Team Heretics defeated FNATIC to advance to the VCT EMEA Stage 1 Grand Final, and following the series, esports.gg spoke with benjyfishy.

Team Heretics has been on a roll in EMEA all throughout 2024 so far. The entire team, including Benjy "benjyfishy" Fish have shown exponential growth in VALORANT. So much, that they are in the second consecutive VCT EMEA Grand Final series.

They bested FNATIC in the Upper Final to advance, with a close first map and a blowout in the second. Following the contest, we spoke with benjyfishy about how the match went down and the keys to the team's success.

Team Heretics player benjyfish on Upper Final versus FNATIC

(Photo by Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games)
(Photo by Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games)

"We talked during Masters Madrid about the hard work you’ve done to be successful in VALORANT. Would you say it's paid off yet, or not until you’ve got a Masters or Champions victory under your belt?"

benjyfishy: "You know what, I think it's starting to pay off, for sure. These wins are and where we are right now in EMEA, I think it's proving that hard work does pay off. Has it paid off to the full extent? Not yet. That will come once we win Champs or win Masters. A lot of this is all just down to hard work."

"Well, the Grand Final of both regional tournaments so far in 2024. Did your approach to these teams change at all here in Stage 1 compared to the Kickoff tournament?"

benjyfishy: "Yeah, I think so. I think we changed a lot as a team, just in general. We learned a lot. Obviously now, we have a different player. We have Wo0t and you just have to play a lot differently when you've got a brand new player. Wo0t isn't patitek, so, teaching Wo0t everything, finding out what he likes to do, his play style.

"Just stuff like that, I think just changes us as a team, as a whole. The prep and everything we did, we've learned a lot, especially from Masters Madrid. We learned a lot there. And then, yeah, just all the way through Stage 1, we've learned a lot along the way."

"And what about now, looking forward to Masters Shanghai? Are you viewing it any differently than you did Masters Madrid?"

benjyfishy: "We're going to be a lot more confident and comfortable. We realize what sort of mistakes we made, and I think now with Wo0t as well, obviously this is his first time at an international event. I think all of us, we're going to be super confident for it.

"We know we can beat the best teams in the other regions. None of us are going to be scared. None of us are going to be like, 'Oh, we're playing against Paper Rex,' or, 'We're playing against G2.' Nobody's going to be scared. We know we're one of the best teams in the world. We just have to show it."

"Let’s talk about the series now. Huge overtime victory on Lotus. Tell me the keys to success for Team Heretics there?"

benjyfishy: "Sticking to our fundamentals, really. We have very good fundamentals. I think we were shooting very good as well. A lot of us were on point, which does help a lot.

"When you have these good fundamentals, good communication, and you are shooting good, when all that comes together, you just play really, really well as a team. We just played good. We didn't let them know when we were down and we made a sort of a comeback.

"We didn't let it affect us. I think we're quite good at keeping our calm and still giving good energy. Even though we're losing rounds or maybe we lose a dumb round.

"Someone makes a mistake or, I think we lost like a 3v5 or something. It's just making sure that we keep good energy and not let our fundamentals and everything dip. So, I think that's what carried us through."

(Photo by Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games)
(Photo by Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games)

"And how about Breeze? It was a much larger win in terms of the round count. What went right?"

benjyfishy: "Breeze is one of our best maps. Always has been. People have been banning it against us, like they are scared of it. I think we just had a very good game plan on Breeze. I believe like FNATIC even copied our comp, just because of how good we play with it.

"Maybe? Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm wrong, but I have that feeling. I think our reads are just very solid. We have a good game plan. The game plan we made against FNATIC worked perfectly. We just outplayed them, to be honest."

"A team like FNATIC is always hard to beat. They're a legacy team in EMEA. What kind of respect do you have for those players as still a somewhat newer face in VALORANT?"

benjyfishy: "I like FNATIC, as a whole team. I respect them the most out any team in the world. All the players, I respect so much. What I've kind of realized over the past few months is how difficult it actually is to win back-to-back events like they did last year.

"Because even right now, most of our team is really exhausted. Having these constant games, constant practice all the time, and having to play at your peak level, for a long amount of time is incredibly hard. I don't think I realized that. When you're just a viewer, you don't really understand how much time it actually takes to stay at a top level.

"Going through sort of the same thing, obviously we didn't go far in Madrid, but even just going to Madrid and not having much time for a break up until Stage 1, it's been really difficult for us. We've been working through it. And I think we've still kept a good form, which I'm happy with."

(Photo by Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games)
(Photo by Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games)

"Looking at the final stats of the series, playing as Cypher, you had the most kills out of anybody in the server. Tell me about your approach to that role, as well as how your teammates set you up to be able to find success fragging as an Agent you don't typically see do that."

benjyfishy: "I think I'm just very good on the Agent, individually. Just having good setups can help a lot and knowing what my role is, especially on defense. My role on a site, a lot of time, it isn't even to just go get kills. It's to delay the enemy team, to let your teammates come in and help you fight.

"For example, we're on Breeze, I'm on B Site, I'm delaying them with my util, I'm just staying alive. It buys time, for RieNs to come and say 'I'm going to reveal for you.' Or then like Wo0t comes and says, 'Okay, I'm gonna flash as well.'

"And then you have a reveal and a flash. They all get revealed and you can kill them. So, it's kind of just me having to delay on site and my teammates making a plan to help me while I'm defending site. I think we do that really well.

"That's not the way I used to play before, when I was only learning Sentinel. I mean, when I first joined Team Heretics, I wasn't even that good on Cypher. I was basically a Killjoy one trick. So, I think my Cypher has improved a lot. It just comes down to playing it more and understanding what I need to do when I'm on sites."

(Photo by Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games)
(Photo by Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games)

"Last one for you then. The Grand Final has a lot higher stakes this time around. You get a bye at Masters Shanghai, and then you get a chance to pick your opponent coming out of the Swiss Stage. Tell me your thoughts on that format, as well as your expectations for the Grand Final matchup."

benjyfishy: "I think it's very cool. I like how they've done it. It's a cool little twist that you get to pick the team to play against. I think it can make for some cool rivalries. I think most teams will go for the weakest team that they think they can beat, or maybe the team that they think they can anti-strat the most.

"I really like it, to be honest. I think it's super cool. And for the Grand Final, playing either KC or FUT. I think it'll be a very good game, a very close game. But I believe that KC will win. Maybe. I don't know, to be honest. Any team can win. They're both really, really good.

"I think we as a team had a harder time against FUT, but I believe that KC have really high potential. So, you know, we'll see, I guess. Oh wait, FNATIC. FNATIC is still in right? <laughs> I forgot. Okay, you know what I think? Okay, never mind. Scrap that. We're going to play against FNATIC again in the Grand Final."

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