Vanity’s humor and humility after eliminating Full Sense from Champions with a ninja play belies the fact they are the only NA team remaining.

At the final round on Breeze, not even Cloud9’s Anthony “vanity” Malaspina could believe what was happening. It seemed to be easy pickings. As Viper, he simply walked up to the spike, started to defuse…and then just won the game. His grin said it all; a grin that was accompanied by an insidious giggle when asked about this ninja maneuver post-match.

“I kind of saw where the spike was planted. And I was like, ‘Guys, I think the round’s over,’” Vanity said, continuing to grin. “I thought they’d try to shoot the defuser or throw a utility, but no. I was just laughing, I was mindblown.”

Adaptation was the key

However, Vanity was sure not to underestimate any opponent, especially FULL SENSE as it truly got down to the wire. Cloud9 had a lot of adaptation to perform in order to secure the victory, despite being confident in doing so.

This was more apparent when Cloud9 wasn’t sure what to do against FULL SENSE’s slower playstyle. 

“I think we sometimes struggle against slow teams,” Vanity concedes. sometimes we like, On Split, they’re playing really slowly. We’re completely shutting them down. But on Breeze on defense, it’s kind of hard to be super consistent. It’s one of our more inconsistent sides on any of the maps.”

Image via Riot Games.

“But sometimes things like that happen. And FULL SENSE had really good site executes. So it kind of caught us off guard because we haven’t played teams that go that slow. I think RISE was probably the closest but I think they had some really good stuff on Breeze. They really impressed me more than I thought they would.”

“We were pretty confident going into it. I mean, they surprised us obviously; they took us 14-12 on Breeze,” Vanity admits. But it’s just like I said before. I think it’s kind of difficult to play against international competition for the first time since different regions have different game styles. But I think we did a good job at adapting and we closed it out in the end. So that’s all that matters, really.”

A Whirlwind Tour During a Pandemic

For such an explosive win, even for Vanity it’s hard not to show humility when in such a short time, he was able to play at not one, but two LAN events since being signed to Cloud9 back in August.

“I didn’t really expect to get here in Valorant like this quickly. I know I have the capability of competing at international events, but I’ve attended two within my first year of transitioning [from CS:GO]. Thank you guys for everything. Seriously, the support is mindblowing. I didn’t really expect it, to be honest. So thank you, guys.”

Image via Riot Games.

On a more serious note, COVID-19 is still ever-present, and with the scare that happened at the beginning of the tournament, it wouldn’t be surprising if this took a toll on players’ and staffs’ mentals. Vanity was no different, yet was able to see the forest for the trees given how his situation is much different than others.

“I think the biggest thing with COVID for me personally is like the lack of ability to go to the gym or go outside or, I don’t know. It’s kind of hard mentally to just be stuck in like the same two rooms. But it is what it is, dude. I’m only here for three weeks. I can get through it.”

Humorous Backstabbing

Despite this, there is still humor to be found as Vanity and others are convinced that he holds a rather unusual record. When asked what had happened when he was nearly knifed AGAIN by FULL SENSE player Nattawat “SuperBusS” Yoosawat, even he couldn’t understand why he was the newest target, yet embraces the trend started by his former teammate, FNATIC’s Jake “Boaster” Howlett.

“I don’t know, man, I think I think this guy missed his knife on me?” Vanity asks with a laugh. “I’m not sure because I heard something behind me. Maybe he tried to run into a knife or missed? I’m not really sure. But I think I’ve probably had the most knife attempts on me out of any player. So that’s kind of like a world record or something.”

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Brittany "briggsycakes" Gonzalez

| Twitter: @Briggsycakes

Brittany Angelica Gonzalez, a.k.a "Briggsycakes" is a lifelong gamer and history addict who enjoys using her knowledge of socioeconomic issues to provide a necessary insight as to what needs to be done to make gaming a safe space for all. Having been a published writer and journalist for over seven years, she enjoys cooking, pole dancing, a nice glass of red wine, and getting involved in all sorts of good trouble to hopefully inspire other people to stand up and fight.