The Reykjavik Rundown with Sliggy: The East
“I have no idea about the Koreans,” Sliggy says, summing up much of what’s been eating Valorant in the first year of its competition.
Out of the cradle and into COVID, Valorant hasn’t had one iota of international competition for its entire birth year. There’s no real way to stack a wide variety of regions (with a wider variety of styles) against each other. EU vs. NA vs. Brazil, it’s all guesswork really.
But, through watching VODS and doing research, it can be educated guesswork. That’s Sliggy’s job and increasingly what he’s known for in the Valorant scene. As the coach for Team Liquid all the way since the squad was called fish123, Sliggy made a name for himself as one of Valorant’s top minds.
For Sliggy, this uncertainty is exciting. With so much unknown, there’s a lot to discover and he’s clearly energized by the prospect. Building up to the moment, he habitually watched VODs from the other regions’ qualifiers and major tournaments and saw what he could apply in Europe. For him, now is the chance to see just how well his research and his theories hold.
For everyone else, now’s the time to get caught up. Sliggy sat down with us to give a rundown of each of the major regions—North America, Europe, Korea, and Brazil. If you missed out on all the qualifiers and the playoffs heading into Masters, you’re in the right place now.
Going up to Masters, we’re going to post a primer a day to catch you up and provide insights you might not have even if you are caught up. Leading off with the eastern teams and Korea in particular.
These teams consist of Crazy Raccoons from Japan, X10 from Southeast Asia (SEA), and Nuturn from Korea. Japan and SEA rarely had a strong presence in the world of the FPS so they’re both a bit like wildcards—less known and likely less lethal.
While Korea had a reputation for being strong, it was mostly due to Vision Strikers being the single most regionally dominant team in Valorant history. However, Vision Strikers didn’t qualify, leading to a lot of questions about Nuturn and Korea’s strength as a whole. Let’s get started.
The East (Korea, SEA, and Japan)
Are there any teams you feel look the weakest? Are there teams you don’t have too high an expectation for?
Crazy Raccoons and X10 I guess would be the ones that would surprise me but it’s literally just because I haven’t watched enough of them.
I feel like Nuturn’s rise and Vision Striker’s fall is one of the most meteoric shifts in Valorant so far. Did you see Nuturn making any changes that brought them to that point?
The only Nuturn games I’ve watched are literally them against Vision Strikers. I used to watch a lot of Vision Strikers.
I felt that Vision Strikers, I’m not sure if they were playing a lot of officials all the time, but it felt like they didn’t change too much up so if you wanted to anti-strat their stuff or make stuff against them it would’ve been… not easy to achieve but achievable.
In the Nuturn game, they definitely looked better than Vision Strikers in my opinion. I think the teams are pretty closely matched. I think the Vision Strikers will benefit from having a good amount of time off and being able to reinvent themselves a little bit in terms of their comps and their agents that they’re playing.
So I think the Korean scene’s gonna be really interesting to watch in the future, especially for Masters 3, to see if Vision Strikers can bounce back. But Nuturn did deserve the win for sure.
Last time we talked about Korea being more defensive, strategic, utility-based. Do you feel that maintained in the recent qualifier run or do you feel it’s a little bit different now?
Honestly I think it’s still the same. The big difference between when I’m watching Korean teams and when I’m watching pretty much every other region is if someone knows there’s a duel, a lot of the people will wanna take it, whereas the Korean teams will want to use utility and then duel.
I’m not saying this is a bad thing because it makes a lot of sense but sometimes it feels like they could just take duels. It definitely feels like, as a region, they’ve drilled in “utility then peak.” It’s definitely not much of an NA kind of puggy style that sometimes you’ll see other teams use. It’s a lot of sound cues and perfect utility that you know is gonna wreck you.
It’s a really different playstyle. It’s so passive. It really is so passive. They really don’t want to take duels.
This may be hard to answer but you’ve done a bit of time as an Overwatch observer and do you feel like some of this style is influenced by Korea’s strength and history in Overwatch and even in League of Legends?
Yeah potentially. I’ve never really thought about it like this. There’s definitely a few players that have a good amount of FPS experience but that could potentially be why. They were definitely the guys—especially Vision Strikers—that used all of the combos.
Everyone was aware of the combos but no one was using them as effectively as Korea. Like when Jett dash in and Breach flash combo started getting used a lot by Vision Strikers, everyone was copying that at the beginning. They were really far ahead with it.
So yeah, potentially that’s played into their hands. Because honestly, their utility usage, it is the best out of all the regions. It’s just I think they rely on it a bit too much.
The way that I kind of read the meta and some of the buzz around the meta too is you can run no duelists sometimes. There’s a lot of strong utility agents out right now in Astra and Brim and Viper. Do you think that meta favors the Korean style?
It should, I think on paper. I think they’re a good region to do no duelists and they’re one of the regions that would make it work the best so I’m excited to see if they decide to go for it.
There’s also some weirdness in Korea’s meta. I’ve seen Yoru has popped a bit here and there. Do you feel Korea is at all out of the meta or behind the competition?
I mean they don’t use much Viper so I’d say they’re slightly behind, but they’re using Astra and Jett. I’ve seen Yoru used on Bind and Ascent—I think it is. Yoru is one of the agents that I think is gonna be picked a bit more in the coming days. I guess so if I’m just talking from a purely Viper stance. I think she is or was the best agent, so I feel like I would’ve preferred to see more.
In my opinion it’s a Viper meta right? So if you’re not playing it, it’s gonna be hard but I know a lot of teams also have been saying the same—that it’s an Astra meta. So if you’re not playing Astra you’re behind. I can kind of get where they're coming from because Astra is super strong, I just feel she has her weaknesses. [...]
I watch a lot of their stuff and honestly it’s super impressive and the individuals look really good but I just don’t know if they’ll be given the space. They’re a big question mark in my head, I can’t even work out how they’ll do. Their style could work out really well or really bad, honestly. I don’t think there’s gonna be a middle ground.
It’s one of those things where I just have no idea how it’s gonna work because it’s a lot of combos. It’s a lot of set combos and stuff that can work so perfectly. So if teams give them enough space it could really wreck a lot of teams but judging by how everyone plays, I’m not sure if the Koreans are gonna get as much space as they want.
We’ll see how it goes. I mean maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m completely wrong. I have no idea, that’s why it’s so exciting.
Up Next: The South (Brazil and LATAM)