Esports.gg got the chance to speak to T1 Xeta following T1’s win over Global Esports.
The 2023 VCT Pacific League is moving into its third week of competition. And just like their League of Legends counterparts, T1 sits amongst the leaders with a perfect 2-0 record thus far. One of the critical components in the T1 success so far is Son "xeta" Seon-ho. The Korean star returned to his home country after leaving Cloud9. Following their opening game of the split against Global Esports, esports.gg caught up with Xeta. Xeta spoke on his return to Korea and also his preparation heading into the VCT Pacific split.
Xeta on returning to Korea and playing for T1
Being able to play on T1 as a Korean player is a privilege that few players experience in esports. T1 is a global giant in the world of esports, dominating both the Korean League of Legends scene and the international stage. Ahead of the 2023 season, Xeta got the opportunity to return home to Korea, where he would be traded with Rahul "curry" Nemani. The former would be heading to T1, marking a return to Korea for the first time since 2020.
Xeta spoke to us about the honor of playing under this prestigious banner, we also asked him if playing for T1 in Korea adds a different level of pressure.
It's always an honor to play in the title [of T1] so sometimes I can feel pressure of course, but because of the fact that we are improving really fast in my opinion, I don't really get pressure, I feel like our improvement speed is beating pressure for sure I believe.
Xeta was moved over to Cloud9 Blue following the disbandment of C9's ' Cloud9 Korea' roster - a sister team that competed in Korea's VALORANT circuit before the launch of the VCT. From there, Xeta would find his competitive footing with Cloud9. C9 in 2021 would reach the quarter-finals at the first-ever VALORANT Champions.
Xeta spoke about his delight to be returning to his home country but will miss North America. "Coming back to my home country is really good, but at the same time, I will be missing North America as well because I left a lot of great people [there]"
Preparing for VCT Pacific opponents
T1 is off to a great start in the VCT Pacific league - the South Korean roster is currently tied for first place with a 2-0 record, taking down Global Esports and Talon Esports. The domestic league is a new experience for every team. With many players and teams coming from different regions, meaning scouting data can be limited.
In the Pacific League, eleven countries are represented, with multiple regions taking part in one of VALORANT's premier domestic leagues. With limited appearances from some of these squads at VCT Masters events, it must be very difficult for teams to currently scout one another.
Xeta spoke about the difficulty of scouting for their opening opponents.
For [scouting] the Pacific Region to be honest I'm relying on the data that I used when I played against some of them when I was playing Counter-Strike and when I was on C9 Korea for now.
T1 has come a long way since VCT LOCK//IN, where they were convincingly swept by FURIA 2-0 in the opening round of the tournament. T1's new roster did not look like the cohesive unit many were expecting early on, but things have certainly improved over the past few weeks. Xeta spoke about the massive improvements his team has been making, also identifying where they need to step up.
"The progress we've shown in VCT LOCK//IN compared to versus GE and in scrims is enormous. Right now for improvement, I think for us it's important to fix our fundamental mistakes, to play as a unit, and don't give opponents many chances to get rounds secured."
Xeta and T1 return to action when they play Paper Rex this Saturday, April 8.