rAge Valorant Cup team update: White Rabbit Gaming
rAge Digital Edition 2020 event is here, and with that some cool content and excitement and esports, yay! So even though we’re not able to swap spit, hug, and high-five each other yet, the online, socially distant rAge Valorant Cup, managed by Mettlestate with a prize payout of R20,000, is in full swing.
This is South Africa’s first major Valorant tournament and with that we are sure to see new heroes being born and that’s super cool for the esports ecosystem. Bring on the new talent show.
I had a quick chat with Barry Louzada from Mettlestate to get his take on the rAge Valorant Cup.
“A lot of people have been super excited for this Valorant competition as it is the first big one to be hosted in South Africa. It is a growing scene with more and more players finding their way into the Valorant space from other games as well as new raw gamers that have never entered tourneys.
As Mettlestate it is our goal to help grow new talent and managing an esports event for rAge with an exciting new game like Valorant is the perfect opportunity to do exactly that. Players have realised the potential of this game as well as giving them an opportunity to make a name for themselves, whereas in other titles, being able to progress is a lot harder due to them being a lot more established and supported within the industry.”
White Rabbit Gaming is rumoured to be “the team to beat” for this event, and so I had a chat with team captain Zybrand Lombaard.
The rAge 2020 Valorant Cup is here! Are you excited?
Zybrand: I am very excited for the first big tournament of the year and seeing many more BIG MGOs entering the Valorant scene, helping the scene grow.
What are your expectations for the Valorant scene other than winning this event?
Zybrand: My expectations are that two or more of the teams will get opportunities to compete on an international stage when LANs and travels are really allowed again, because I believe we have the talent to compete on an international level.
What are your thoughts in terms of the Valorant community right now?
Zybrand: Incredibly supportive community, and we all want the community to grow. Everyone knows each other and we all are working towards new opportunities to help the scene grow. Lots of socially distant love shared between all the guys at the moment.
Your thoughts on the game and the growth in this territory?
Zybrand: The growth can really be better but the methodology at Riot Games is wrong. Our mindset is, if we get SA local servers more gamers will play, but Riot looks for critical mass first, meaning more people need to play and then servers may come. In the meantime, the Bahrain servers are going to help the community grow at least.
Do you think we will see current competitive gamers switch to Valorant from other games and if so, where do you think most of the draw will come from?
Zybrand: Some of my friends comes from games like Overwatch and Apex, but most of the top players in the community come from CS:GO and a couple from COD.
Do you think Valorant has and will attract completely new guys and ultimately teams to the scene?
Zybrand: The way they make everything easy to understand and just the basic mechanics of the game, makes me feel that, yes, it will attract new guys. Valorant is a mixture between many different games such as Overwatch, CS:GO, and COD SnD, so it is the middle ground between many FPS games.
There are 20 teams entered into this event, not bad for a first large scale tourney. Valorant teams would you say currently exist in SA?
Zybrand: I would say there are about 10 active teams in SA, not a good number at all, but the growth I’ve seen lately is impressive and bodes well for the future of the Valorant scene. With the addition of teams like WRG, DNMK, OG, and EGSA entering the Valorant scene this gives other MGO’s a drive to also enter the scene, so I’m optimistic for sure!
This is the first large scale SA Valorant tourney and you guys are touted as the team to beat. How does being the favourites from the start help you prepare for this event, or is it more of a burden than a motivating factor?
Zybrand: Well, this helps us with the confidence factor and may assist with early wins against teams that perhaps struggle with big match temperament. On the other hand, it can be tough to have a bullseye painted on your back with everyone gunning for you and they go into the match with nothing to lose and everything to gain. I guess it’s ours to lose and we hope that this “team to beat” mantle gets into our opponents heads before the match starts to give us the upper hand.
Tell us about your team – how did you meet?
Zybrand: It really just fell in place when I came from CS:GO and was one of the first ZA people to hit Diamond, and I played against Keng in a random competitive ranked game and we added each other afterwards. He then asked me to help in one ACGL tournament and we beat all the teams and it gave us motivation to play together. We went on to win the Mist Invitational and the Mettlestate Cup 1 and finished second place in Mettlestate Cup 2 and here we are today.
Your favourite strategy?
Zybrand: RUSH B…! TMI, I know, lol.
And your favourite map?
Zybrand: Bind or the new Icebox map.
Tell us about the team’s accomplishments in gaming.
Zybrand: Winners of an ACGL tournament, winners in Mettlestate Cup 1, second place in Mettlestate Cup 2 and winners in the Mist invitational.
What would you say to young SA players watching you guys on stream now?
Zybrand: Don’t give up on your dreams! My parents never believed gaming could be a thing, but I put in the hours to grind and get better (and I am talking about effective hours), practice aim, practice smokes, flashes and strats to get better. And play with people that are better than you so that you can learn from them.
What are three things that excite you about SA gaming scene?
Zybrand: The drive to be part of the international scene, the TOs constantly creating new chances for us to prove our self, and the people in the scene that always wants to improve giving you that constant motivation to be better.
2020, good or bad?
Zybrand: It really was a horrible year but think this gave people a chance to practice more games and become better in the games they love, so, for gaming it was good.
Have you ever attended the NAG LAN at rAge?
Zybrand: I’ve attended every rAge Expo and NAG LAN since I was 12 years old. It’s always a good experience.
Your rig specs, plz.
Zybrand: Fortunately, I’m sponsored by Logitech, so all my peripherals are the best and I especially love the Logitech G Pro Wireless mouse. My rig is really basic so nothing that amazing just running a 1070ti GPU and an AMD CPU.
What do you do for a living when not gaming?
Zybrand: I am a full-time student at the University of Pretoria studying civil engineering, and at night I am a streamer.
Zybrand: I think that WRG made the best move ever to pick us up as a team and not only for us but for the Valorant scene because it caused a ripple effect for other orgs to enter the Valorant scene as well, and there is so much potential in the players of this scene that other orgs should just open their eyes and also get involved in this scene. YOU WILL SEE ZA VALORANT ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE!!
Good luck to all participating in the rAge Valorant Cup and for those supporting the stream, thank you and remember, the more you watch streams, the more you support and ultimately grow the ecosystem! Without eyeballs, there is zero reason for companies to support events such as this one through sponsorships.
For more information on how the teams are doing, visit https://www.mettlestate.com/valorant/q1fibd and be sure to catch the Twitch streams.