spoke with in-game leader of G2 Esports, valyn, after the Grand Final series versus 100 Thieves during VCT Americas 2024.

G2 Esports vs. 100 Thieves ended VCT Americas 20204 Stage 1. 100T won in a sweep, but that's not to take away from the stellar showing Jacob "valyn" Batio and company had during their playoff run.

Following the Grand Final series, we spoke with the G2 Esports IGL. Read on to see what valyn has to say about the match, preparing for Masters Shanghai, and his continued learning as a leader.

G2 Esports IGL valyn discusses Grand Final against 100T, and more

(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)
(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)

"Obviously, that wasn’t the result you were looking for. After playing 100 Thieves so recently, did it look like a completely different game plan than last time?"

valyn: "The off day they had to be able to watch our game, plus reflect on the previous match, led to them having an incredible game plan versus us. We started off hot on the two maps, but once they started adjusting and getting a feel of how we were playing, they were able to close it out easily.

"I would say, unfortunately, we didn't put up a good enough fight and we didn't adjust accordingly. Honestly, we had no prep going into this. Our match was so late yesterday (Lower Final) and it went all five. It was a long day for us. We just came in and tried our best, but it wasn't enough today."

"Okay, that's what I was going to ask you next. What were the biggest issues you were facing as a team? Would you attribute to the long day prior and no prep time?"

valyn: "I definitely would, but it's not an excuse. I don't want to make it sound like an excuse. I still think that we had moments that we could have closed out maps, or at least gotten big halves. Both on Bind and Breeze. Once it got to the second half, they were completely shutting us down.

"Bind was their defense and then Breeze was their attack. We really just didn't have enough answers. We were properly running our setups. We were, I felt like, in the right positions or even knowing what was about to happen, but they were just outclassing us. So props to them."

(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)
(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)

"And what would you say you noticed as 100 Thieves’ strengths that were hard to counter?"

valyn: "I just think they fight really well together and their util is good. On Breeze, they won so many rounds at A, for example, and we had three people there. We had our protocols down and all the util in the right spots.

"But they were able to set the pace control, is what I call it, really well. So, they were able to slow down or speed up when they have those util gap moments. And they were hitting shots. It's pretty hard to come back from a game like that, when in our heads, we feel like we're running the right setups or the right plays.

"We have a good read of how they're approaching the game, but they're still beating us. So, it felt like we ran out of answers. And really in my opinion, it was only two maps. Sunset, we never practice. I mean, we were literally just having fun out there, running random stuff."

"Well, it's not all bad news. From Ascension, to not being sure you’d even have a spot in the VCT, to G2, and now a Grand Final with a Masters appearance next. You’ve got to be feeling proud of yourself and the squad, right?"

valyn: "Yeah, 100%. I'm still very proud. We had a little team huddle after the game and everyone's chins were high. We knew we didn't show our best today and it doesn't define us. We've got a lot to come. We've got Shanghai and Stage two after.

"This journey that we had was a big confidence booster as a team, and we learned a lot of lessons as a team. So, I think we're just going to take it on the chin and practice even harder. We've got footage to review now, five matches worth of footage. So, we're going to look back and try to reflect on what we could have done better.

"And hopefully if we put it all together, we can be a lot stronger of a team for Shanghai. I want to go out there and I want to show that we're one of the top teams. I don't want to go out like how I did last in my last Masters. That's my biggest fear right now. I'm going to be working overtime to make sure that doesn't happen."

(Photo by Christian Betancourt/Riot Games)
(Photo by Christian Betancourt/Riot Games)

"The team has shown tons of improvement throughout the season and you’re off to Masters Shanghai. It’s been a while since you’ve seen international competition outside of Ascension. What’s the prep going to be like?"

valyn: "Well first, it starts with an day off. We have had a very long playoff run. We played all five days in a row actually, so that was tough. We're going to have a little reset moment. And I think prep is just going to look like some VOD review. Or not some, but a lot of VOD review.

"In my opinion, that's the best way to get better, is reviewing your matches. With that, we're going to try to formulate new game plans, maybe new comps for Shanghai, because we've shown a lot of footage regionally. And I got the news that the first match is against T1, so that's gonna be an exciting game."

"And with how you’ve evolved, how your team has evolved, and how the game has evolved, how different will your approach to Shanghai be compared to Reykjavik two years ago?"

valyn: "In Reykjavik, we were focused very much on ourselves, as individuals and as a team. Just trying to prep with whatever we can do. But I think now, the game is becoming a lot of anti-strat, because if you let a team just do what they like doing, and their game plan is hitting, it's pretty hard to come back.

"Because this game is so momentum based, right? So, we're going to have to be reviewing all the teams that we play, and trying to formulate game plans, which we've been better at this year than at Reykjavik. Back then, I felt like we were just playing our game and not caring about anyone else.

"I think it's pretty hard to do that and come out with wins consistently, especially when you're getting antied. There's a meta game involved, a developing of, 'Oh I know they're going to anti this, so I've got to change this and maybe change a comp here.' It's a lot of prep for specific teams."

Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)
Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)

"On the desk after the Grand Final, you and C0M mentioned that Americas can easily prove itself as the best region in the world. You mentioned the match against T1, a reunion with Sayaplayer coming up. So, I’d like to ask if there are any teams from the other regions, I won’t say scared of, but that you’d be a bit anxious to play?"

valyn: "The one that comes to mind to me is Team Heretics. I think they're phenomenal and I watch a lot of their games. They play really good VALORANT and I even watch their comm videos. They have good comms.

"They're very well-rounded, and they had a great performance in their previous international run at Madrid. So, I think they're going be one of the best teams at the event and they're going to be the team to beat, in my opinion."

"Lastly, we spoke after the team’s debut in the Kickoff tournament. You told me you want to be the standard when it comes to an IGL in VALORANT. How do you feel that has gone so far? And what have you learned in Stage 1 that can help you reach that goal?"

valyn: "I feel like my brain is literally expanding, just being exposed to the best talent in the world. Competing against the best players, competing against the best coaching staffs. And so, just kind of being thrown into the water, if you can imagine, I've been soaking in a lot of info, like, how do you beat star players? How do you beat teams that are running this kind of style?

"And actually going into the match and experiencing it firsthand. You might not have the answer. And so, that's why I would say maybe the calling looked a bit bad at Kickoff or the team was a bit off, but we've been working so hard, to just watch the footage, reflect on ourselves, how we feel, and try to adapt and keep overcoming new challenges. It's hard to be very particular on what I've learned.

"It's not just one thing, it's more so a mindset and how to be a good player. How do you win games, how do you come back, how do you prevent choking? All this mental stuff, when you're competing against the best, is really the difference maker. And so, we've been through all that. We've choked, we've gotten dominated, we've had dominating wins. Going through all of those challenges makes you reflect and understand the game more."

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