NRG’s young star, Sam “s0m” Oh, spoke on the win over Evil Geniuses, overcoming Pistol rounds, and what it will take to qualify.
The rarity of a team winning handily in the VCT NA region are slim. NRG, with some bumpiness at the end of Icebox, showed up and played relatively mistake-free Valorant in the win. Clean, efficient Valorant, Sweeping EG and eliminating them from the NA LCQ in the process.
For NRG’s Sam “s0m” Oh, who ended the match with a 258 ACS and 1.48 KD, it was all built on playing smart. It was about putting s0m in advantageous situations through utility, leading to a perfect half for NRG on Bind. EG had no answer for plant denial and NRG took full advantage of s0m’s fragging and entry ability to win rounds.
Interview with NRG s0m
Q: Congrats on the win. I wanted to start with the attacking half on Bind. EG in Stage 2 had a 61% defensive win rate on Bind, but you guys found seven straight plants and converted them into seven-round wins. What was working on the entry and defending EG’s retakes?
s0m: "I think we were manipulating well at the beginning of the round. We were kind of just holding, letting them make their move. We were just avoiding certain ults, avoiding Chamber Op or whatever it is, and just kind of went to the weaker side every time"
Q: Outside of the second half of Icebox, it was a pretty clean win. You guys won 66% of the full buys (71% on Bind). Was this a good matchup stylistically? Did you wake up feeling good?
s0m: "When we played them last time, I think most of us were pretty confident going into the match. We’ve made a lower bracket run before at the last VCT LCQ, so I think we just kind of knew we had it in the bag throughout the game"
Q: EG’s pistol round win percentage was at the top of the VCT NA, but you guys had little trouble in the pistos today. Did you discuss a counter to EG’s pistol?
"So, right before the match, we were all like let's just make a pistol on the fly and do something random every pistol. We lost so much that we’re just random at this point and it paid off"
s0m: "We talked about it, for sure. We didn’t win a lot of pistols even from the last event and the last match we played. So, right before the match, we were all like 'let's just make a pistol on the fly and do something random every pistol.' We lost so much that we’re just random at this point and it paid off"
Q: Moving on to Bind, you were minus in first kill percentage, but +10 in overall KD. What was working in the mid-round on Raze to open you up for kills?
s0m: "I don’t know for sure, but I think we surprised them with the Sage because I don’t know if they’ve been scrimming against Sage. But, they played a lot slower than we thought, initially, and then they ended up speeding up the pace. I think when they were playing slowly it helped me just get into the positions that I needed"
Q: On top of that, did Ethan on the Skye over the Breach help?
s0m: "I think we get more freedom with Skye. There’s more range for us. We don’t have to be restricted to playing both on the same side. We can Skye dog or Skye flash through the smokes, TPs, etcetera. For us, at least Skye is what we wanted to play"
Q: On Icebox, Ethan was boosting you with the Sage wall to set up elevated angles. You ended up with that nutty spray transfer to get a 3k. How much room for innovation is there with Sage on this map?
s0m: "We definitely had a plan of doing it this match. We knew that they knew we Sage wall planted from our last match so we kind of just expected them to break the wall and we decided to boost someone up the majority of the time and cover the plant"
Q: The game plan vs EG was on point. How big was Josh (head coach) in prepping for this series?
s0m: "Josh and even our assist coach Tony. They put in a lot of work for us. It gives us a lot of free time to just focus on our aim. They find us lineups. They prep us well for matches. Without them, we wouldn’t be here."
Q: It was a clean 2-0, but they did push it to overtime on Icebox. What happened in the second half of the map to let them back in the game?
s0m: "I think eventually we wanted to just kind of disrupt them when we had the lead. I think it was 12-8 or 12-9. We wanted to, I guess we got antsy or we just wanted to disrupt them basically, and we kind of went over our boundaries. We died to lurks and we lost map control. We took a tac pause and we started going back to like our default setups"
Q: The rounds after the tac(tical) pauses for you guys more often than not ended in a round win. What makes NRG sp good after the pause?
s0m: "Obviously, momentum and everything counts for tac pauses, but I think when we use our attack pauses it could be for mind games or it could be were switching something up or we’re just doing the same thing. So, I think attack pauses are really good for us."
Q: It’s been seven months since NRG last faced Cloud9 in an official VCT match. I’m sure you guys have scrimmed them, how do feel your styles match up? And is there a player you guys will focus on?
s0m: "We’re mentally prepared to make this lower bracket run. We did it last time and we want to make something like that happen again. But, against Cloud9, we only scrimmed them, but, yeah, I guess the only player I’m looking out for is leaf."
Q: Follow up, you guys have had some success in the losers bracket before. How confident are you in having to win four straight to qualify?
s0m: "I mean, four more games…it seems like a lot but we’ll take it one at a time. We’ll go one game at a time and just do our best every match and prepping for those matches, I think we have a good plan. Practicing every day and I think the build-up for it is going to be sick"
Headline image courtesy of VALORANT official twitch page.