The Dell Futurist campaign is a springboard for the youth to make their passion their career with the help of industry experts such as India’s #1 professional esports athlete Ankit “V3nom” Panth, and tier-1 esports organizations like Team Liquid, all while keeping technology at its core.
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda Esport’s Suryadeepto Sengupta, Jake “Bacon9” Lloyd, the analyst of Team Liquid Valorant roster closely associated with Dell Futurist Gaming, opened up about Team Liquid, the NA vs EU rivalry, and Team Liquid in the Valorant Champions Tour.
Jake “Bacon9” Lloyd, the analyst of Team Liquid Valorant, during a freewheeling chat, revealed a lot
Q. Jake, you became a part of Team Liquid earlier in June. Do tell us a bit about your journey with competitive esports before that. What is the origin story behind your in-game name, “HowsTheBacon”?
Jake: So, my journey into the professional scene was quite an uncommon one. During my third year at university, I discovered Sliggy’s stream and often stopped by there. After some time, Sliggy started to get to know me, then decided to make me a moderator.
From this, I tried to demonstrate my work ethic to him and would offer to help him out with Valorant stuff and proactively give work to him on the off chance that he would see it and like it. Seemingly, he did see and like my work and gradually let me help out more and more.
Eventually, Sliggy said, “Well, you are kinda doing the analyst work anyways, so might as well try and get you an official job”, and thankfully, Liquid allowed me to join.
Q. Over the last year, Valorant has established a thriving esports community. What are your thoughts on it? How do you think this community will expand in the coming years? Also, the NA vs EU rivalry is omnipresent throughout the majority of esports, including Valorant. What is your thought regarding its effect on the Valorant esports scene?
Jake: The Valorant community is great! Lots of driven and lovely people doing something they genuinely love, and what’s better than that?
I see the scene developing a lot! A proactive developer like Riot Games, while they may not always be perfect, will always strive to push the scene forward, and I can only see it growing.
The game itself lends itself to growth as well, in my opinion. At its core, Valorant is quite a simple idea to understand. It doesn’t require a lot of knowledge to understand who is winning or recognize an excellent shot. These are things even first-time viewers can understand to a degree, and so, in my opinion, that lends itself to growth.
In my opinion, the NA vs EU rivalry is a great introduction to the competitive scene. It allows people to choose a side, even if they don’t know who is playing or anything more than if they are from the EU, which am I. Therefore, we will support them in this game.
I think this is really good because it allows people to become invested as they now have a stake in the game and will watch it longer. I also think it is a terrific introduction to some deeper strategies within the game.
Stereotyping regions with certain styles allows people to have a simplified entrance to the strategic side of the game, which hopefully pushes them further down this road.
Q. Team Liquid, the 5th seed at the EMEA circuit table, has qualified for the VCT EMEA LCQ, where the team has an opportunity to qualify for Valorant Champions 2021. How confident are you regarding Team Liquid’s performance in the upcoming LCQ? Recently, James “Kryptix” Affleck left the TL roster, while Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom joined the team. How do you think this will change the team dynamic in the upcoming tournaments?
Jake: Our boys are great! I have a lot of admiration for them all, I believe they are all super talented, and every single one of them can go on to be the best player in the world, with the right work ethic behind them.
So, of course, I truly believe we can go on to win LCQ and even Champions! That definitely does not mean I am cocky, though. There are a lot of great teams in the scene, so it’s going to take a lot of hard work and determination to get there, but I hope and believe we can do it.
James stepping down was, of course, a big blow for us. He has a great calmness and humor, which is nice in a team environment, and made every day of practice fun through his presence.
But I couldn’t ask for a better person to come in and fill J’s boots than Nabil! His talent is obvious, but his hard work since joining has been what has been impressing me the most. He is consistently doing and asking for extra work, and vods and small extra things outside of practice to improve his game and allow him to catch up to the pro level in such a small amount of time
It’s been truly impressive to watch and be a part of. Hopefully, we will do J proud!
Q. You joined Team Liquid back in June 2021 and have been an active member ever since. Could you kindly elaborate regarding your role as an analyst for the Team Liquid Valorant roster?
Jake: I was actually on the team since before Iceland. I just chose not to say anything till after.
So, my role on the team is pretty flexible. I will always do whatever we believe the team needs. But some of my current responsibilities include:
- Creating and recording stats (to allow us to identify weaknesses)
- Finding lineups
- Helping find extra setups
- Some strategy creation
- Helping Sliggy with anti-stratting
- Doing some extra map work with Nivera outside of practice to get him up to speed as fast as possible
Also, I am just another set of eyes in scrims to help suggest some slight improvements.
Q. India has a thriving Valorant community with top-tier tournaments regularly. The Indian team, Global Esports, recently qualified for the VCT APAC LCQ and could potentially make it to the Valorant Champions 2021. What is your thought on the Indian Valorant scene as a whole?
Jake: I think the future of the Indian scene could be a bright one, and we are only seeing the very tip of the iceberg. With a population of over 1 billion, it is beyond doubt that there are countless superstar talents in the region.
I believe, to unlock these talents, two key things need to happen. The desire for being a Valorant pro needs to become more commonly spread. I can see this clearly with the rise of esports being unquestionable and India being represented through the likes of Global Esports.
The desire to be a Valorant pro will hopefully become widespread and reach a higher number of those talents.
Secondly, the actual PCs need to be more common, as it is impossible to be a Valorant pro if you can’t run the run on low-end setups, sadly, no matter the talent or desire.
This equally is something we are seeing a rise, more and more PCs are being bought in India, with a five-year high in a market quarter just being reached. So, I see both the desire and the resources increasing, two signs that we could be about to see the rise of a region with a massive amount of promise!
Jake “Bacon9” Lloyd is closely associated with the upcoming Dell Futurist Gaming Valorant Tournament, where players will get an opportunity to interact with Team Liquid in the Dell 1-on-1 mentor session and learn about Valorant from the professional players of Team Liquid.
As part of the Dell Futurist Campaign, Dell is leveraging social media, mentors, and an intricate network of current Dell Campassadors to act as an enabler of new-age career options. From Gaming and Digital Art to Cinema and Music to Sustainable Technology, Dell Futurist is the springboard for the youth to make their passion their career.
The Dell Futurist includes an intricate network that connects 920 active Campassadors in 540 associated colleges across 270 cities with 1.2 million engaged students to build a passionate future with Dell Futurist.
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The Dell Futurist Gaming Valorant tournament gives amateur players in India the opportunity to rise up the rank and make a name in the Valorant esports industry. Players will not only have a chance to win a substantial prize pool along with Team Liquid and Alienware merchandise but also learn more about Valorant from the professional players of Team Liquid.