Envy’s newest acquisition for their VALORANT lineup Yay speaks to esports.gg to talk about his new team and how he grew up through esports.
Envy is the most consistent team in North American VALORANT, but this consistency stems from their troubles to break past this fourth-place curse at events.
Yay won the title of the best esports athlete at The Game Awards 2022.
Now, Envy is back in familiar territory against XSET where they have an opportunity to create or repeat history for themselves. A loss against XSET means another fourth-place finish, but a win means qualification to Berlin alongside Sentinels and 100 Thieves. The pressure to perform is insurmountable for the Envy lineup, but for new roster addition Jaccob "Yay" Whiteaker, this is a moment for him to smile. Envy Yay, who previously played for Andbox Gaming for nearly a year, joins Envy looking to showcase this team's ceiling while also being the person who can add to the atmosphere.
In this interview, we speak to Yay to talk about joining Envy, how this team plays around his strengths well, and his overall growth in perspective through esports.
Sage Datuin, esports.gg: What has it been like switching over to Envy from Andbox?
Envy Yay: The environment is really great. I am really happy playing with these guys. They are really chill and enjoyable. We all get along really well. We have similar senses of humor and it is a really great transition. I love playing for this team.
Sage: Does it help that you have people from CS:GO so you are entering a team where it is not all new faces to you?
Envy Yay: I definitely think that helped a lot in being able to ease my way into the team. I also worked with FNS for almost a year on multiple different teams. Prior to joining, I already had an idea as to how he would call games and his style of leadership. I knew Envy would be a great place to go.
Sage: What would you say is different playing on Envy compared to your time on Andbox?
Envy Yay: I think the difference is that our players are more instinctual. They understand how to support my playstyle better so that I am best set up for success. We also have players who are extremely talented individually. You can argue that they can be the best at their own role. You have Crashies who is known for his Sova and you can argue each player on Envy is very valuable. They know when to help me with flashes and set me up to succeed. I would say that is the main thing that I find helpful being on Envy.
Sage: It seems like you are around people who can best utilize your strengths.
Envy Yay: Yeah, they really know how to play towards my strengths as a player which is really comforting. I can always rely on them for the perfect flash or the perfect dart. Whatever I need to succeed on this team, I know they will be able to do that for me. Because of this, I am able to make more plays. It is all a good experience so far.
It isn't that I feel more confident. Regardless of utility, there are times where I just run it down and die. I take those engagements regardless of utility being there. The only difference is that I run it down, but I have utility now! Laughs We have people who can flex agents more on this team as well now.
Sage: I want to talk about Envy and this fourth-place curse. Many people often consider them the second-best team in NA. From your perspective, what do you feel happens to where they are unable to reach that ceiling?
Envy Yay: It could be a multitude of things in all honesty. I have not been with the team very long to fully understand why that is though. It could’ve been a poor meta for their strengths. Maybe it was all in their head and they were putting unnecessary pressure on themselves. Individual talent or raw ability could even be a factor. It might even just be a combination of trying to find a coach as well. Honestly, I can’t really pinpoint it.
Sage: It seems that you are a really positive personality to have on the team which is very fitting for your name. Is positivity something you feel helps you?
Envy Yay: That is a tough one. I have gone through tough moments in life where I was not the most positive person. There were times where I was not the best person either. I think for me, I always try to learn and reflect on my own actions. The question I always ask myself is what type of person do I want to be? Whether it be as a player or how I deal with personal issues. It is important for me to always reflect on how I can improve as a person. Whether it be depression or rough patches, I do my best to notice the things I do have in life.
When you just have negative thoughts nonstop all the time, you are going to be a negative person overall. Now, I am just doing my best to be happy, and I think people should do their best to see good in life. That is why I always do my best to stay positive and keep hope alive. It also helps me believe in myself and my own abilities when I am not performing well.
"When you just have negative thoughts nonstop all the time, you are going to be a negative person overall."
Sage: I really enjoy that perspective. It seems like accountability is a big thing for you now.
Envy Yay: I think it is really important to always reflect on your past actions. Keep an open mind about scenarios where you feel the other person is wrong. It is important to at least spend time figuring out how I could handle that scenario better and gain perspective into different types of personalities. Am I where I want to be in my career? And if not, what changes can I make so I can eventually achieve those goals for myself. Questioning yourself a lot leads to becoming a better person in-game and outside of esports.
Sage: When you first began in esports, did you struggle with accountability? When did this mindset shift take place?
Envy Yay: I think for me, early on. I had too much ego before and I only saw the world in one way and I did not really consider other people’s perspectives. I was raised a certain way and that worldview was the only vision I had. Anything else just felt wrong to me and did not understand why other people would think otherwise. It took time to shift away from this mindset fully. Meeting people internationally and working with different teammates helped me really hammer down on accountability more.
Being able to move out of my hometown to really experience different perspectives really helped as well. Some of these traits I used to have were not great and after meeting others, I began to question where this all stems from. What is the reason you are feeling this way and what was the trigger behind feeling this way? Seeing the world more through CS:GO really helped me grow as a person.
Sage: It seems like esports really helped you develop into a person who is better at dealing with different personalities and gaining perspective.
Envy Yay: Yeah for sure, I would say I still struggle with certain aspects of the things I preach. I am not the greatest person nor am I this positive person all the time. I have my own personal struggles that really bring me down sometimes. Still, as long as I can recognize these things and understand these moments pass, that is what counts. Even if I am not always positive, at least I am doing my best to live a great life.
Sage: Do you have any final words moving forward with Envy?
Envy Yay: Thank you so much for the support you do give us. It really means a lot to us all. It means the world to me and your guys' support actually helps motivate me to achieve my own goals. I want to be the best one day and it is a goal of mine to make it to Berlin and eventually the VCT Champions. I can’t thank everyone enough for that. Hopefully, we can continue this lower bracket run. [Laughs]I personally believe lower bracket runs make for better stories so hopefully, we can pull one through and break this fourth-place curse.