"The Indian fanbase has been remarkable": AYRIN after Global Esports' opening match in VCT Pacific League 2023
Competing at the VCT Pacific League 2023, Global Esports from India is one of the most intriguing teams in terms of roster and backstory. The group stage of the tournament kicked off on March 25, 2023, in Seoul, South Korea, and the Indian representatives played their second game on the opening day.
The side faced Korean team T1, and despite losing the game in the end, put up a very strong fight in a series that went to all three maps, starting on Pearl, then to Haven, and ending in Lotus.
It was one of the most memorable series in VCT history owing not only to the exquisite prowess on display, but the hour-long tech pause that kept players and spectators waiting between the first two maps.
Global Esports captain AYRIN talks about match against T1 in VCT Pacific League and more
Sportskeeda had the opportunity to speak to the IGL of Global Esports Jordan "AYRIN" He after the first match on the VCT International League circuit. AYRIN spoke about his journey as a player, Indian fans, the Valorant meta as well as his expectations from their next match against DRX.
You moved from Canada to the US, and then to India. What has the experience of moving between different cultures been like?
AYRIN: I have been traveling since I was 16 when I used to play Crossfire a lot and that’s when I really learned and loved to travel. And then when I did my school, I got to travel to Europe and travel to 20 different countries, in Asia and Europe. For me, this is definitely a hard move.
There are not many players willing to make this move and play for an international roster, but it is something I think is really enjoyable and, you know, every day has been a dream.
Global Esports consists of players belonging to different nationalities, but being a primarily Indian org, do you feel additional pressure to perform from the Indian fanbase?
AYRIN: No, not particularly. The Indian fanbase has been remarkable. Just scrolling through my SM messages, what the fans have said to me, my streams [and so on]. They have been incredibly supportive. There is not much extra pressure to perform. It is just really enjoyable.
The fans have been really good. Not just the Indian fans, but the Korean fans and the North American fans, everyone has been really supportive of our VCT journey and that's what you need if you want a game to be more international and have a unique personality. As a team, we are really appreciative of that.
You must have had a plan going into your first VCT Pacific League match. How did you adjust to the visa issues that cropped up with some players on the team?
AYRIN: One of the biggest problems we have had as a team are things that are outside of our reach, such as the visa problem, but everyone is trying their best to solve it.
Yes, we have to switch our rosters and players. Every player on this team is extremely talented. When we go into a game with a set five for a certain map and then have to switch it because we cannot have Rossi or Golu (Lightningfast) play, that does cause a small to medium hindrance in our plans and no one is happy about that.
Did you face any unexpected challenges during your match today?
AYRIN: Not particularly, but xeta played a really good game on Harbor. I think he is the IGL now. I would say it is expected, considering he has always been a good player that I respect from North America. It just sucks that he played really well against us.
You were down 0-7 on the first map of your first series in the VCT Pacific League. How does a backlog like that affect the team’s mental, and how do you cope with it?
AYRIN: Pearl was the map that we chose and naturally, we have been pretty good on Pearl. Going down 0-7 was quite annoying. But near the end of the game, the team picked up the pace. And when we moved on to the second map, we were able to ignore what happened on the first map and move on. It is a growing pain for everyone to learn.
The tech pauses, in general, today, one of our players didn’t have any sound. WRONSKI didn’t have any sound, which kind of threw him off in the first game. It’s always about learning for us. We are a newer organization with new players who have not competed a bunch at the international level. Each and every experience is enjoyable. It's not great to lose, but at the end of the day, we are playing a game and that’s super enjoyable.
In your VCT LOCK//IN Pearl match, you went up against a mirror match-up. But this time you played against the up-and-coming Harbor-Viper duo. How did that impact your playstyle in today’s game?
AYRIN: We played against this composition a lot in scrims and we decided that our current composition, with which we won against Vitality, was good and it showed that it was good enough to beat a lot of top-tier teams.
Today, there were a lot of factors to decide why their Pearl was a lot better than ours, but the comp wasn’t a surprise.
The Valorant meta is slowly but steadily shifting out of the Initiator-centric meta. What impact do you think the addition of Gekko will have on VCT compositions going forward?
AYRIN: I think Gekko will really not impact anything. We have seen some things today and we are going to see more matches, but I don’t think a lot of teams or coaches are going to suggest playing Gekko.
It is highly unusual for VCT teams to play Haven without either Sova or Fade, but you chose to play KAY/O and Skye. What was the mindset behind that decision?
AYRIN: The beauty of having such an international roster is the ability to experiment with various compositions. Obviously, the coaches introduced a lot of ways for us to bring our style and flavor to the game. One of the reasons we did this was because we tried it, and it worked out really well.
The Agents fit the players and we were doing well in scrims with it, and it really showed on Haven that it is an unorthodox composition, but it's definitely a good style for us.
It's almost as if you press a switch for your second maps, which have so far been your opponent’s picks. What is the secret?
AYRIN: There is no big secret. The energy in the first game is good. In VCT LOCK//IN, I can attest to the fact that we were quite shaky and nervous about the new environment. In game 2, we played well. [On Lotus] Vitality had played well but the game was quite close in my opinion there.
Then today, there were a bunch of unforeseen issues, such as the tech issue. It just sucks that we were not able to close out map three of our first VCT Pacific League game.
You found a lot of value from your lurks across the first two maps. What do you think went wrong in the third map of your opening game at the VCT Pacific League?
AYRIN: Lotus is just a map that we haven't polished enough. When always shifting rosters and compositions, it is hard to have an extremely deep map pool. We just need to do some more work on Lotus. I don’t think that they read us particularly well today, they just played a really solid game and we made a lot of mistakes that we shouldn’t have, and we usually don’t.
In your next VCT Pacific League game you play DRX, who have proven themselves to be masters of both Pearl and Haven. What are your expectations going into the game?
AYRIN: DRX is a great team. If we have to be the best, we might as well put our best foot forward. I don’t think any team is unbeatable, otherwise what is even the point of playing, right?
There is a lot of good talent in the Asia-Pacific region. We are going to go into the game with our heads held high. We will take a day off tomorrow and then get back to watching the games and just developing. We are not anywhere close to where we want to be or should be.
Sijo Samuel Paul