XSET Ayrin spoke to esports.gg in an exclusive interview after their 2-0 victory over XERXIA. He’s looking forward to continuing their win-streak.
XSET started off VCT Champs 2022 with their debut victory on the international stage. The 2-0 victory over XERXIA gave fans an exciting series with unexpected plays and sometimes, a lot of confusion all around. XSET's Jordan "AYRIN" spoke with esports.gg's Rohan Samal after the win, touching upon the team's preparation, the role of star players on the roster and his thoughts on Pearl.
Rohan: Congratulations on getting your first international win. How’s the mood within the team right now?
Ayrin: We're feeling really good. It's our first international win. And, you know, we didn't want to disappoint NA fans. 100, thieves and OpTic won their games. So we're really happy that we're gonna keep that streak going, hopefully.
Rohan: Was there any pressure on you guys coming into the series considering you hadn't got your first international win?
Ayrin: No, there wasn't any extra pressure, we really wanted that win. And, there were some close mistakes we made in the game, but we're going to try and clean that up. And we knew it was going to be a close game. So it was a very close game, they played really well. And, it could have gone the other way, if they had a couple of more good rounds.
Rohan: You guys have been bootcamping for the past couple of weeks right now. How's the mood within the team? And how was the bootcamp helped you in your preparation?
Ayrin: Yeah, when we qualified for Copenhagen, it felt like we were kind of on a shorter timeline. So we flew, we weren't attuned to the jetlag fully. But this time, we made sure to not make that same mistake. The coaches, Sykko, Don helped organize that, along with our management. We flew to Poland for a week.
Coach Don "SyykoNT" Muir (R) and team XSET react with excitement at the VALORANT Champions 2022 Istanbul Groups Stage on September 3, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
And then now we've been in Turkey for another week. So the jetlag is not affecting us, I had a couple of stomach problems. But other than that, we're happy that we took that extra time to come to the event early. [Ayrin confirmed the stomach problems are not a major issue for him and he had mostly recovered]
Rohan: We've been seeing Phoenix picked a little bit more this Champs? What was your reaction to seeing XERXIA pick Phoenix on Fracture?
Ayrin: Yeah, so XERXIA, we did a lot of VOD reviews on them as a squad. And it seems like they wanted to make a lot of changes. So when we saw the Phoenix and we saw the Yoru, we were a bit surprised. But at the same time, we were ready, because we knew that they were going to change something up the same way we were changing stuff up after our loss in Copenhagen. I think the game is heading towards a really, really nice area where you're not always gonna know what the other team is gonna play.
"I think Valorant is heading towards a really, really nice area where you're not always gonna know what the other team is gonna play"
Rohan: Speaking of Phoenix, I think foxz on his Phoenix, had these moments on both the maps where he showed exceptional trigger discipline. On the first map he was watching Neon for nearly 30 seconds. And he didn't pull his trigger and got two kills. And then again, on the second map it happened again when he teleported to your Spawn and got a couple of kills. Looking back at these moments, what was the mood within the team during these rounds?
Ayrin: Yeah, if, to be honest, there aren't many rounds where we were super upset, or, thought we could do way better on. But those 2 specific rounds, you noted, it's weird because like, you're sitting there on the drop on Fracture, and the guy's watching you, so when you get shot, it's like, kind of funny. I think it's funny. Because it's a bad mistake, but it's not something up to 1 or 2 people, we just need to make sure to clear our corners.
"The one they went down mid on Icebox was actually well planned by them, they threw drones, they threw flashes to mask the noise. I even said after the round, 'Wow, that was a good play'"
And the one they went down mid on Icebox was actually well planned by them, they threw drones, they threw flashes to mask the noise. I even said after the round,'Wow, that was a good play'.
Rohan: What can you tell me about your team's preparation for Champs?
Ayrin: I think that the practice that we've gotten here is dramatically better than the practice we've had in North America, but also in Copenhagen. Playing all these international teams and seeing what they've been doing is really helpful because we can see some of these plays, and we can try it for ourselves.
And every team here is great and competition's really close. So for us having that one round that one extra crazy strat or one different strategy is gonna really help us push us over the line like it did today.
Jordan "AYRIN" He of XSET reacts with excitement after victory against XERXIA at the VALORANT Champions 2022 Istanbul Groups Stage on September 3, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
Rohan: I think there a couple of situations when XERXIA just stuck to the full defuse. There was one more instance where, I think, Cryocells was confused as he's taking it? How does the team recoup in such situations where, they pull something off so insane that you don't know what to do? Does it upset you, do you just take it in your stride?
XSET Ayrin: I would say that it's weird in FPS games. There are a lot of defusing the bomb or tapping the bomb is very like in the moment against the team you're playing against. So the first one where I went through the smoke and it was 0.5 seconds, and he got the bomb half. I think that kind of started it. So we weren't really sure if he was gonna stick oThen the third time was like, oh, no, it's like, is it sticking or not?
