RISE Valorant IGL Poised seems confident heading into the lower bracket of the VCT NA Challengers Playoffs.
The VALORANT Champions Tour has reached its third stage in North America, heading towards Berlin and the last Masters competition of the year. This is one of the last chances that North American teams are going to have to make an impression on the national stage, and that's exactly what Rise did last night. While they did fall to Sentinels in the opening rounds of the event and now face a length lower bracket run, they did manage to snag a map from Sentinels, who are widely considered to be the best team in the world at present.
This has given Rise Nation (or just RISE? It's unclear from their branding) a bit of a Dark Horse status in this event and a team that many are expecting to make a deep run at this tournament. With friendship, a bit of luck, and a confidence boost on their side, we had the chance to catch up with RISE IGL Kevin "Poised" Ngo to see how the team is settling into this event as they now make plans to shock the world yet again.
Dustin Steiner, Americas Editor: After a bit of a struggle as a team, you all qualified for this event as 4th seed. What do you think has changed for you guys coming into this event?
Kevin "Poised" Ngo, In-Game Leader, Rise: I think the biggest thing that's changed is just getting that match experience as a team because we're still relatively fresh as a five-man squad, Supaman just joined a month ago or so. The more matches we play, the more and more together we feel and the cohesiveness just gets better. I think that's the main thing.
Steiner: How has Supaman been fitting in on the team?
Poised: The transition with Supaman so far has been very easy, to be honest. Shanks and I already played with him on Dignitas and the chemistry has always been there. The fact that the whole team is Vietnamese, so it just naturally came together. We have fun during practice and it's sweet.
Steiner: How was your confidence coming into this match today, and did morale shift at all as things started to take a turn for the worst in the first map?
Poised: We came into this pretty confident. We definitely believed in ourselves, but we also knew that we didn't have much to lose coming into this event as an underdog. So we tried to keep that mindset, we knew they were insane, let's just try and get it rolling. The first map was pretty bad, but we only had a week on Breeze, since we scratched Icebox. Even though we lost badly the first map, we knew that was their pick and we don't have much experience with it. It's whatever - we lost 13-3, we came back the next map and stomped them. Hat's off to them though, they played a really good Bind. Not going to lie, the way they scaled on sights together is just really hard to hold and that's why they're the best.
Steiner: But you did manage to take a map off of Sentinels. Does that give you a confidence boost heading into the Lower Bracket matches?
Steiner: What other teams are you looking forward to playing against in this tournament?
Poised: Honestly, I'd love to play XSET and get that revenge for beating us in the earlier qualifiers. FaZe again, they took the seeding match - mostly those two teams. We'll see how the bracket plays out.
Steiner: Was it intimidating for you as underdogs to have to go up against Sentinels in the first round, knowing that they have this aura as the best team in the world?
Poised: Personally, it's not intimidating to me because to play a professional sport you have to have an aura about yourself that you can kill anyone you want on the server and be the best player. I wasn't nervous or worried at all. If you want to be a pro player, you can't be worried about any other player and that's just how I look at things.
Steiner: That's definitely a good attitude to have. You mentioned it yourself, that you're underdogs, and I take it you agree with that sentiment. Do you think that fans and especially other teams underestimate you as a result?
Poised: I do think they did, but it's understandable since the roster is pretty fresh. We came out of almost nowhere, the next up-and-coming team, the next rising team. Over time we kept proving ourselves over and over again, I think over time we've earned that respect we thought we deserved. When the players on the team came together, I can be honest, we always knew we were going to be top 10 in the world. We had no doubt that we would be top 10 with the five we have. People don't know that because we aren't the most popular players, so to the world we were, but we never thought we were underdogs, for the top 10 at least.
Steiner: Do you take some satisfaction in making a statement in taking a map off of Sentinels, kind of putting everyone on notice?
Poised: For sure. If there was any doubt, the fact that we can take a map off Sentinels should negate that doubt.
Steiner: What do you think Riot could improve with Valorant, competitively?
Poised: I think the biggest thing they could change is to not make every wallbox wallbangable. I know the last patch they made the Radiant box even more wallbangable and I think that just takes away a skill factor from the game which isn't good for competitive play.
Rise will look to make a loser's bracket run today as the team looks towards accumulating points for the VCT NA Last Chance qualifier. Their first opponent in the loser's bracket will be TSM, who are in a similar position to Rise.