Veterans of Riot Games’ Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 1 Challengers for Malaysia & Singapore, NUS representatives no.men entered Campus Legends’ Valorant division as favourites to win it all. Though they stumbled a couple of times, no.men earned a spot in the grand finals where they threw down with NP’s Bring Back MEL in *SCAPE’s ground theatre.
Both teams traded rounds in the most contested series of the tournament, but no.men ultimately proved their pedigree and emerged victorious, becoming the first NUS team to win a coveted Campus Legends championship.
After the hard-fought match, we sat down with no.men to discuss their journey and championship win.
All of you, congratulations on that amazing win. That last series looked way too close for comfort. Could you just sum up how you guys feel about your games today?
Lorenzo: Our first series against NP was pretty one-sided and I was a bit demoralised about it. But my teammates all had a positive attitude, and they were reassuring me that it was winnable to boost my morale. In the last game, our comeback and the fact that we have been playing together for a year now shows just how far we have come. Overall, I think our team has very strong mental fortitude. Even though we got shut down on the first map, we were able to come back strong on the second. The third was very close, but we managed to close it out in the end.
Speaking of that last match, how were you all feeling in-game? What were the emotions and communication like?
Domo: We were all very tense, but we knew we had to play on. We did not have a very good buy in the last round, but we knew it was winnable, so we played together.
Naom: Instead of tunnel visioning on ourselves and what we were individually doing, everyone was looking out for one another. In the last round, I almost went in alone and threw the round. But my team had my back. We played as a team and that is how we won the game.
What was the team atmosphere like during the rounds where you were behind? How did you recover and reset?
Naom: One of the best parts about our team is that no one suffers explosive tilt. I do have some silent tilt, but none of us tilt one another. Even when we are not performing well or are behind, there is always someone talking, pushing us on, coming up with new ideas or things to do. Even when we had that 4 – 13 loss, we just told ourselves to go next and moved on.
Domo: It is positive reinforcement. If any of us are tilted, we do our best not to show it. That way the team will continue to have strong mental and we can just push on.
You have a chance to play against so many talented teams and players throughout the tournament. What are your thoughts on your competitors? Who impressed you the most?
Xhum0n: We have been very impressed by the level of play from all the teams that participated in this competition. We play against the university teams more often, so we are more familiar with their playstyles and relative strengths.
But the polytechnic teams performed at quite a high level, and they really showed us what they can do. NP in particular, since they were able to shut us down pretty hard in the first series. As for SP, they did not have their full roster both times we beat them, so we cannot discount that. I am sure they have a lot more up their sleeve.
Throughout the course of the tournament, who would each of you say had the most outstanding performance?
Naom: I think everyone stepped up and had their own time to shine. It is a team game after all. We all had our stand-out moments, but if I had to pick, I would say Domo. He was our most consistent player, he won four MVPs. Basically, when he started hitting his shots, we just won all our games.
Fever, as coach, what has it been like working with these talented players?
Fever: Working with them has been fun and quite a privilege. It is not every day that you see five university players get together and play at such a high level. Of course, there are some tilting moments like when we have really bad downs during practice. That is the nature of the game, there are always ups and down. But watching them perform and get the win today makes it all worth it.
What has this Campus Legends experience been like for all of you?
Domo: It has been very fun competing against fellow students in Singapore and experiencing new players. I actually think that this has been the hardest collegiate tournament that we have played in. As xhum0n mentioned, we usually play teams from other universities, and I feel they are not as strong as the polytechnic teams.
What are your plans for next year’s Campus Legends? Will we see this same line-up?
Lorenzo: Definitely. We will all be coming back next year to defend our championship and continue making NUS proud.
To close out, do you have any last words for your fans and supporters?
Domo: Thank you everyone who believed in us. We are glad to make all of you proud and bring back NUS’ first Campus Legends trophy.
Naom: We are also very grateful to the people who came down to support us. It was very motivating. It really went a long way when we were up on stage and could hear you cheer and scream for us.