The Sova specialist talks about what drew him to the Russian archer, how RISE was able to shut down Cloud9 Blue, and why Odin Gaming™ is the key to victory.

At the bottom of rankings with 50 VCT Circuit Points, RISE surprised everyone by keeping their feet on Cloud9 Blue’s necks. Not even a power outage stopped them from taking the first map in OT the next day. And after making even more of a statement by crushing on third map Haven, 13-4, which gave them the series, things are looking bright for the underdog team who faces 100 Thieves in a few short hours.

We were able to speak with Derrek “Derrek” Ha, the Sova specialist who believes in one philosophy: If you want something done right, you sometimes have to do it yourself.”

Brittany “Briggsycakes” Gonzalez, A lot of your plays really sealed the deal even though Sova isn’t exactly the flashiest player. What drew you to Sova?

RISE Derrek: I actually wasn’t a Sova player when I first started playing VALORANT. Back when Sage was ran on every single map, I was a Sage player. After I left Triumph, I decided to play Sova because I saw there were too many Sovas at a top tier level that didn’t really know how to use his util right.

I was watching shock darts flying around across the map not hitting anyone. And I’m like, “Man, these things are just like, that’s 90 damage. That you can like just use for free.”And you got two of them. And back then they were 100 credits each. So I think just the fact that there weren’t too many good Sovas, and just trusting myself to be good with his utility drew me to him.

Briggsycakes: Getting more specific, on point B [of Ascent], [Kevin “poised” Ngo] gets a 3k on on point B and after that, [Ryan “Shanks” Ngo] goes through the Cloud Burst to help out. As you died, you shot a Recon Dart on the point which it was able to help Shanks find the final player. Did you mean for that to happen?

RISE Derrek: Oh yes, I think I do remember that round. If I am in a bad position, or if I’m going to be dead soon, there’s really no point in me just saving my util; I’m just gonna throw it. The thing about the Recon Dart is if even if I throw it a foot in front of me on B site, they still have to shoot it, they still have to clear it, and my teammate will get info even if I’m gone.

Briggsycakes: You basically had control the whole time and it was mainly because of you and your attacks from heaven. What was your mentality going into that?

RISE Derrek: We definitely weren’t scared coming into any of these matches so far. We were very confident in our play. We knew we’re gonna win against these two teams. It all came down to playing our game. Like I said, leaf was definitely the scariest factor in all these matches. He’s VERY sneaky and gets into spots where you don’t expect him.

There was one round where he was on B as an attacker and he killed three of us. We had no idea he was there. I was even droning because we had an idea that there was someone going to be on B, but we just didn’t know where he was. We really have to slow it down and make sure we clear everything out. Once we dealt with leaf, it was a piece of cake.

Sova is a popular pick for the RISE player. Photo via VALORANT.

Briggsycakes: I’m a huge fan of you generally because of Odin Gaming. Now that you’re facing 100 Thieves, who I presume is gonna know this is gonna happen. How are you going to be able to utilize the Odin?

RISE Derrek: Yeah, so here’s the thing about the Odin. If a team is playing in a spot where I can abuse it, I will definitely use it. But if they’re not playing in those spots, I will never use it. It really comes down to if I see them. On Ascent, if they’re heavily taking B main control, that’s definitely a case where I can use the Odin and I can spam if they’re trying to come in. But if they’re playing more towards A and mid then I might stay away from it.

You saw on Haven where I would pick it up initially because leaf and a few members of Cloud9 were pushing mid off the start as attackers and I would just spam the window. That would actually chip them or I’d get a kill off of it sometimes.

Coming into this 100 Thieves game, they’re one of the teams that is definitely gonna be more of a challenge for us, them and XSET. But if we played like how we did today, I think it can go definitely go our way.

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Brittany "briggsycakes" Gonzalez

| Twitter: @Briggsycakes

Brittany Angelica Gonzalez, a.k.a "Briggsycakes" is a lifelong gamer and history addict who enjoys using her knowledge of socioeconomic issues to provide a necessary insight as to what needs to be done to make gaming a safe space for all. Having been a published writer and journalist for over seven years, she enjoys cooking, pole dancing, a nice glass of red wine, and getting involved in all sorts of good trouble to hopefully inspire other people to stand up and fight.