Casters, analysts, and hosts Velly, Upmind, and Sully are embarking on a podcast On The Flank that will explore the VALORANT esports scene.
VALORANT's relatively young esports scene has been characterized by the presence of veteran talent from titles as well as the proliferation of new talent. This is not exclusive to players, the entire scene as grown exponentially in the past year. The broadcast talent surround VALORANT events thus far have been led by both the community and seasoned commentators. The casting trio of Gustavo "Upmind" Franco Domingues, Ethan "Sully" Tran, and Loviel "Velly" Cardwell have been around nearly since VALORANT's inception. Together, the three are forming a new podcasted titled "On The Flank".
This podcast covers a wide array of topics within the VALORANT esports ecosystem. Their first episode, which aired on Velly's Twitch Channel discussed topics such as the Redbull Campus Clutch event and the upcoming VCT Closed Qualifiers. With plenty happening the future of VALORANT esports, the list of topics is unlikely to shorten.
The Faces of On The Flank
Going through the three members of this newly minted podcast, their consistent presence in VALORANT esports has given them insight and expertise in the scene. Upmind and Sully are well known for their casting duo in VALORANT. The two have casted countless events under the breadth of both in the VCT and other tournaments. Velly similarly has hosted a majority of VALORANT's iconic events, such as Masters Reykjavik.
All of the members of this podcast however have made waves across various different titles and esports scenes. Upmind is a decorated caster that has worked in CS:GO, Super Smash Brothers, and various traditional sports as well. Sully similarly casted for CS:GO events before switching over to primarily focus on Riot Games' tactical shooter. Velly is a well established analyst and host for several FPS games, including Call of Duty and Rainbow Six.
The podcast debuted this Monday with new episodes expected to come out weekly.
The future of VALORANT LAN
The new crew started off by discussing the future of VALORANT's LAN events. This came in light of offline tournament held by Red bull in Madrid, Spain. In terms of trash talk, VALORANT has seen plenty of Twitter fights but little has translated over to the (few) LAN events held thus far. Upmind gave his opinion on the future of VALORANT LANs in this regard, saying "When it comes to CS LANs, we had old people. There was a level of maturity at those LANs which was helpful". VALORANT's young esports history and general player base may discourage the same level of trash talk.
One thing that the On The Flank podcast members did agree on was the immediate improvement of broadcast and casting. Upmind became on of the relative few casters to work a VALORANT event in-person. Sully himself stated that "I always felt my casting was better on LAN than online. When I heard Gus on LAN, I thought 'this is just the start'". The most hype moments in esports are fueled by the energy of a crowd and the immediate, physical presence of players and the action.
Xset's Current Form
Later on, the 'On The Flank' trio discussed the various teams still in the VCT race, stopping to speak on Xset's current form. Xset have had plenty of ups and downs over the past year, but notably snapped Sentinel's remarkable winning streak. Velly mentioned Bryce "PureR" Lovell as one of the scene's best Jett Operators at the moment. Speaking on the team generally, Velly proclaimed "They look like one of the scariest teams I've seen in a long time". Whether or not Xset can keep up this form remains to be seen. Though Xset have always threatened to contend at the top level, consistency will be key if they want a ticket to Berlin.
The competition is certainly not slowing down either. Teams such as TSM, FaZe, T1, and more have shown vast improvement. As Upmind said on the topic "To me, Xset can only go up, but you have to realize other teams can catch up too". As teams have swapped around rosters and roles, it seems many are finally starting to click. Xset's path won't be easy, but their seeding will certainly give them a head start.