From scoring an ace against Noble Esports to eventually becoming teammates, Saaransh “Whimp” Dang has grown to be one of the top upcoming Valorant esports players in the country.
Balancing life as a student and as a professional Valorant esports player, the Cypher main of Samurai Esports, Saaransh “Whimp” Dang sat down for an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda Esports.
From Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to Valorant, Whimp opens up about his professional esports career as well as life beyond it.
Here is an excerpt of the conversation
Q. So Saaransh, tell us a bit about yourself and what life is like outside taking headshots in Valorant?
Whimp: I’m a student and just completed my degree in marketing management. Life has been hectic as I was playing games full-time and trying to balance my esports career. But overall, it has been an interesting journey so far.
Q. When did you start playing video games and what were some of your fondest gaming memories growing up?
Whimp: The first time I played video games was in late 2014. Fondest memories are the ones of me and my friends playing in gaming cafes for fun and competing within ourselves.
Q. Other than FPS esports games, what other games do you enjoy?
Whimp: Other than FPS games, I mostly enjoy games like F1 racing, Grand Theft Auto, etc.
Q. When did you decide to pursue a career in esports?
Whimp: I decided to pursue a career in esports in 2019.
Q. What was the reaction from your parents when you told them about your career choice? Were they easily convinced, or did it take a lot of work?
Whimp: Their reaction was of concern as they did not want me to ignore my education. As I continued to prove that I am able to balance both, they became supportive with time.
Q. You used to play with Ghost from team Enigma esports, and he is a close friend of yours. Do you guys get a chance to catch up or play a friendly scrim match?
Whimp: Yeah, we play a bit of competitive together. As both teams are new, no scrims have taken place yet.
Q. What was the experience like being an esports team without an organizer back in the day? How have things improved over time?
Whimp: It was hard at first, but I started playing for fun. It was never for financial reasons, but with time it’s become better as I'm able to earn by competing in esports.
Q. What was your first tournament, were you nervous going up against some of the best players in the region?
Whimp: My first big professional LAN event was Zowie Extremeland, and it was a tournament filled with the best teams in India. In our first match, we lost very badly. All our players were a bit nervous on the big stage. After a talk with my team, we were able to pull together and finish third, making a run from lower brackets.
Q. How has your journey as a professional esports player been and what were some of the hurdles you had to face?
Whimp: It was full of learning experiences.
Q. How was your experience leading the Reckoning esports CS: GO roster as the IGL?
Whimp: It was a young squad, and we were all very green behind our ears. We were a passionate team, and despite everything, we made it work.
Q. What made you decide to shift to Valorant from CS: GO and part ways with Reckoning esports?
Whimp: I was not being compensated properly for my time in the organization and was facing a lot of problems from the management, so I decided to leave the organization. At that time, I decided to try my hand at Valorant and felt it was the fresh start I needed and decided to leave CS: GO.
Q. Let's talk about that 1v5 ace against PSY, Rexy, and the rest of the Noble India esports team.
Whimp: After I got the first two kills, I was feeling good and felt I could try and clutch that. It was just instincts and hours of practice that kicked in as I tried isolating every fight as a one on one and it worked out in my favor in the end.
Q. How was your experience joining the XTZ roster and participating in Invitation tournaments against some of the country's best teams?
Whimp: I was very happy and excited for the opportunity to play in that talented roster. It was a great experience to compete with some of the best teams in the Indian Valorant scene.
Q. What is it like coordinating with other players of Samurai Esports and who makes the calls?
Whimp: It’s a really fun experience to get to play with such talented individuals and every player gets to give input as to how we should approach the game. However, the set plays and round-by-round calls are mostly given by me and PSY.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your YouTube Journey so far, and how do you set yourself apart from other YouTubers?
Whimp: It has been a very fulfilling journey, and I’ve grown rapidly in the past few months as people get more and more into the Valorant esports scene. What sets me apart is I’m an esports player who can provide a viewpoint on how Valorant is played at a professional level and in my interaction with the chat.
Q. As we know your agent of choice is Cypher, why do you prefer Cypher, and would you change the role if necessary?
Whimp: Cypher is an information-heavy agent. As an IGL, information is the most important part of the game. So I use Cypher’s kit to gather information and guide my team. I’m a versatile player who can play many other agents.
Q. Who is your favorite professional Valorant esports player?
Whimp: If I have to choose one, Steel from 100 Thieves is my favorite valorant esports player.
Q. Which team do you think is currently the best Valorant team in India, and which Indian Valorant professional player do you consider to be the best in India currently?
Whimp: No comments.
Q. In five years, what do you think the position of the Indian esports industry will be in comparison to the rest of the world?
Whimp: We are a rapidly growing scene, and I’m sure we will be better than we are now.
Q. What would advise any young esports player hoping to become a professional player?
Whimp: Apart from individual skills, build your social media and online presence.