NRG tex: “It definitely feels good to be a ‘heavy hitter’ in NA. I think it’s long overdue.”
NRG’s dangerous Chamber main, Ian “tex” Bosch, spoke about his team rising above the moment to beat Evil Geniuses in the VCT North America Stage Two playoffs.
In a career elevating moment for NRG's Ian "tex" Bosch, his team rose above the pressure to take the close series win over EG in the VCT North American Challengers, lower quarterfinals, 2-1.
In a post-match interview, tex relished the idea of stepping up in the clutch. When NRG found themselves down late on the decider map Split, tex responded with three consecutive first kill rounds and sent EG home early.
For NRG, this is a team who hasn't found much success domestically. The best finish for tex being third in a 2021 VCT qualifier. Top four is the closest NRG has ever come to a Masters berth - two wins away from LAN.
"It's the reason why I compete. I love that feeling. Where every little decision matters, so it can go any way. It's really down to who has the perfect details in the moment."
"We’re learning so much every match, so I think we’re getting better every match we play," said tex. "It definitely feels good to be a 'heavy hitter' in NA. I think it's long overdue. We should've been that a long time ago, but we’ve been really locking it in, so yeah, feeling good"
From the time Ethan Arnold joined NRG after leaving 100 Thieves, the momentum in the organization shifted. Even with Bradley "ANDROID" Fodor making significant contributions to the team, Ethan brought an element of confidence that was lacking previously. The combination of skill, experience, and an extra bit of leadership to the server.
However, the name VALORANT fans should pay more attention to on NRG is Sam "s0m" Oh.
"The thing about Sam (s0m) is he can play a lot of agents. So, the team will think of a comp we think could work and we just kind of slot Sam into that one agent," said tex. "And, he’s usually already really good at it or he gets really good at it pretty quick. It’s nice to have someone versatile like that on your team who can just fill the role"
The less traditional compositions have been winning during these VCT playoffs. Optic's win over EG came off the back of being "unreadable," and throwing out players on agents unexpectedly. The luxury of having tex on Chamber allows s0m to flex onto a variety of agents, opening the door for Josh "JoshRT" Lee to get creative with strategy.
An example being s0m pulling out the Sage on Ascent, choosing to forgo the Raze and Fade meta-composition, resulting in a 13-8 map victory. S0m ended up dropping a 307 ACS on Sage, showing off the power of the comp.
"It makes it easier in the mid round just to have a Sage. Sam really enjoys playing Sage on that map. it's easy to build around," said tex.
As for the strategy, the narrative around EG has been their effectiveness in pistol rounds. NRG lost 4-2 in those rounds, but didn't let EG extend their leads - winning with good half and full-buys. Regardless of the narrative, tex says NRG didn't put any extra emphasis on pistol round preparation.
"We kept it to normal prep. We know their pistols are pretty good but we managed to get a couple off them. I think, one or two, so that felt good," said tex.
"Honestly, we’d think of a play we thought was good in the moment and we’d just call it. We’d just walk up on Boostio or walk the Op down mid. Any plan we created just worked."
The major difference maker in the series being s0m and tex at +22 in first kills. Whether it be the aggressive defensive pushes from tex's Chamber or s0m's satchel plays, NRG were finding early-round fights and winning. I asked tex what was working in those early round engagements.
NRG are already in the VCT NA Challengers 2 top 4. Image Credit: twitch.tv/valorant
The star players for EG, Kellen "Boostio" Pupello and Alexander "jawgemo" Mor, ended -11 in first kills. NRG constantly found small adjustments to make against jawgemo and Boostio, forcing them into low percentage fights
"We would find the early pick on Bind, but the issue was they’d re-exec(ute) and Jaw would satchel back site and kill two people every time," said tex. "He was overly aggressive on the first map, so he disrupted our retakes a lot, but we adjusted to that a lot throughout the series."
NRG gives an aggressive minded risk-takers like tex opportunities to make plays. Against EG, he constantly made plays in positions where a Chamber isn't normally found.
"It’s just a read I have on the game and I’m really confident in my teammates to still win the round even if I do die," said tex. "Usually it's a calculated risk and my team lets me do it. So, if I feel I have a timing, i'll take it."
OpTic Gaming first team to qualify for VCT Champions
With the dominant 2-0 win over Evil Geniuses, OpTic Gaming are the first team to qualify for VCT Champions
Blake Van Poucke
NRG will face scrim partners FaZe Clan in the lower semifinals on Friday, June 24th at 6PST. Stay tuned to esports.gg for the latest Valorant news and updates.
Blake Van Poucke
Editor | Twitter @TokyoDown
Blake Van Poucke is a Valorant writer at esports.gg. He found esports through the early days of MLG and the Super Smash Bros Melee scene. He's been competing and writing about esports dating back to 2008. He has written for several publications and wishes to return to in-person esports events in 2022