One of Brazil's leading Valorant rosters, FURIA Esports, made their way to Istanbul, Turkey, to represent their region at yet another VCT Champions event. After earning a last-minute qualification for the VCT Champions 2022: Istanbul, FURIA joined LOUD as Brazil's hopes of claiming a Champions trophy.
FURIA Esports was placed in Group D of the tournament's Group Stage alongside DRX, Fnatic, and 100 Thieves. They took on DRX in their opening matchup, falling to the Korean champions with a 0-2 scoreline.
FURIA lost an early 12-4 lead on Map 1 (Ascent) to eventually lose the map by a 14-16 scoreline. DRX sealed the match in their favor on Map 2 (Haven) as they dominated FURIA with a 13-4 victory. FURIA will now face Fnatic in the Group D elimination match in hopes of collecting a victory and progressing towards securing a Playoffs spot.
FURIA's Khalil talks about team's performance in VCT Champions 2022 Istanbul Group Stage
In a conversation with Adarsh J Kumar of Sportskeeda Esports, one of FURIA's players, Khalil "Khalil" Schmidt, discussed the team's performance in the match against DRX, detailing his expectations for the remainder of the VCT Champions 2022 Istanbul.
Q: FURIA had a great start to the first map; you had a 12-4 lead at one point. What do you think happened there that resulted in you losing such a lead on your map-pick?
Khalil: We had a really good start, but in the middle of everything, we couldn't implement our best rhythm. So, it was hard for us to get it going towards the end of the game.
Q: DRX have never lost their opening match in an international VCT match. Considering their experience in past VCT tournaments, how did you think they played compared to the expectations you had for them?
Khalil: Being able to flip the table and actually win the first map built up a lot of confidence for DRX. On the next map, they came in very aggressively on attack. I personally believe that if we could have closed out the first map with a win, it would have been a totally different game. In that case, we could've even lost Haven, but then in the third map, we would definitely have come back stronger.
Q: After playing the SA LCQ all the way till the end, FURIA didn’t really have a lot of time to prepare for VCT Champions 2022. So, how did FURIA prepare to play against some of the best teams from all over the world in such a short time?
Khalil: Due to the LCQ schedule, we didn't really have a lot of time. We ended up moving within two days after the VCT tournament. We ended up coming to Istanbul and sitting down and playing in a LAN house kind of environment. We practiced with tier-1 and tier-2 teams and that helped them a lot to prepare for Champions 2022.
Q: Last time at Valorant Champions in 2021, FURIA were eliminated after 2 straight losses. How much has FURIA's Valorant roster improved since then?
Khalil: Despite us getting to Champions 2021 being a very big win for us, last year, we didn't have the mental capacity or the individual game that we have right now. I'm sure that our roster has improved a lot since then. We also have the addition of dgzin to the team. Because of a few factors like mentality and individual skill, I think our game is at its best level right now. We're definitely in a better situation this tournament.
Q: FURIA brought in dgzin recently in July. He’s been playing quite an important role for the team right now, so how influential has he been so far for Furia?
Khalil: dgzin plays quite a crucial role for our team. He not only brings calmness to the entire team, but also gets his own game right. He's very strong individually, and has opened several doors for us to improve in-game. We believe that he is a very strong part of our team. If we can exploit all the chances that he opens up for us, we will just be aiming for victory.
Q: Looking at Riot Games' plan for Valorant franchising in 2023, what do you think about the future of Valorant esports?
Khalil: Looking at the investment in all these international tournaments that Riot conducts for Valorant, I personally believe that Valorant can become even bigger than League of Legends.
Q: We’ve seen a lot of underdog teams make it to the top in several VCT events before. How strong do you think FURIA is, compared to the other teams, and what do you think of your chances of winning Valorant Champions 2022?
Khalil: It's actually really good to see those underdog teams to bring up such nice results and surprise everybody, because at the end of the day, it gets us hyped since we are also considered to be one of the underdogs. It's just about everyone learning that you just can't underestimate anyone at such a tournament.