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After dropping their opening match of VALORANT Champions Tour Americas 2023 to Leviatán, NRG Esports is back on track. NRG triumphed over fellow North American squad Sentinels on Lotus 13-10 before absolutely annihilating them on Icebox 13-2 for a convincing 2-0 match win.

NRG sharpshooter Victor “Victor” Wong sat down with Esports Illustrated after the win over Sentinels to discuss how his team adjusted after losing to Leviatán, their approach to VCT Americas competition, and the relative power levels of the other teams throughout the league.


Congrats on the win today. What were your expectations going into this series, and what made your second map win so much more convincing than the first?

Going into the game, we didn't really have a specific game plan that differed from any other match. This was the first time they played Lotus and Icebox, so we didn't really have any preparation as far as VoD review on them, so we just waited to see what comps they were running. We had already played the Harbor-Viper combo on Lotus against other teams, so we had a decent idea. I don't know why the second map was so one-sided. Maybe our Icebox is just a stronger map than our Lotus.

Did you expect Sentinels to beat 100 Thieves in their first match of VCT Americas 2023?

I think it's hard to have those kinds of expectations, at least in VALORANT. There are so many rounds and every team is at least decently good with some sort of structure. I think VALORANT comes down to which team shows up better on the day.

To that point, was there anything you learned from your loss to Leviatán last week that helped in this series? Or was it just a matter of you being the better team today?

Leviatán demolished us on Lotus, so we took some of their stuff and added some of our own in terms of what we could do there, but on that day, I think Leviatán was just better than us. They deserved to win that game, but I think the most important thing from that match for us is that it helped us adjust how we play Lotus.

NRG Victor

NRG Victor

There has been a lot of conversation surrounding the top teams in VCT Americas and the names thrown around the most are LOUD, Leviatán and NRG. Do you agree, and if so, which team do you think could be most likely to break into the top 3 over your team or one of the others?

Yeah, I would say that's the top three. I think 100 Thieves could challenge any of those teams. I think FURIA is pretty underrated. They don't get enough recognition in my opinion. That's it I think -- FURIA and 100 Thieves. I think it's okay to think that way, but like I said before, any team can beat any team on any given day. Cloud9 almost beat LOUD; that match could have easily gone C9's way, so it's really hard to predict.

It's early on in the season, but would you say that out of all the North American teams competing in VCT Americas, NRG is the strongest? If so, who would you say is the second strongest NA team?

I think we're the best NA team. In my opinion, it's clear. I think of all the other North American teams, 100 Thieves is the team that comes closest to us.

VCT Americas has a different format than past premiere VALORANT competitions. Has that changed how your team prepares for this event in any way?

In tournaments, we just go on the fly and try to get better every match. This is a 'whole season' kind of thing so I think you have time to get better as the season goes on. It's easier to prep on other teams, especially later in the season, because they're going to have already played a bunch of matches. That's probably going to lead to teams having some secondary compositions in the later weeks. That's what I think is going to happen.

NRG Victor

NRG Victor

What has been your main motivation as a competitive VALORANT player, and has the season-style format changed the way you channel that motivation to put out your best performances week by week?

I think the main thing for all of us is that we just don't like losing. It doesn't matter what the format is -- we don't like losing. I don't think there's any week we're going to take it easy or anything like that. We're going to try to win every single game, and if it doesn't turn out that way and we lose some games, it's not the end of the world. The main thing is to make it into playoffs, which is the top six teams, but we don't like losing, so we're trying to win every single game.

Let's say NRG makes it to the finals. Who would you most expect to be your opponent?

I think it's either going to be LOUD or Leviatán. I'm not sure because LOUD was looking a little shaky against Cloud9...I'll say Leviatán. I would like a rematch against them.

I appreciate your time, are there any closing remarks you have to conclude the interview?

Thanks to the fans who have stuck along with the core of our team through OpTic, and to all the new fans: Welcome.