As the group stages have come to an end for the Valorant Challengers League South Asia: Split 1, six teams are set to take the playoffs stage, beginning on April 14th. Ten teams battled it out in the group stage to qualify out of groups, with six teams making it to the main event. One of these teams was Velocity Gaming, who qualified flawlessly, having not dropped a map to any team throughout the four weeks of play
Following the conclusion of the group stages, BLIX spoke to Karan “Excali” Mhaswadkar about his experience in the group stage as well as what to expect from Velocity Gaming in the playoffs.
Dracorexia, BLIX.GG: How do you feel about qualifying for the main event of the tournament?
Karan “Excali” Mhaswadkar: [I’m] feeling good, of course, and the way we qualified for the playoffs without even dropping a map is a big thing and a statement for all the other [teams].
BLIX: What are some of the challenges or difficulties that you faced during the open qualifier?
Excali: The first official match for our team against Gods Reign was sloppy, but we managed to close the game out. There were no difficulties from other teams to be very honest, it was just ourselves here. The more we played, the more we got used to each other and started feeling confident match by match.
BLIX: How do you rate your performance and your team's performance in the open qualifier?
Excali: Even though we went undefeated, I would still say we didn't play at our best level. Losing eco rounds, doing silly mistakes, and over-peeking were all some things we needed to fix, and we fixed most of them. A few maps went flawlessly for us even though we made tons of mistakes in them, but overall a win's a win, and I'll take it anytime.
BLIX: What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of your group opponents in the league stage that you felt you did make the most out of?
Excali: I don't think we thought about the opponents so much. We were just focused on our stuff and if we do our stuff well, then the game will be easy for us.
BLIX: How do you prepare for different opponents and maps in the league stage?
Excali: There are no special preparations for any team in the league. We just come in with our game plan and focus on executing it with minimal mistakes. ec1s and Dav just gave us an overall idea for the game plan against a particular team.
BLIX: While winning all games without losing a single map, which team gave you the most formidable challenge to preserve this record?
Excali: Honestly, I think it was only God's Reign who gave us a challenge because we didn't know their play style. It was kind of a surprise element for us as they had a new lineup too. But a few rounds into the game, we were able to read them and capitalize on their weak spots.
BLIX: How has your mentality towards the game changed since the arrival of Doma and ec1s?
Excali: For me, my mentality has always been the same, play the best you can in all the matches. But there is more discipline and structure towards the game since the arrival of ec1s, which makes me feel to play the game at more ease.
BLIX: In your recent game against MLT Esports, what was in your mind after you saw the score reach 13-12, with them one round away from completing the comeback?
Excali: Against the teams here, I never felt we were in the deficit at any time, even against GodLike when we were down 12-6. I personally felt we just can't lose the map and we managed to beat them in overtime. Same with MLT, just a few mistakes in multiple rounds cost us, and we were kinda loose, I could say. But overall, we just knew we couldn’t give them the map and somehow managed to close it out.
BLIX: What have you loved the most about the Nodwin Challengers League South Asia: Split 1?
Excali: The thing which I loved the most has to be the LAN environment and I feel that is where I excel the most. Additionally, the way they have arranged the setups for the teams is commendable as well. Overall, they had a perfect and top-notch production and execution of the event.
BLIX: What can fans of Velocity expect from you and your teammates in the playoffs as you try to keep your record intact of not losing a single map?
Excali: Obviously the goal is to win it all and it would be best if we manage to do a clean sweep against every team. There are a lot of changes in our team now so all I can say is that you can expect a banger of a performance out of each and every individual player of our team.
BLIX: How eager are you to face off against Orangutan and do you have any words to say to the players on their roster?
Excali: Personally I'm very excited to go against my former teammates and it will be a match to watch for everyone out there. Velocity and Orangutan are the two big giants supposedly in this tournament, so this might turn out to be the next Val-Classico in the South Asian scene. Most of the time I am savage with the replies or the answers when someone asks me about any particular team, but I cannot say anything in this case as I'm going against my brothers. All I can say is I hope both of us deliver the best we can and give a banger of a performance for the audience to watch, and may the best team win.