© Mpumelelo Macu / Red Bull Content Pool
How Valorunts won the Red Bull Campus Clutch South African final
This all star local team entered the finals with one goal in mind: to qualify for the next round and get noticed on the international scene. Here is how it went down:
As Red Bull Campus Clutch headed into the grand finals for South Africa, one team was on everyone’s lips: Valorunts. Valorunts is a team composed of some of the best local Valorant players and brags the first Immortal and only Radiant player locally, in their line up.
The team put on a master class in Valorant during the Finals, never dropping a map and never losing more than four rounds in a single game. Valorunts comprises of Kian “Pleji” van Rensburg, Callum “Caesar” Barry, Nico “Cloxe” Liebenberg, Zachariah “Thewy” Lewis and Quintin “SimplyQ101” Pennells. The players all compete for various well known organisations including the likes of White Rabbit Gaming and Equinox in the USA. When the Campus Clutch announcement was made the team was formed. Most of the players wanted an opportunity to potentially compete on LAN against other international teams and so made the decision to sign up at universities and colleges in order to compete (and are now also furthering their studies and sticking through the courses they registered for).
SimplyQ101 is now based in the USA, but was so passionate about pushing this team to the next level he chose to fly back to South Africa to compete in the finals with the Valorunts. He gave us some insight in to the team’s incredible performance and what to expect from them as they move forward in the competition:
How did Valorunts come to be?
I knew I wanted to get the best of the best in South Africa together in a team. Luckily for me I knew some of the best players personally, we are all close friends and have played together on different teams. I headed to them with the idea to form a team for the Red Bull Campus Clutch. They were stoked, as we all wanted to play against international teams on LAN at some point in our lives, so why not now? With that in mind we committed to Campus Clutch and decided to give it our best shot. Players who weren’t studying chose to enroll in courses to be eligible to compete. Setting up roles in the team was a bit challenging, as everyone in the team is very gifted when it comes to FPS games and loves playing duelist. We came to an agreement to play what we are most comfortable on, meaning for some maps Pleji would take Reyna as a duelist and on other maps a Killjoy. We only run 1 duelist as that is the current meta. Cloxe, Thewy and Caesar followed. The team tends to be Thewy as our main duelist, Cloxe as a duelist or sentinel, Pleji as a duelist or sentinel, Caesar as a controller or sentinel and myself as an initiator or to fill whatever role was needed.
You decided to fly home to South Africa from the USA to compete in the Finals of the tournament. Why?
I always wanted to compete on the international stage for esports. After the announcement for Campus Clutch was made, I decided it would be best if I try and play with the team back home, as I knew them and they shared the same passion I have for gaming. I also knew the players would be willing to sign up and take courses if it meant they could be eligible to play. After qualifying for the finals and my studies being up to date 3 days before the event, it was clear that I had to pursue this once in a lifetime opportunity. I know that with this team we can make it!
You bought your Equinox play book along for the finals, but did you find there was a change in the style of play in South Africa compared to the USA?
It was difficult to adjust back to the more aggressive play style that South African players use as we play on EU servers meaning we have around 160 ping, so it is hard to hold a tight angle. The players in South Africa tend to swing so it was surprisingly hard getting used to that again and not playing against the T1/T2 teams overseas where the game is slow placed and well organised. Adjusting to the high ping was certainly the most difficult thing to get used to.
What did you think of the teams and players you competed against in the South African finals?
It was nice to see the other South African teams and to see how the Valorant community has grown over time. The players have also improved!
You faced off against Softgang in the finals. What did you think of the team?
It was great to face Softgang in the finals after facing off against them in the online qualifier finals. We knew they were skilled players and that we’d probably see them again if we kept winning our games and stayed in the tournament. They played well and you could see they did a lot of practice behind the scenes. A big GG to them, they played very well!
You won the finals without dropping a single map. How did you find the overall tournament experience?
We 100% brought our A game and did not give our opponents much space to work with. The overall Campus Clutch experience was phenomenal. The venue and set up were great and to be able to play on a LAN environment at this difficult time in the world was amazing. It was also some of our players’ first time on LAN!
Now you focus on preparing for the next rounds of the Red Bull Campus Clutch, what preparation will you be doing?
I think we will have a fair chance against any teams we face in the Campus Clutch. However it will depend on the circumstances, if we are still playing on 160 ping against teams with 20 ping it might be tough as we will likely begin to face a much higher level of play, which is tough on high ping. We will be practicing a lot more and doing a lot of EU and MEA scrims so we can get the international practice in and start improving as well as learning as a team. As soon as we know who we will play against next we’ll be doing lots of VOD reviews and learning their style of play.