Thursday, 30 July 2020

Halo's Hot List: Five Players To Look Out For During The Mandatory.GG Cup.

By Arran "Halo" Brown

After the excitement of both the Vitality European Open and the WePlayVALORANT Invitational a few weeks ago, it is now the turn of Mandatory.GG to host the latest European tournament in Riot's Ignition Series with the Mandatory.GG Cup starting tomorrow. 128 teams, battling it out, round after round in a single-elimination tournament to see who will be crowned the best team in Europe. G2 have so far shown that they are one of the best teams in not only the European region but the world with back to back tournament wins and will be looking for the threepeat to continue their reign on the region. Teams such as Fabriken, Fish123, Ninja's In Pyjamas and Bonk will be seen as the teams who are most likely to dethrone G2 but as always with events with such a large field, there are going to be upsets and player performances that will make people stand up and take notice. Here we take a look at five players on my hotlist that you should definitely keep an eye on throughout the event. 

Image Credit: Lateks

Oliwer "Lateks" Fahlander - Fabriken

The Mandatory.GG cup is now the last ride for the original Fabriken line up as Medo, ShadoW and Zypann have all gone with other opportunities after this event, but the team's founder, talent scout and captain, Lateks is still available for teams to sign. If you purely look at statistics to evaluate a player's worth then you are doing the age-old mistake of undervaluing the impact that a great IGL can have off the scoreboard. His ability to read the game as a match goes on is outstanding and while it is great to have players who can take over a game, to get those players to commit to a system shows his leadership ability, which I might add has led Fabriken to being seen as a top-five team in the region. If you are going to look at stats then take in the fact that according to he does have a Kill per round average of 0.60, a Kill to Death average of 0.91 and ranks second of all professional players with 500+ professional rounds played in plants with 170, which is impressive and a key point to focus on for an IGL. 

Lateks might just be one of the best objective-based support players in Europe right now and should not be overlooked for that or his ability to lead in-game.

Renato “bzt” Baranyos – Need More DM

The rise of Hungarian roster Need More DM over the last month has been one of the nicer surprises within the European scene and has seen them place within the top 15 teams in the world according to Their last few outings have seen them place within the top four in the Absolute Masters, the WePlayValorant Invitational and in the Rise of Titans Tournaments. They also finished in the top six in the Vitality European Invitational, showing that they are rightly considered one of the better teams in the region right now.

One player that has stood out during the early stages has been their star fragger bzt, who has dominated on Raze in every recorded tournament he has played in so far. According to he rates fifth in Europe with a Kills per Round rating of .90, a kill to death ratio of 1.31 which places him fourth, fifth with an average score per round of 262.7 and sixth in Europe in first blood's with 130. He is he the catalyst for Need More DM and his ability to obtain kills as an entry fragger is important. The fact he is just shy of getting a kill each round is huge and if he can continue this during the Mandatory.GG Cup’s early knock out rounds, he will be able to put Need More DM into a position to make another deep run and show they may now be a top-five team in Europe.

Image Credit: Liquidpeadia

Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom – Fish123

ScreaM needs absolutely no introduction regarding his ability to play the game and the one-tap king has found himself in a great position with Fish123, replacing the team's former Oper Ardis “Ardiis” Svarenieks. Statically, ScreaM is one of the best fraggers in the world and there is no surprise he ranks second in Europe in Kills per Round with a 0.93 rating, seventh in Kill to Death ratio with 1.28 and third with an Average Combat score of 264.2. The big interest here is just how well he plays now that Fish123 have completely changed their roles to help accommodate him as their star player. Ec1s has stated that they have had to change a lot in an interview with Mandatory.GG and while they looked uncomfortable at times in their second-place finish in the WePlayValorant Invitational, they have now had more time to solidify their new roles and show that they are once more not only the best in Europe but the best in the world. I want to see just how clean he looks on the Sage/Breach he has been playing and whether Fish123 is going to allow him to play the Reyna he shines the most on during this event.

Image Credit: BIG

Fatih "Gob b" Dayik - BIG

European fans have been clamouring for the regions big organisations to make a push similar to the one they have seen in North America. BIG has not only stepped up to the plate but they did so far under the radar, that it was a huge surprise when they not only announced a roster for this event but that it would include a player with star ability that Gob b has. Gob b was known as one of the best IGL's in CS:GO and his move to Valorant means the scene now has a well recognised IGL who's known for creating unique strategies. BIG have kept their scrim results and compositions close to their chest, meaning we have an element of surprise when it comes to their ability and what they will bring to the game composition wise. One thing is for sure, Gob b and BIG will be looking for results early and will definitely be a team to look out for in this and upcoming events.

Saif "Sayf" Jibraeel - Bonk

Bonk is the second all Swedish roster in the European scene that has put in several impressive results early in VALORANT's professional lifecycle and a large part of this is due to the play of Sayf. Part of a 1-2 combination with Yacine "Yacine" Laghmari, Sayf's ability to frag alongside Yacine with the added fact he can play most agents to a high level (he has played nine different agents in 544 rounds) means that he is one of the most unpredictable fraggers to read in Europe. He places ninth in Europe with a Kill per Round rating of 0.84, fifth with a Kill to Death ratio of 1.30 and inside the top ten with an ACS of 238.9. Sayf is showing early signs of being a flex god and a vital number two fragger for a team that could now be considered a top-five team in Europe after the disbanding of Party Parrots and the soon to be rebuilding Fabriken. If a complete roster is going to be taken by a European organisation. Bonk and Sayf, should be high on the scouting list.

The Mandatory.GG Cup begins Friday at 7pm BST/8pm CEST with the round of 64/32/16 games all being played in a BO1 elimination knockout format on a different map for each round. Then Saturday will see the teams in the quarter and semifinals play in a B03 with map picks and bans, with Sunday's final being a BO5. It's going to be intriguing to see just how these five players play on both an individual basis but also in a way to allow their teams to progress deep into the tournament. One thing is for sure, they should all be players in the region to keep an eye on.  

(You can find more VALORANT content and tweets over on Twitter @haloofthoughts)
(Picture Credit: Mandatory.GG)


Thursday, 16 July 2020

The Story Of Fabriken & Why Organisations and Tournament Organisers Are Sleeping On Them

The VALORANT pro scene is well and truly underway, with a host of minor tournaments and Riot's own Ignition Series building at a slow and steady pace to allow the esport to build naturally, the approach taken by organisations to pick up rosters has differed from region to region. While North America got into an arms race to obtain the best rosters they could, Europe has taken a much more cautious approach, with G2 and Ninjas In Pyjamas being two of the few big organisations to sign rosters. Europe's tournament organisers have come thick and fast to host tournaments as early as they can to get their foot in the door, but with less signed rosters within the region, they have taken to inviting teams with bigger players and social media following to participate in their events. It has resulted in some of the biggest teams in Europe being excluded and one of the best teams in Europe, the all Swedish roster of Fabriken have been overlooked the most.