much respect
It’s no doubt that BOOM esports was the underdog against OpTic. The FNS-led team has won several international tournaments and has always been one of the strongest teams in Valorant. For a relatively inexperienced team such as BOOM, their biggest mistake was that they accorded too much respect to their opponents.
When asked if BOOM were giving OpTic a bit more respect, fl1pzjder was quick to correct me.
"I would say not a bit, we were giving them too much respect, because you can see like 2v4 we lost 1v3, 1v2, those are the kinds of rounds we shouldn't lose. And then we lost the round. Because we were giving them too much respect," BOOM fl1pzjder told me. "Yeah, I think even if we play like us, I can guarantee you we're not gonna get stomped as we were in the third map. I guarantee you we're gonna be a close match when we play like how we used to and then there is no small mistake that costs us the round."
I guarantee you we're gonna be a close match when we play like how we used to and then there is no small mistake that costs us the round.
The 23-year-old in-game leader has a dynamic leadership style. He describes his leadership style as somewhere between the strict control over his players and giving them complete freedom. He is also known to mix their strategies up quite a bit. In the match against OpTic, there were moments when BOOM would play very slow and burn the clock down. At the same time there were rounds when BOOM would storm on to a bombsite and have complete control in 10-15 seconds.
"I think all of us [BOOM esports] play well. (thinks). Not good but all of us can do better than what people think we can do. But it's just I think, the respect we are giving others, is killing us. Because this is how we are not supposed to play. We can be better than this."
This mix of aggression and slow play allowed BOOM to have a slight advantage over their opponents.
Is this the final BOOM form?
Considering the expectations off the APAC team, the team definitely delivered much more. However, fl1pzjder believes there is a lot more potential to BOOM. The team recently added Famous to its Valorant roster and they have been working to improve their synergy and performance since.
"I think we still have space to grow. Because as you can see, Famous is not having a great game, this series. And then I might say that for myself too. Because I really believe the two of us can do much, much better than this. I think this is not our full potential, we can do better than this."
He also highlights his personal performance, which he feels was not as satisfactory. When all the players start performing to their full potential, fl1pzjder believes BOOM will break new barriers.
Thoughts on the APAC region
For us, in BOOM, we get a lot of advice from people like, Benkai, Crws from XERXIA. [...] Don't try to be like European team or NA team, just just be yourself. You can do it. That's what they told us.
In the past few events, the APAC region has consistently sent several teams to the international Valorant tournaments. These teams often deliver and have had exceptional performances against other regions. Paper Rex finished 2nd in the VCT Masters 1 Copenhagen, falling to FPX in the Grand Finals. Other teams like Team Secret and now BOOM esports have also left an indelible mark on the Valorant scene.
There is a constant flow of ideas between APAC teams. For BOOM players, they have been in touch with players like Paper Rex Benkai and XERXIA Crws who gave them tips on how to handle themselves on the international stage.
"For us, in BOOM, we get a lot of advice from people like, Benkai, Crws from XERXIA. They they tell us to just play our game because how we play in APAC is not bad at all, you know. So don't try to be like European team or NA team, just just be yourself. You can do it. That's what they told us. And then we just play like how we used to. It's just that at the moment we were too scared in the second map and third map that make us lose. And then we had so many big mistakes as well."
Speaking specifically about the APAC region, there is a lot of potential for APAC teams says fl1pzjder. The firepower is there, the teams just need to have a better outlook and finetune their approach to the game.
"As long as they can improve their gameplay. And then I might say make the mentality and aim sharper. I think I have so many scary teams in the APAC region, because we have, we all have the aim to do it. I think personally from what I felt now, the APAC region just doesn't have the mentality, don't have the mindset to do it. You know, like the right mindset on how to play a proper game."
Thoughts on Zeta Division: The next matchup
BOOM esports face elimination in their next series. They will play against Zeta Division, one of the best Japanese teams that has found fans all over the world with their playstyle. Zeta Division finished 3rd at the VCT Masters Reykjavik, losing to … OpTic Gaming in April.
"I think they're a really, really good team. Especially on Master 1. I think when they got 3rd place, they were really playing good. And then I still think they are good as a team, but from what I felt, I'll just talk about our practice. When we practice against them. It's not like we cannot beat them. We can win against them, I might say we can beat them 70% of the time. But yeah, let's see. Let's see when we meet later."
Fl1pzjder ended the interview with a message for fans back home.
"For the BOOM fans, thank you so much for supporting us and I hope you guys keep believing in us and then supporting us. Because I guarantee you guys we're not going to play the same way as we play against OpTic. I think we can do better. At least we can do a lot of damage to top tier teams. I really believe so. And I hope especially Indonesian people, support us and have our back."