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“The thing I like most about Valorant is its strategic depth:” TSM Hazed

Image via Helena Kristiansson for ESL
Image via Helena Kristiansson for ESL
Aaron Alford
Modified 22 Dec 2020, 15:08 IST

TSM has been one of the premiere Valorant teams in the North American scene since the beta.

James "hazed" Cobb is one of the inaugural members of the team. Hazed is a former CS: GO veteran involved in the pro gaming scene since 2010. He moved to Valorant in May and has become one of the most skilled Valorant players in the world since.

Sportskeeda's Aaron Alford had a chance to speak with Hazed to ask him about the first strike tournament a couple of weeks ago and his experience coming to Valorant from CS: GO.

TSM Hazed looks back on Valorant esports scene and First Strike

Q. What was your takeaway from the First Strike tournament at the beginning of December?

Hazed: I would say, strategically, in our final match at the First Strike, we played average. Against Envy, the round before, we played outstanding strategically. We made all the right calls and a lot of good reads.

Against 100 Thieves, we didn’t make nearly as many good reads and calls. And that’s not to put any blame on Reluc. It’s everyone that needs to be able to do this. 

But yeah, strategically, I think we were average, but what we really messed up on was winning those critical rounds in finals.


Q. What makes pistol round wins so integral to winning matches in Valorant?

Hazed: Teams are starting to force- buy more, so it’s less of an advantage than it used to be. It’s becoming more like CS: GO, where people automatically force-buy second round, but pistols are still a massive advantage regardless of what the meta is like.

Winning pistol is enormous. It’s good for your team’s economy, momentum, and morale, starting the game off with a W.

Q. Valorant has been out for about six months now. How do you feel about Riot Game’s management of patches and bugs so far?

Hazed: I am happy that they are involved. I think there are obviously some things they could improve on, for sure. I believe they have had some very strange patch timings that I disagree with.

But as far as running the First Strike tournament, it was well run. Maybe I would like to see a few changes to allowing some of these community and open-circuit events. 

I have heard about some of the restrictions placed on them. To me, it doesn’t feel right. It can make it, so it’s not worth us entering the tournaments. I didn’t like the fact that they restrict the prize pool for some of these open-circuit tournaments.

Q. How do you think Riot could improve the experience for pros?


Hazed: They are doing a pretty good job overall. It’s hard to say where they can improve. I guess the tournament format. 

It’s something Steel talked about on Twitter last night, and I chimed in on it. We feel like if it is an online tournament, it should be double elimination. It doesn’t make sense for an online event not to be double elim, because you don’t have the venue restrictions that you would have with a LAN event. 

To me, it doesn’t make sense, but it’s not a big deal. It’s just something we prefer as players.

Hazed discusses Valorant esports vs. CS: GO esports

Q. What made you jump over to Valorant back in April. How were you confident enough in Valorant esports to make that leap?

Hazed: I initially didn’t make the jump per se. It wasn’t something that I thought about. It was more like, all my friends are playing this new game, let’s just play it. We started playing; we were having fun, we started scrimming. These small open-circuit tournaments came around, and we played in them because we are competitors. 


I have been competing in FPS games since 2004, so it was natural to enter tournaments for fun. And then, we started winning. At some point, we began to believe that maybe we could just play this game professionally. Then we heard orgs were starting to jump in, and people started contacting us. 

It was a very natural approach. It wasn’t something that I calculated, you know?

Q. What is one thing you like more about Valorant than CS: GO?

Hazed: The thing I like most about Valorant is the strategic depth of the game. I mean, there are so many different combinations of characters, so there are so many combinations of abilities that you have to account for every time you play.

Obviously, there will be metas, but the longer this game goes on and the bigger the Agent pool, the more difficult it will be for teams to handle these different strategies. That is when you will see the best players, the ones who can adapt fast and understand the other team’s composition before they play it. That is probably my favorite thing about the game.

Q. What is one thing you like less about Valorant than CS: GO?

Hazed: My least favorite thing about Valorant compared to CS: GO is that running accuracy is too high. I don’t like jumping accuracy. I don’t like that the spray is random after a certain point. I think you should have a pattern since it introduces a lot of skill. 


You know, I could point to a million things that would make Valorant more like Counter-Strike, but that’s probably not fair. But those are the big things I liked better in CS.

Published 22 Dec 2020, 15:08 IST
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