BONECOLD: I missed the winning moment because I thought: "Please don't throw"

posted by Zorkaa,
The first VALORANT world champions Acend took a moment after their win to talk about their winning moment and experiences in an exclusive interview. Acend did it. They made history. The EMEA team that started the year strong by winning Masters 1 also ends 2021 on-top by triumph over everyone else at the first ever VALORANT Champions. Santeri 'BONECOLD' Sassi and his team beat the odds by wrestling down the tournament favourites, the CIS titans Gambit Esports. The nail-biter of a final served up everything the fans wanted: close maps, amazing rounds and dancing players.

Both teams traded maps in the beginning, but it seemed like Acend were going to break under the pressure. On Fracture, the dark horse of the tournament got smacked 3-13. But they went onto claw their way back into the series by parrying a map-point on Icebox and clutching a 14-12 win. The event then concluded on Split where the European team had their backs against the wall once again. Their opponents grinded out some rounds and had all the tools to win while sitting on a 8-9 scoreline on the preferred defender side. But a time-out was all they needed and Acend made it look easy bringing it home 13-8.

After their impressive win, Acend took some time to talk to us about their journey:

Congrats on the historic win! You already touched on how amazing it feels to hold this trophy in your hands. But let's go back a little bit and run us through the day, the hours before the final today. As a competitor, you must have thought about this day a lot.

BONECOLD: I can only speak for me and zeek, but we were waiting in the hotel earlier and it felt like just another day in VALORANT to be honest. You just go there and you play. I didn't get any extra pressure from playing in the final. We wanted to play in the biggest tournament and we just pracisted beforehand and it worked out really well.

Everything is still very fresh for you guys and you didn't have a lot of time to think about what just happened. But you just made history and will probably never forget this. So do any of you already have a specific moment in mind which you will most likely think back to fondly in the future?

starxo: The comeback on Icebox I think.

zeek: Getting absolutely destroyed on Fracture.

cNed: +1 to that.

zeek: This is going to be in my head for propably the next two months. Like how did we win the final after that.

Nbs: For me personally, the end of Icebox and the end of Split. I feel like the end of Split was also really amazing. We won 7-5 on Defense, which is a pretty average score I'd say, but we played amazingly well on Attack. I think COLD IGLed very well, we had very good reads, very good lurks and the pressure didn't do anything to us. Maybe we played even better. I think this is something to remember.

BONECOLD: I will remember the last round where I was yelling: Don't push Redgar in the five-versus-one. Don't give him anything. But cNed was just pushing him CT. And I kind of missed my winning moment, because I was just thinking: Please don't throw this round.

starxo: Yeah same, I was just sitting spot and slowing CT.

BONECOLD: I was like: Im gonna go plant, Im gonna smoke heaven, don't give him anything! Don't give him anything!

starxo: Then cNed died. Then Kiles was chasing...

Playing it safe... But you already touched on Split there Nbs: Gambit looked like they were going to run away with it up until the 17th round. This is where your team called for a time-out and then sealed the deal. What did you discuss?

Nbs: We started amazingly well on the first half with a 6-1 lead, but then they managed a small comeback. I felt like they changed the way they attacked twice during their side, where I have to give them huge props, because they kept changing and made it work. We switched sides and had the time-out and I think we talked about whether hitting the B-spot is a good idea. Because of that read we wanted to get as much out of this as possible. But then again, we also taked about some details, like not being too obvious, doing everything properly, doing some fakes here and there.

Winning a final is always a learning experience. You already had your first exerience like this when you won Masters 1, but winning Champions topped this again. So what are some takeaways from today's final and the battle you went through?

BONECOLD: I think the most important thing is to adapt to new situations. This is what we worked on the whole year. And even looking towards the next year, we have to adapt to the fact that we have the trophy now and everyone is coming for us. No one will underestimate us anymore. So we need to be ready, handle the pressure, work even harder, be innovative. But being adaptive is the most important part for the next year.

Photo credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games