Having played on team no.men during the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 1 Challengers for Malaysia & Singapore and making it to the Playoff stages, Hayden “xhum0n” Heng from the NUS Valorant team is confident that they will be able to put on a strong performance. In a short interview, he spoke briefly about how the team has been preparing and what they aim to prove in the coming Campus Legends Season 4 Valorant tournament.
Welcome Hayden. To start off, how long have you been playing with your current roster?
We’ve been playing together for almost a year, maybe around ten months. We started when the last academic year started, so I’d say from around August 2021 up till now.
What sort of preparations does the team do in advance of tournaments like this?
Of course we do play ranked matchmaking, but besides queuing together, we also practice scrims and perform VOD reviews with our coach. He’s the brains of our team and does quite a lot for us. He comes up with strategies, tells us how we should play certain agents and will give us tips on how to play and improve.
Given how involved your coach is, when it comes to drafting in scrims or on-stage, how much agency are the players afforded?
Usually, our coach will suggest stuff to us and if we think it’ll work, we’ll try it out in a scrim. Most of the time, the results of the scrim will show whether these picks work for us. Afterwards, our coach will give us the choice whether we want to run that agent composition or not. I’d say he’s quite flexible and gives us a lot of freedom.
With the conclusion of VCT Stage 1 Masters in Reykjavik, Jett has seen the highest pick rate with 65% and was played on 78 maps. What are your thoughts on this?
I think Jett is an important pick on certain maps like Haven and Ascent. I honestly don’t think you can run on those maps without a Jett so she should still see pretty high usage in this tournament.
From qualifiers to finals, Campus Legends is a pretty long tournament. Everyone will be dedicating a lot of time and effort to it, so does that give the team any additional pressure?
We’re just going into the tournament with the mindset that we should be able to win if we play decently. But even if we have bad games and don’t perform well on certain days, our coach tells us not to stress out. It’s just a game after all.
What do you consider to be the greatest strengths of your team? What do you think helps the team stand out amongst the rest?
I think we have very strong mental. Like whether or not it’s in scrims or an official match, if we’re behind 2-10, 3-9 or something like that, we keep it together and we do come back pretty frequently I’d say.
When it comes down to those kinds of high-pressure situations, who usually takes charge? Is it the team captain or is there a dedicated shotcaller responsible for giving direction?
We don’t really have a team captain, like it’s not a fixed role for us. But our in-game leader and shotcaller is lorenzo. He’s the one who takes charge and gives us directions. Although sometimes when we’re getting beaten up in-game and losing badly, he feels like he doesn’t know what to do and will zone out a bit. At those moments, we don’t really know what direction to go in. Instead, we’ll use the tactical time to get our mental back.
With a pretty sizable prize pool and given the amount of work the team and your coach have been putting in, what would you say are the team’s expectations for yourselves in this tournament?
I think we can do really well. Our goal is to win the whole thing because we’ve been preparing for some time. That’s the main reason why we joined the school team. To win the varsity tournaments.
Earlier this year we actually took part in the VCT. In the Stage 1 Challengers for Singapore and Malaysia, we managed to make it to playoffs, so we hope to be able to maintain that standard and not disappoint ourselves and everyone supporting us.