"We're just not afraid to innovate": Benkai on Paper Rex's preparation for Stage 2 of VCT 2022

PRX Benkai at VCT 2022 Stage 1 Masters: Reykjavik (Image via flickr/ VCT photos)
PRX Benkai at VCT 2022 Stage 1 Masters: Reykjavik (Image via flickr/ VCT photos)

Paper Rex, one of APAC's leading Valorant organizations, made history at the VCT 2022 Masters: Reykjavik by claiming a 'Top 4' finish. After an enthralling tournament run, PRX returned to Singapore in hopes of fighting their way through their regional Qualifiers and securing a spot in the VCT Masters: Copenhagen.

Prior to the Stage 1 VCT Masters in Reykjavik, Paper Rex enjoyed a perfect run in their Malaysia/Singapore Qualifiers. In a similar fashion, PRX currently leads their regional Qualifiers, and they are one win away from qualifying for the VCT 2022 Stage 2 APAC Challengers. A 'Top 2' finish in APAC would result in their return to the Masters stage, giving them yet another opportunity to get closer to their goals.

PRX is mostly a squad of young former CS:GO players who are renowned for their aggressive and unconventional playstyle. Currently, the organization fields a Valorant roster comprising of Jason "f0rsakeN" Susanto, Wang Jing "Jinggg" Jie, Aaron "mindfreak" Leonhart, Khalish "d4v41" Rusyaidee, Benedict "Benkai" Tan and their head coach, Alexandre "alecks" Salle.

PRX Benkai talks about the team's preparation for VCT 2022 Stage 2 APAC Challengers

In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda Esports' Adarsh J. Kumar, Paper Rex's in-game leader (IGL) Benedict "Benkai" Tan shared his thoughts on PRX's incredible performance at the VCT 2022 Stage 1 Masters: Reykjavik, while discussing the team's preparations for the upcoming VCT APAC Challengers.

Q: Paper Rex had an incredible run at the VCT Masters: Reykjavik, finishing the tournament as the 4th best team. Being your first LAN event in a long time, how was your experience of playing in Iceland?

Benkai: I guess all of us had a lot of fun. We kind of knew what to expect since we have already been to the Masters: Berlin. So, the whole process of how the tournament was handled was pretty much the same. But we went in with such a mentality that we were ready to just take whatever result came to us. We didn't really set goals or expectations to make it far into the tournament.

Q: APAC was always considered a small region in Valorant, but PRX managed to defeat both EMEA and NA’s top seeded teams at the Masters: Reykjavik. How would you compare the quality of APAC as a region against major regions like EMEA and NA?

Benkai: In terms of quality, I feel like the practice culture in the EMEA region is a lot different. I am not sure about NA since we haven't really gone there. But in EMEA, they would practice scrims by the map, so it was always a new opponent every map.

In SEA, you would play the same opponent for maybe 2 or 3 maps in a row, which, I think, can be counter-productive when you are trying to really grind a certain map. I guess that's the difference EMEA has over the APAC region. It is just the intensity and the practice culture.

Q: After the Masters in Iceland, you had roughly a month for the Stage 2 Challengers. So how did PRX prepare for Stage 2 of VCT?

Benkai: When we got back, we just knew that Fade, the new Agent, was coming out. As soon as we got back, we started brainstorming and coming up with theories and concepts that we can try to freshen things up.

Because of our performance, I am pretty sure that a lot of teams in APAC and even in MY/SG are going to watch those VODs and try to anti-strat us. In order to stay ahead, we all agreed to change things up as much as we could as soon as we got back.

Q: You mentioned that PRX wanted to switch things up a bit after Masters: Reykjavik. In your recent match against Blitz Esports, we witnessed a bizarre Agent selection from PRX, with f0rsakeN on Cypher and Sova, and you and mindreak on Duelists. Was this part of your experimentation with team comps, or was it specifically for your regional opponents?

Benkai: It's solely for our regional Challengers. We were already 6-0 in the Group Stage at that point. So no matter what, we still would have gotten first-place seeding. So we just decided to have some fun in the last match and chose the Agents that we wanted to play.

Q: PRX has never lost a single official match against teams from MY/SG. Considering that, how different is PRX from the rest of your region?

Benkai: I think the advantage we have in our region is that we only have 2 Singaporeans in the team. A lot of these MY/SG teams other than Bleed eSports are either an all-Singaporean or all-Malay lineup.

As far as Singaporeans are concerned, the majority of the talent pool right now is serving their military service. So a lot of them are not able to commit to the kind of schedule that gets them to our level. I feel like that's just what is holding the region back right now. Maybe if other organizations start importing foreign talents, there will be a rise in competition in the MY/SG region.

Q: PRX are currently one win away from qualifying for the VCT 2022 Stage 2 APAC Challengers. Considering you had a flawless run in the tournament's previous edition, which team would you be most excited to meet again?

Benkai: I think Team Secret is looking good this time around. They were doing really well for their respective regionals. It is starting to look like the kind of form they were in for the Champions. So maybe they are one of the teams I'll be looking out for when we get to APAC.

Q: Paper Rex has a notably unique playstyle that sets the team apart from teams all over the world. But according to you, what is it that makes PRX truly special?

Benkai: I think we're just not afraid to innovate. A lot of these teams, especially from the smaller regions, are always copying the latest Masters winners. They would just copy their comps and try to replicate it. But we're keeping true to what we think are good ideas. So I feel like if i were to describe our team in one word, I would say that we're innovative.

Q: The upcoming VCT Masters in Copenhagen will possibly feature a live audience, like in CS:GO, for the first time in VCT. How much of a motivation is that for PRX to qualify for the tournament?

Benkai: I wouldn't say that a live audience would give us that extra motivation to qualify, but it's just going to be a cool bonus point if we ever do qualify for Copenhagen. I come from a background in CS:GO, and I have played in front of a crowd before. I know the feeling of having a crowd and it's great. If my teammates can experience that, I would be happy.

Q: What are the goals that Paper Rex has set for VCT 2022?

Benkai: We are in a really good place to qualify for the Champions right now due to the number of circuit points we have. We're going to do our best to do well in the upcoming APAC Challengers and hope that we get to qualify for the Champions. I think getting to Copenhagen is like, we will still obviously try to qualify, but I don't think our approach to the tournament will be any different from Iceland.

Quick Links

Edited by Mayank Shete