The Indian Valorant community was taken aback when God Particles took down Global Esports and qualified for the finals of the Valorant Conquerors Championship (VCC 2022). Despite not being backed by any esports organization, the performance of the team was commendable.
Abhay “KnightRider” Mulchandani is one of the core members of the team who formed God Particles with his teammates Shivam "sh1vy" Ajmani and Divyansh "Scargod" Jain back when F1LS Esports disbanded its Valorant roster. In a conversation with Sportskeeda Esports’s Debolina Banerjee, KnightRider talked about his journey in the esports world, God Particles’ semi-final win in the Indian Qualifiers 2 of VCC 2022, and more.
KnightRider on his Valorant team and VCC experience
Q. Establishing a career in esports is no joke. Tell us more about your journey in the world of gaming and why you decided to take it up as a profession.
KnightRider: I used to play CS 1.6 and CS:GO casually. I enjoyed the various mods it offered like Jailbreak, Zombie, BHOP, etc. I gradually started to play matchmaking and grinded to Global Elite (which was the highest ranking on CS: GO) on just a 60hz laptop.
A new matchmaking platform called SoStronk was launched in India at the time. When I saw professional Indian players like "HellRanger", "Amaterasu", and "Rite2Ace" playing in it, I got to know about the professional scene, which intrigued me. I started performing well on SoStronk against such players on just a laptop.
My next step was forming my first ever team, to compete in tournaments, called God Particles with "sh1vy" back in 2017(yes, we were together as teammates for 5 years). We dominated the Delhi LAN scene and from then on, we won all the local LAN tournaments and qualified for the ESL India Premiership Masters Stage. It was our highlight as a newly formed and inexperienced team.
In 2018, we joined hands with "Logistaa" and "EmbeR" (who are my teammates still in Revenant Esports) who contributed a lot to our rise. We were known in the scene for our loyalty and perseverance. We stuck together despite offers from other teams and the hardships that we faced. Our coach at Revenant Esports taught us how to approach the game in a proper tactical and fundamental way, and a teamplay mentality was built into us.
Q. What do you think contributes to the massive popularity of Valorant in India? Do you think that its popularity will be boosted if a mobile version of the game is launched?
KnightRider: Riot Games always put in a constant effort to keep their titles fresh. They took steps to change the meta, which played a massive role in keeping the popularity at its peak. Valorant developers have upheld the legacy of their tactical shooters as well. Players need to be sharp with both their aim and ability usage. Many games in the past have seen their downfall due to a lack of updates.
I hope they concentrate on Valorant's PC version only for now as it has given a massive boom to PC esports in India, which was missing in the past. The growth of esports in India as a profession is essential.
Q. You have been a part of ForceOne x LegStump Esports before. What are some of the key learning points that you have taken with you from your previous roster?
KnightRider: F1LS was a major learning curve for each member of that roster. It was an essential part of our growth as players, because "sh1vy" as a leader instilled and made our fundamentals of teamplay very strong as individuals. We also tasted our first major success in Valorant by winning two major tournaments - TEC Amazon India (by beating Enigma Gaming) and Ultimate E Cup (by beating Team XO). We also finished third in the TEC Gauntlet, behind VLT and GE, for two seasons in a row.
Q. From Dell Futurist Gaming to The Esports Club Community Cup, you have had a trail of wins in the past few months. What were the key aspects that played a role in your team’s win?
KnightRider: After F1LS was disbanded, me, "sh1vy" and "Scargod" formed a new team called God Particles. We had "Logistaa" and "EmbeR", who used to be our teammates in CS, as we thought our mentalities would align. They did align, but the catch was that they shifted to Valorant very late (six months after the launch of the game). Having strong fundamentals, me, sh1vy, and Scargod tried to help both of them adapt to the game. I think their work ethic and their willingness to improve were the key factors that got us on the same page. Hence, we secured those titles as God Particles.
Q. You set headlines when you defeated Global Esports in the first Indian Qualifiers and Semi Finals to qualify for the Grand Finals of the Valorant Conquerors Championship (VCC 2022). How was the experience of competing in such a huge competition?
KnightRider: It was a very heartwarming experience because it was my teammate and close friend sh1vy's last tournament. He has been with me through all the ups and downs during these five years of being together. We really wanted to end on a high note with him. We barely had any practice leading up to the tournament due to some unfortunate circumstances prior to the tournament. Yet, he created brief crash courses on how to approach newer maps like Fracture that we also beat GE on. We had the belief and trust in each other that we would make a big mark in VCC and that mentality was an important factor in our run.
Q. Your cheeky gesture of holding a piece of paper stating “Sign us orgs” after defeating the defending champions at the VCC 2022 was a talking point amongst viewers. Now that Revenant Esports has signed you, what’s your next step?
KnightRider: There is an interesting story behind that gesture. Basically, I think I manifested our victory against GE. That gesture was intended to be written by me before we faced GE in VCC Q1. However, we lost that match 2-1 due to such unfortunate circumstances. I blamed myself internally after that loss because I forgot to write it on paper that day. Then we faced GE in the semi-final of VCC Q2, and we were prepared. I had that belief and this time I had that gesture with me on the table and showed it after winning. It was such a special and memorable moment.
Q. Now that Revenant has signed your roster, what is your next step?
KnightRider: Our next step is to consistently perform in all the upcoming Valorant tournaments and go from being an underdog to a title challenging team. To achieve that, we now have a platform with Revenant Esports who believed in us and gave us the support and facilities. We are being coached under Rahul "HBK" Kumar and we believe he will be a key factor in this journey along with "Whimp".
Q. What is your message to all the budding Valorant players who want to establish themselves in the esports world?
KnightRider: My message to the upcoming Valorant players is that anybody can have a good aim. However, players who make it big on the scene have the mindset of always learning. There will always be times when you doubt yourself, doubt your team, and doubt your teammates. Nevertheless, perseverance and belief in yourself and your team will get you through those times and make you shine. You need to put in the effort to improve with a positive mentality towards yourself and the people around you.