During day four of the group stage at Valorant Champions 2022, APAC's second seeded team XERXIA lost their opening series to North America's XSET 2-0. Despite their unconventional attempts to stymie their opposition — which included their selection of Yoru for Icebox — the Asia-Pacific's (APAC) second seeded team ultimately continued their lethargic form in international play and became 1-5 overall for the year. Now they must fend off the loser of either LATAM mainstay KRU Esports or reigning Masters champions FunPlus Phoenix to continue their bid to becoming Valorant world champions.
One of XERXIA's players Thanamethk "Crws" Mahatthananuyut spoke to the media in a scrum interview to discuss what happened against XSET, the decision behind picking Yoru in Icebox, and why it has been particularly difficult for them to start off on the right foot in international Valorant play.
Pedro Romero, BLIX.GG What were the team's expectations of XSET and did they meet any?
Thanamethk "Crws" Mahatthananuyut: To be honest, I think they met a lot of our expectations. We knew they were a solid team and we were expecting to be counter strating against them even though there hasn't been a lot of information on them from the previous games. It didn't work out really well because it was a surprise. They they changed it up a little bit and it kind of caught us off guard.
BLIX: About the Yoru pick on Icebox, did you execute it to its full potential on that map? Or is there still more we can see out of it?
Crws: I think we didn't use it the full potential. It's probably because the other team took up so much space. They weren't afraid to take doors and they just took up space and kept on pushing. It costed us a lot of rounds. We couldn't really use our strats properly because they kept on pressuring us.
BLIX: In addition to the team's Phoenix pick on Fracture, they have been quite unorthodox picks from the team. Do you think you can get more value out of them as you get more practice?
Crws: To be honest, from our practice, I think the game was really close. It wasn't because of the Yoru or the Phoenix picks. It was just the trades where we failed to do better than them and that costed us so many rounds. The executes were pretty okay. We did a lot of executes but we got cut off. Their Chamber kept on getting picks on us and it costed us a lot of rounds because we had only four to do the execute.
BLIX: Looking at the entire year, the team have managed to win just one series throughout international competition including Champions. In your eyes, why do you think it has been so difficult for XERXIA to start off on the right foot in international play this year?
Crws: I think it's because a lot of teams are prepared now and they do a lot of homework on us so we really need to change our styles. We haven't really met the perfect combination of agents that we would like to use and it made us scramble in scrims on what to do and it took a lot of time, so the preparation coming into Champions was not perfect. That's probably why executions in game didn't look as good as it it's supposed to be.
BLIX: Do you feel disadvantaged going up against teams who might have multiple coaches or multiple analysts who can chime in during timeout scenarios on stage? Or do you think that's not really advantage at all?
Crws: My opinion is it's probably better. Obviously, with additional input from more coaches, it's like a brainstorm where they give more ideas to the players, but there's not a huge gap between us not having it and them having it. I think it's okay, but there's not that much of a gap.
Feature Image: Lance Skundrich/Riot Games