RISE were unable to qualify for the VCT Champions after losing the finals to Cloud9 Blue, but they will only improve from here.

Coming in as the eighth seed, very little eyes were on RISE to make any sort of impact during the NA LCQ. However, RISE continued to grow throughout the event. Each step along the way, RISE kept winning. It seemed no matter who their opponent was, their mindset would carry them.

Looking strong and cohesive as a team, RISE made a gargantuan upset, taking down 100 Thieves in the Upper Bracket Finals. Just one series away, RISE were finally no longer underdogs. Unfortunately, in the finals, they were swept by Cloud9 Blue, a team they previously beat 2-1 as their 2021 season came to an end.

RISE are out of contention for the VCT Champions following their loss to Cloud9 Blue in the NA LCQ Finals. And while the current moment is one that will be hard to get through, it is a feeling Jason “Neptune” Tran is ready to learn and grow from.

In this interview, we speak to RISE Neptune to talk about the team’s growth in 2021 and how the only way to become great is to remain hopeful you can tackle any obstacle ahead of you.

This interview was done before their loss to Cloud9 Blue in the NA LCQ Grand Finals.

What has practice been like since VCT Stage 3 playoffs? Are there any new things in particular you feel like you changed the most to make the run you guys did?

RISE Neptune: After that Stage 3 loss, we began to re-evaluate our game and watch the other games back. Something that really helped us was actually that trip to the playoffs that got us here. Even though we didn’t qualify for Berlin, we ended up being able to book scrims against really good teams.

That snowballed into finding better practice so that we could continue to improve. We also began to really build team chemistry as well. Seeing each other in real life. Being able to talk and bond with each other was super helpful. Instantly, we all connected but we just got closer over time. 

We just kept grinding and continued to keep the same mindset because that is all you can do. Especially after a loss. It really sucks, but you need to learn from it. Re-evaluate what your current game is like and the mistakes you made. Then you gotta keep going. Trust it in your own scope and become great. That is all we really did.

RISE VALORANT IGL Poised recently talked about how this team is all Vietnamese. How does that impact team chemistry? Did it help in bonding the team together? Is it something you guys talk about?

RISE Neptune: I'd say it helps like a lot, I wouldn't say it's  the main thing, because I knew Shanks before. We also knew Poised from before, so that already built us a strong foundation. After that, implementing Derrek was quite easy, because he was open to learning. He wanted to be better as a player and to this day, he continues to learn. He also has his own style.

Being Vietnamese helped us become great friends and having something to unite us, but it is not everything. We just all know how to communicate with each other from a mature standpoint. The goal of becoming a great team is something we all share and we know to not get too emotional during criticism.

Mostly everything is for us to get better. That's why we're so good. We're just so comfortable with each other and don't get offended. Everyone's here to grow and do it in a mature fashion. 

Derrek is one of the rising talents of VALORANT and one of the best Sova's in the world.
Derrek is one of the rising talents of VALORANT and one of the best Sova's in the world.

It seems like you guys are really able to compartmentalize the game from your real-life relationships. Since you guys handle stress from the place of really close friends, it seems like that helps you guys listen to each other better.

RISE Neptune: Yeah, there are definitely even times in the game where we can scramble and get frustrated with each other. Especially during stressful situations it can be like that, but we never get to the point where it damages the relationship. Everything is about keeping each other accountable to do what we practice. 

That's what you got to do. In any competition, you have to keep the people around you accountable. If you don't then people start getting comfortable. You know, that's the thing. We're always trying to improve after every game and trying to tell each other what mistakes we could fix.

 "We never get to the point where it damages the relationship. Everything is about keeping each other accountable to do what we practice."

RISE Neptune

You were previously talking about Derrek’s improvements. What has his growth been like since Stage 3 qualifiers?

RISE Neptune: He's always had amazing aim and raw talent for VALORANT.  But I think over that time, he just built the skill of being able to communicate better. It's becoming more second nature to him.

That's one of the biggest things about being one of the best players in the world. They can take initiative and call things and that's what a good player is.

If you have five players who are like that on one team, then in theory, you should be way more consistent than a lot of these teams that are below top five and such. You know how to take initiative, you know how to see rotations and such. That's something that he got way better at, reading and communicating things.

Poised is the igl of RISE VALORANT.
Poised is the igl of RISE VALORANT.

Who are the leaders on RISE who really drive that narrative that a strong mindset through failures is what carries you through?

RISE Neptune: Yeah, I think it's on me and poised. Oftentimes, we're calling those things too. Still, my teammates have their own little confidence. Even if it is not to the extent of myself and Poised because of our age or experience, everyone is developing a strong mindset to not give up after defeat. That's all I need whenever I'm playing.

Even if I'm down. As long as my teammates are doing good, I can bring the team up and that’s all I care about. After every round we lose, we'll say one round at a time. Yeah, we still got this, like it’s nothing and just keep that energy throughout a match.

We're constantly trying to reinforce that mentality. So it's important to stay composed.

"If you constantly think that you can win and put trust in your gameplay and trust in your teammates, you can be one of the best players and one of the best teams in the world."

RISE Neptune

It seems like you guys have a strong mindset towards growth and handling any challenges that come your way now.

RISE Neptune: Yeah, and that's the mindset I had before in a way. If you do show any type of fear or anything towards your opponent that could cost you, that’s when you lose.

Even if you look at boxing, that's how people start to lose and lose their mindset. A lot of this game is mindset, really. If you constantly think that you can win and put trust in your gameplay and trust in your teammates, you can be one of the best players, one of the best teams in the world. You just have to keep believing.

It's like 90% mindset, especially at the top level. 

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