Paper Rex, one of APAC's representatives at the VCT 2022 Masters: Reykjavik, initiated their tournament run with a defeat to DRX. After winning the Stage 1 APAC Challengers earlier this year, Paper Rex was slotted directly into the tournament's playoffs.
In their opening match of the playoffs, PRX took on the Korean champions, DRX, who fought their way into the VCT Masters: Reykjavik quarter-finals after consecutive wins against Zeta Division and Ninjas In Pyjamas. After an unbeaten run in 2022, Paper Rex faced defeat at the hands of DRX.
Paper Rex had an incredible start to the match as they claimed Haven by a 13-10 scoreline. The matchups that followed, however, went in favor of DRX. After a bad start on Bind and Ascent, PRX conceded both maps by 8-13.
Despite their defeat, Paper Rex has another shot at the Masters title as they progress to the tournament's lower bracket. Paper Rex will face The Guard in their Lower Round 1 matchup on April 16, 1.00 PM PST/ April 17, 1.30 AM IST.
Paper Rex head coach alecks comments on their performance after quarter-finals defeat to DRX at VCT 2022 Stage 1 Masters: Reykjavik
In a conversation with Sportskeeda Esports' Adarsh J. Kumar, Paper Rex's head coach Alexandre "alecks" Salle touched on the team's incredible performance leading up to the tournament while analyzing their playstyle and detailing their expectations for the remainder of the VCT 2022 Stage 1 Masters: Reykjavik.
Q: After enjoying an exceptional run in VCT 2022, PRX's unbeaten streak has come to a halt. Despite a defeat to DRX, Paper Rex put up a promising performance today. What are your thoughts on the matchup?
alecks: I think we probably should have won on Bind. They played really well. They hit like three or four thrifty rounds against us. We should've been up at least 5-0 on Bind, but they played really well and we couldn't get back into the game.
As for Ascent, I think that was a mistake. We probably should have banned it and picked Icebox. We were confident because we had a new comp and we were playing pretty well in scrims. I guess we couldn't show it today.
Q: Paper Rex has lost to Korean teams in all three VCT events (Masters: Berlin, APAC LCQs, Masters: Reykjavik) the team has participated in. In your opinion, what is the difference in playstyle between teams from Korea and the rest of APAC?
alecks: We have scrimmed with Korean teams a lot of times; Chinese teams as well. But I think DRX themselves play a different meta compared to everyone else. They try to play as perfectly as they can. It's a bit slower than the APAC region. Since there are a lot of different countries in APAC, each country has their own playstyle, so it's hard to describe.
I think the Korean region in general is more methodical, they are a bit more calculated. For example, DRX likes to run double Initiator which pretty much guarantees they have all the information in the round at any point in time.
They play Sova and Skye, because of which they can dog, drone or recon, and they always know where you are. They have to play around with those utilities. I would say that's the Korean playstyle. It's pretty much an information game. Everyone in is a bit more confident in taking fights head-on here in APAC.
Q: PRX were one of the four teams that were directly slotted into the VCT 2022 Masters: Reykjavik playoffs. Do you think entering the playoffs stage directly had an impact on the team's performance, considering it was the team's first international LAN since VCT Masters: Berlin?
alecks: Of course there will be a bit of an impact. We need some time to get used to the stage, but honestly, there's no excuse. Being able to go straight into the top 8 itself is a blessing. I got to skip the Group Stage, we just sat down and watched people play. We got time to watch a couple of DRX scrims, so in the end it's both good and bad, I guess.
Q: F0rsakeN, who has consistently been one of PRX's best players, had his lowest scoring performance of 2022 against DRX, averaging an ACS of 182 with a KDA of 40/55/9 on three maps. Do you think the nerves got the best of him today?
alecks: I'm not sure. It's a whole team thing. Maybe we couldn't set him up as well, maybe we were missing some shots. Sometimes because of how good he is, he tries to take the entire game in his own hands. When he's not hitting his shots, it can look a little rough. You'll definitely see a better f0rsakeN next game.
Q: We've seen f0rsakeN on Yoru prior to the Patch 4.04 updates as well as after it. What does Yoru as an Agent bring to the table for PRX?
alecks: We experimented with Yoru even before the updates. So when the updates came in, we thought of using the Agent as our pocket pick. To be fair, I don't think it was as effective today as it could've been. I think our defensive side was a bit lacking.
We have a lot more in our repertoire that we couldn't showcase today. We might have overthought the situation. A bit of pressure got to us. Plus, DRX is a really good team. They've seen us play Yoru in scrims before, so maybe that helped.
Q: Reyna has been away from the competitive meta for a while now. However, several teams in APAC, BR and Korea did use Reyna in their VCT Challengers run. Being an Agent with limited utility, what value does Reyna bring to PRX?
alecks: Sometimes we try to play to our strengths. As you can see, Jinggg is really good on Reyna. He is one of the best in APAC, if not the best. It fits our playstyle more than anything else. When we do our comps, we try to fit everyone in.
