G2 Esports’ valyn wants to be the IGL standard in VCT Americas cover image

G2 Esports’ valyn wants to be the IGL standard in VCT Americas

Esports.gg had an exclusive interview with G2 Esports’ valyn after he led his team to a debut victory at the VCT Americas Kickoff tournament,

Most of G2 Esports was on The Guard before their arrival in VCT Americas. The latter org failed to claim their spot, but G2 stepped in to give the team a home after the players valiantly fought through Ascension. Now, Jacob "valyn" Batio and company have their very first VCT victory, in their debut no less.

It was a tough series against KRÜ Esports, that tested valyn's ability to lead in-game, and tested the might of G2 as a whole. In three maps, they claimed the win. Afterwards, we chatted with the G2 IGL about the team's arrival in the league and how he hopes to proceed.

Valyn on prepping for VCT and wanting to be a one-of-a-kind IGL

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"That was quite the welcome to VCT Americas. Despite some of their results over the years, KRÜ is never a team to underestimate. What kind of fight were you expecting from them?"

Valyn: "I was expecting, honestly, the fight that we got today. No easy match. We have to earn every round. In terms of player pop off performance, I expected the players from KRÜ who dominated today, like Keznit, to dominate.

"Because those are star players that are inevitably going to get a lot of kills. The practice focus throughout the week was just to play disciplined, make sure we're tradable, try to mitigate the star a little bit. That's what we went on, what we did today, and that's why we came out with a win."

"It was a super close game. Are you happy with the results? Is a win a win?"

Valyn: "For us, a win is definitely a win. Obviously, you can say you want to get it cleaner, but as long as you get the job done, the job's done. In terms of one match, and especially in a bracket like this where you don't have any chances to lose really to make it to Madrid, I don't care how we get dub. As long as we get it, right? We live fight another day, and hopefully we can look a little cleaner going into next week."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"Well, let’s talk about the maps a bit. You had the Brimstone pick on Icebox. As opposed to other Agents, what value do you think he brings to the map?"

Valyn: "I think it's good plant denier with the molly, and post-plant of course. It's a map that you definitely want to try to get deeper map control when you hit bomb sites, like B for example. If you only have one Controller, it's pretty hard to fight.

"You can just get molly spammed the whole round. So, it's kind of nice to be able to have those smokes, so we can scale out more. The Ultimate for post-plants or for site hits are nice. It just felt pretty good in practice right away.

"And honestly, that match was going really well for us. We just couldn't hold our A defense. So, if we get some more protocols on the A defense and try to lock that down a bit, then that game wouldn't have even been close, in my opinion."

"When it comes to Sunset and Ascent, a KRÜ win on either meant a G2 loss. As the team’s in-game leader, what do you do to make sure the plays called are those meant to win, rather than simply avoid losing?"

Valyn: "I tell my team to just chill. It was a warmup game, our first VCT game in two years. Take a deep breath. Sunset is a good map for us, so we just treated it as map one. We're going into map one, let's 2-0 these guys.

"And from there, I feel like I'm pretty confident and pretty chill during the game, so I'm able to call rounds around winning instead of not to lose. I feel like I have a good process for calling, and my teammates listen. They're really good at listening and they shoot very well. That's the recipe for success."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"The Americas region is known to have some of the best in-game leaders in the world. As a new IGL in this league, are you doing anything to innovate how you call games, to stand out from the rest?"

Valyn: "I'm just trying to find my own way, to call my own play style. Everyone's different, right? I don't need to look at others, or look at other teams, or other IGL's to try to improve, because that's how they read you. When you learn from someone else, it's easy for them to call against you.

"And so I'm just working with JoshRT and my team to develop my IGLing even deeper into my own play style. Like, 'That guy calls like valyn,' or, 'That guy's learning how to call from valyn.' Not anyone else. If I can continue to improve in that way, then we'll be a team that no one will know how to play against or read."

"From Tier 1, sticking together with the core in Challengers, and now back for another taste of Tier 1 after winning Ascension. Whether it’s schedule, talent, organizational support, what would you say are the biggest differences between your time in Challengers compared to now being in the VCT?"

Valyn: "I would say in Challengers, we had a lot more room for error just because there were so many games throughout the year. Really, as long as you made it into playoffs, by the end of the year, all that mattered is that playoff bracket to get you into São Paulo. Then winning São Paulo.

"It was a slow start for us and we had a lot of mistakes that we could learn from, so we can get in form by the end of the year. That's all that matters. But in VCT, every match is important, especially with the championship points being a new concept.

"We just have less room for error honestly, and it's a bit more pressuring, but at the same time. it's even more fun and that's what we're here to do. We're here to have fun and play the game and win some games."

(Photo by Pavilhão Pacaembu/Riot Games)
(Photo by Pavilhão Pacaembu/Riot Games)

"What about that Challengers experience then, with the length and tough schedule? How did that help you prepare for coming to the VCT?"

Valyn: "We just had so many matches played, and especially we weren't looking good in playoffs to make it to São Paulo. I think, I can't remember correctly if we lost our first game or if we won our first game and then lost the second.

"But we went into the lower bracket very early in playoffs and if we lost another game, we're out and we're restarting. No one cares about you. And so, that pressure of going through the lower bracket into São Paulo, into winning Ascension, was just a process that developed a lot of confidence within the players and the team.

"It built our trust even more, that no matter if our back is against the wall, tough odds, lower bracket, whatever the case may be, we can always bounce back. And today was a result of that. We were down almost every game besides early Icebox.

"It was all about just crawling back together, trying to get it together to close it out. And I think it stems from all the way back when we had to go through the lower bracket of Challengers. The pressure doesn't faze us."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"With this being your first year, we’ll end with a two-parter. What do you feel like the ceiling is for G2 in 2024?"

Valyn: "As long as we continue to improve every day in practice, and continue to build confidence within the team, I think the sky's the limit. I think the margin of competition is very slim. Teams aren't that much better than each other. If we can come out and innovate a bit, tighten up some of the mistakes, then what's stopping us from being the next champions? Nothing."

"And what kind of results would leave you at least satisfied?"

Valyn: "It's hard to feel satisfied, at least for myself. I'm always looking for the next win, just because that's how I am as a competitor. But I would say, at least a little confidence boost for us, some weight off the shoulders, is if we qualify for Madrid.

"As long as you make it there, then it's like, 'Alright, the first job is done and now we're at least in Madrid.' And from there, it's about winning the tournament. Anything in less than that would be very dissatisfying."

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