Thursday, June 30, 2022

100 Thieves VALORANT Coach Jovi gives an inside look at the team

100 Thieves failed to qualify for VALORANT Champions in 2021 despite impressive performances. In the offseason, 100 Thieves decided to make changes, which included bringing former analyst Jovanni “Jovi” Vera to the head coaching position. Jovi spoke about his transition into the coaching role, what it was like picking up Adam “ec1s” Eccles and Hunter “BabyJ” Schline, and how his background in Rainbow Six Siege has helped him better understand VALORANT.

Jovi said the move from analyst to head coach was interesting because he was the one who dealt with other teams and relayed the information to former 100 Thieves head coach Hector “FrosT” Rosario. He believes his work behind the scenes has helped him become the coach he is today.

One of the challenges of the transition is the amount of work involved in taking on the coaching role. While his work as an analyst helped him gather more information about opposing teams, Jovi now has a lot more responsibilities as a coach to oversee.

“There’s a lot more on the plate, but it’s a lot of fun,” Jovi said.

100 Thieves are picking up two new players in the off-season

In addition to finding a new coach for the team, 100 Thieves also fielded replacements for Josh “steel” Nissan and Nick “nitr0” Cannella during the offseason. While nitr0 returned to Counter-Strike after a year in VALORANT, Steel was traded over to T1 for the upcoming 2022 season. Many rumors surfaced as to who 100 Thieves would be picking off. Sources said the team was chasing former VALORANT Champions winner Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek. They also reportedly trailed Ethan Arnold’s former teammate Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte, who inevitably stayed in Counter-Strike.

“It’s been a long process,” Jovi said. “From the moment I became a head coach and started getting involved, we had a list of prospects that we wanted to reach. There were a couple of prospects that we were in touch with that we could then bring into the server and then see how they were doing. It was a fun process, but a long process.”

Jovi explained that the team had an idea of ​​what style of play they wanted to play and it was more about putting the pieces together to see how well they fit together. In the end, that’s how the team ended up with former Team Liquid in-game leader ec1s and Sentinels player formerly of FaZe Clan. Those names might not have been as prestigious as cNed and Brehze, but they fit the team and are still top talent.

“So BabyJ was an interesting shot,” Jovi said. “We watched him for a while and we knew his potential and we knew what he was capable of. I knew for sure that he was the best Sentinel in North America and easily the top three in the world. So for us it was a matter of course. We were just hesitant to see what kind of team comp we’re trying to run by taking a Sentinel lead, you’ll slow down your playstyle.

One of the challenges for a UK player is the high internet ping while practicing in North America. Despite these ping differences, ec1s was still considered a worthy replacement for steel and nitr0 as the in-game leader for the team. According to him, Ec1s played with over 120 pings while practicing Twitch streams. However, ec1s was finally can get a visa for the USA and was allowed to take part in the boot camp in Dallas with the team.

“When it mattered [ec1s], for example it was hard to tell how he would IGL but you can see it and those are some things that caught our eye,” Jovi said. “He can play Astra, he can play Viper, things like that that we’ve explored. We just felt that he would be just the thing.”

Jovi talks about his time at Rainbow Six and his move to VALORANT

Several people in the VALORANT competitive scene came from diverse backgrounds such as Counter-Strike, Overwatch, Fortnite and more. However, few came from a background similar to Jovi, who previously played Rainbow Six before becoming a VALORANT coach. According to Jovi, the mentality and game knowledge is similar between the two titles and it was easy to switch from one to the other.

“When VALORANT came out, I was like, ‘Hey, you know, we should try this game,’ and both of us [Jovi and FrosT] Start playing and playing and playing,” Jovi said. “We immediately saw the potential of the game and literally after the first few weeks we already started incorporating different things that could be possible in terms of different lineups, what we think will be meta and how The game should be played.”

Shortly after FrosT was named 100 Thieves head coach, Jovi was brought on to the team as an analyst after they won First Strike: North America in December 2020. For the remainder of 2021, Jovi remained as the team’s analyst, helping the former owner of his team in Rainbow Six develop a plan for the VALORANT team.

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