And then like you saw, it was in the match brought us decent amount of confusion. So there's nothing you can do to really prepare for that. Right? It's kind of the more of the mood of the game. But they did a phenomenal job winning their pistol rounds and doing the post-plant defuses. Like you said, it really caught us off guard a bit.
Rohan: Speaking of pistol rounds, when you guys won the for the second game second round. You guys were shouting, 'Yay. We won a pistol round, we won a pistol round'. How important do you think a pistol round is in terms of the overall scheme? And does it affect you if you cosnsistently lose a lot of pistol rounds?
XSET Ayrin: 100%. You know, there's only 13 rounds. That's it's not like CS: GO where there's 16 or it's best to five. In a Bo1 or Bo3, pistols are essential. So, I don't think anyone is super happy after they lose a pistol round.
So winning that pistol round for us helps a lot. And the game was 13-10. So if they won that pistol could have been 13-11 for us, or, you know, the other way around. Fracture was 13-11. And we won it because the BcJ had the great clutch at the end. We won most of the gun rounds. But they won, two pistols and two anti-ecos are Yeah, so that's 4 rounds - 4 out of 13. That's like, what almost 33%? That's a lot of rounds!
(L-R) Zachary "zekken" Patrone, Jordan "AYRIN" He and Matthew "Cryocells" Panganiban of XSET react onstage at VALORANT Champions 2022 Istanbul Groups Stage on September 3, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
Rohan: There's been some talk about Zekken and Cryo, they've been performing so well. Like they've been doing a lot of heavy lifting for the team, if you could say. Is that good for the team? Do you have anything to say on that?
XSET Ayrin: Yeah, I think there's a lot of narratives regarding different teams and their star players. How it works in Valorant I believe is that every team has the star duelist and star players and they play well. And a lot of is also depending on playstyle. And for each team is different. So for instance, a smoker or initiator on a team might be more passive, right. And his anchored to the site, he's been told to stay alive.
"We've seen it in North America. We've seen it in Europe. When you put the five best aimers and five best shooters on one team. Those teams aren't the teams that win qualifiers. They're not the teams that make it international and do well. But it's what's exciting, right?"
There's a lot of conversations that happen within a team that is not always defined with a scoreboard. I think Rory (dephh), our T-side IGL does a lot of util support. So on Kayo, he'll throw flashes, he'll go through sometimes, but you'll see other Kayos that will simply like, for instance, Asuna, who will go straight through and he's playing Kayo not in a supportive role. No 100% to what you were saying though, that, obviously, we want everyone to be able to have the frags and whatnot.
But at the end of the day, if you get a win, it's a team win. That's what I think a lot of people are not very clear about when it comes to Valorant is that it's a team game. We've seen it in North America. We've seen it in Europe, when you put the five best aimers and five best shooters on one team. Those teams aren't the teams that win qualifiers. They're not the teams that make it International and do well. But it's what's exciting, right?
Rohan: Yeah it's important to know that it is the team actually enables the stars to perform that well. It's not all solo performance. So, Pearl is being played on an international stage for the first time. What are your thoughts on that map and its competitive balance?
XSET Ayrin: We haven't played a ridiculous amount of Pearl. But as you saw here, it seems very good that they introduced, it seems like a lot of teams are opting to leave it open or pick it even as we saw yesterday, and the day before. There's EDG picked it and then we also saw, I think, who else played it, someone else played it as well. So it just goes to show that map pool needs to be refreshed and them doing it for Champions is great.
In terms of like how the map plays out. It's still very hard to see it because there's not many data points to determine like if CT sided or T sided. People don't know the exact good comps but as you saw comps are coming in. People are playing Viper a lot. So it started starting to slowly shape up but I think it's a good map. You know, I think it's better than maps likre for instance, Split. We were one of the best Split teams in North America but it was so CT sided.
And even for me, I think Ascent is ... Well we saw the DRX match against Furia the other day, that was ridiculous. I think they were up 12-4. And we did that same thing to OpTic. I think we won 12 or 11 rounds against OpTic in a row. So I think the maps are gonna get better and better. And I think Riot's already working on that for sure.
Rohan: I was I was speaking to the DRX Mako yesterday. And he told me that teams that were not in the LCQ have a small advantage for a while preparing for Pearl. Do you agree with that? And how confident are you in XSET's map pool?
XSET Ayrin: We've been working on our map pool a lot. So I wouldn't say it's a weak map for us. But at the same time, teams that did not play LCQ have a bit more prep on Pearl, because they didn't have to play on the old patch. But at the same time, the buff from the LCQ teams is that they got to play multiple matches, quite closer to the date that we're playing right now.
So we still have it, we got the win, we haven't played a match since Copenhagen. When you're a pro player, you always want to be playing a lot of matches. But then you'll also see CS: GO
, where they play a ridiculous amount. So it's hard to find the balance.