With another exciting day of Campus Legends around the corner, team captain Darrel “Chael” Ng of Kaplan’s Valorant squad joined us to speak about his involvement in tertiary esports and the preparations his team has made.
Hi Darrel, thanks for joining me today. First off, tell me a bit about yourself and how you were introduced to Campus Legends!
Currently, I major in Web Communication at Murdoch University. I was first introduced to esports when I joined a cybergaming club in ITE a few years ago. Later, I played League of Legends in the Singapore Garena Campus League (SGCL) after seeing an advertisement. As for Valorant, I’m an Omen one-trick and I have been playing him since the beta.
I found out about Campus Legends through email – Kaplan sent a few emails about it. I got quite lucky by seeing the email in time because I rarely check my inbox other than for timetables and academic matters.
Nowadays, with everything going online, this kind of online advertising does help. Otherwise, it would be like the DoTA or CS:GO competitions in the past, where everything was quite small, niche, and kept within the community.
Right, so how has the team been preparing for the upcoming matches? Is it just something you do in your free time or do you get support from your CCA?
For our prep, we’ve mainly been training together, playing solo queue as a five-stack or sometimes not even as a full team. But we haven’t come into contact with any of the other teams competing this time, so we haven’t played any scrims against them yet.
Internally, we had a two-day training programme where we met and trained for two to three hours. We got to know more about one another and played together. We also had a trainer who guided us on how to improve. Despite the short period of time, I felt that he really helped the team a lot in identifying areas that we had to improve on.
Based on the work the team has put in so far, are there any clear strengths or weaknesses that you’ve identified?
Considering all the matches we’ve played together, I feel that our defence is quite solid but we do need to work on attacking. Overall, our focus is on playing more to hone our skills as a team and to build the team rapport, so that we can perform even if we aren’t our comfort picks.
Another concern is playing on stage because none of my teammates have played on a stage before. Playing online is a whole lot different because there is no crowd and no stage fright; everyone is in their comfort zone.
What about your expectations for yourselves in this tournament? How far do you see the team advancing?
Right now, I just hope to make playoffs. Overall, if you look at Group A, NUS has NAOM and xhum0n so their line-up is quite stacked.
NUS did drop to the lower bracket after losing to SP though. Did that influence you or your teammates?
Odds-wise, I think it remains the same but it did give us a small boost. Their loss shows that they are human too. They aren’t robots so they’ll inevitably make mistakes and whatnot. And of course, there’s no fixed way to play Valorant. At the end of the day, upsets can happen, and underdogs can prove to be the better team.
Speaking of underdogs, we saw Paper Rex finishing top four at VCT Reykjavik. How do you see this impacting the outlook towards esports here?
Paper Rex going into VCT and having such a strong performance definitely shocked the whole world. Thanks to them, they showed that even a Singaporean organisation or team can do well, and this has helped to elevate the esports situation in our region – not just in Singapore but also in Indonesia and Malaysia. This has helped to build publicity and awareness of esports.
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