We will obviously retool after the Masters. We will take a look and see if we can change some roles, maybe improve a little bit. So maybe you'll see Reyna in the future, maybe not. But for now, I think it suits us very well.
For us, Reyna is used to play against a Killjoy because she can make a lot of plays and dismiss at the right time. But it really depends on how good the player is. Jinggg is as close as it gets to a Reyna player, and for us, it fits really well.
Q: PRX are one of the few teams at VCT 2022 Masters: Reykjavik that runs a double Duelist setup. How efficient do you think this Agent composition is in competitive Valorant?
alecks: I think it's just our gamestyle. We tend not to play the information-game. We do a lot of reading based on what we see and what our opponents do. Since Jinggg is a really good aimer, we would prefer to have him on comfort Agents and us playing around it. Our Attacker sides are good but our Defender sides are a bit lacking, so we have to figure that out.
Q: How has the scrimming experience been for Paper Rex since arriving at Iceland for the VCT Masters? Did you scrim against any of the other teams from the tournament?
alecks: Personally, I don't mind scrimming anyone at this tournament even if they're in our group or bracket. I offered everyone on pracc.com, some people accepted, some didn't. Europe is like APAC, it's a huge region. They have a lot of different playstyles. I've seen every EU team do a certain thing similarly.
We copied some stuff from FPX, for example; on Haven. It went really well for us. I think it has been a very positive experience. I would love to scrim anywhere in the world if possible, fly everywhere and scrim, you know.
I particularly like the fact that in Europe, the scrims are in one hour blocks instead of two or three hour blocks. I think that provides me with a lot more flexibility in planning the schedule. Scrims in Europe happen to start at like 12.00 PM and end around 7.00 PM and the timing works like a proper job.
It's nice to know that if you wanted to go out with friends and family after work at like 8 or 9.00 PM, you could do that. It's not possible in APAC since you finish at 11.00 PM and by then, everything will be closed.
Q: Chamber has been one of the most influential Agents in competitive Valorant since his arrival. The Agent has been a decisive pick for several teams at VCT Masters: Reykjavik. Considering PRX don't necessarily rely on a composition with Chamber, what are your thoughts on the Agent?
alecks: I absolutely love the Agent. When we were going for the VCT APAC Challengers, we didn't want to change our comps too much since it was working pretty well. VCT Masters events are really close together, so sometimes it's a bit risky if we want to change Agents.
We really need to have good basics. For example, players using Chamber have to change a lot. Most of the time, I think a good Duelist would be a good player to take up Chamber. Even then, he has to get used to his playstyle and learn to use new abilities. We have to play around with the fact that his trip is a bit different.
I absolutely love Chamber and I would use him on every map if I could. For what it's worth, I think we were playing well prior to coming here. We had no time to change. We would love to change in the future, so do look out for that. Chamber on seven maps, maybe?
Q: Both PRX and DRX had an Agent-comp that almost mirrored the previous comp of the opposite team on the same map. Do you think both teams tried to outplay each other, in terms of selecting this particular lineup?
alecks: I'm not sure. We scrim with them a lot, so there are a lot of shared ideas involved. We definitely don't play similar to them anymore. We used to, especially when we first started the game because they were the best team to follow. But now we have gone our own way.
We didn't play them for a month before coming here since I didn't want to get smashed in scrims and come to the VCT Masters with poor morale. We haven't seen their new comps either.
They hadn't played Ascent this entire tournament, this was their first time. We were expecting Killjoy, but we got hit with Chamber in the face and BuZz was just playing amazingly well.
Q: Which player from Paper Rex has shown the most notable improvements during your preparation for VCT 2022?
alecks: I would say all of them stepped up a bit, but I think mindfreak in particular stands out. He has improved a lot since the start of the year. D4v41 had to change a lot of roles and I think he was playing like three different roles at one point.
Jinggg has also improved, he's gotten a lot more comfortable. We moved him off Jett and put Jason (f0rsakeN) back on Jett. They've all improved and that's why we're here. If we stagnate, I think that's when people catch up and overtake us.
Q: PRX will be up against a North American side for your Lower Round 1 matchup. Your opponents will be decided based on the results of OpTic Gaming vs The Guard. What are your thoughts on the matchup?
I'm super excited. This will be our first time playing someone from NA in VCT. It doesn't matter who we play but we're really looking forward to it. We didn't come here to play DRX because they are like our scrim partners.
Q: Despite a defeat in the opening match of the VCT Masters, Paper Rex have one more chance to fight for their first ever Masters title. What can we expect from PRX for the remainder of the VCT 2022 Masters: Reykjavik?
alecks: You can expect us to try our best and meme a lot. We would like to beat at least one team. Hopefully, we can knock out an NA team. It would mean that we have gone a little bit further than last time.
The goal for this tournament was top 8, but then we found out that we were seeded directly into the top 8, so we will try and win one game first. If we win that game, we'll see how we can continue. We are going to take it game by game.