Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Polish duo from Acend are aiming for the VALORANT Champions title after the reconnection

When these two Polish players first shared a stage in Katowice, they were enemies in a local Fortnite tournament in early 2019. After Aleksander “zeek” Zygmunt saw each other online when the VALORANT beta was released, Aleksander “zeek” Zygmunt hopped onto the stream from Patryk “starxo” Kopczyński and asked if they could play together.

“Starxo wasn’t that popular for either of us, that big,” said Zeek. “So when I hopped on his stream when VALORANT came out and he was playing with his viewers, I took the opportunity. After we played I realized he was really, really good. Shortly afterwards he sent me DM’s and that was the beginning. “

With Zeek, who was unofficially scouting Fortnite’s Starxo, they stuck together within the local Polish VALORANT scene. Now they’re on Acend together to win champions and put Polish players on the map. But the road to their partnership had many twists and turns.

Shy start

Starxo and Zeek became friends in this VALORANT beta stream in 2020. Before they knew each other by name from Fortnite and CS: GO. But after playing together, they realized they shared a desire to play competitive VALORANT. And as luck would have it, Zeek was already building a Polish super team called “The Guys”. Zeek needed another player to complete a potential roster and after a few practice sessions, Starxo joined the team.

VALORANT starxo zeek
Acends Zeek and Starxo have an appearance at the VCT 2021 Stage 3 Masters in Berlin. | Photo by Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games

The all-Polish team, led by starxo, dominated the country’s scene by reaching the finals of seven tournaments and winning six of them. Starxo and Zeek wanted to inspire local Polish talent to jump into this new game. They wanted to use the best VALORANT players in their country to compete against the best teams in Europe.

“Back in Poland it was our dream to form a Polish super team with the newer talents,” said Zeek. “We wanted to be like the CS: GO team Virtus.pro because they sparked the popularity of this game in Poland when they won the ESL Major in Katowice in 2014. “

But while trying to become the first Polish VALORANT team, the players in These Guys got offers from other teams across Europe. Teammates starxo and Michał “RETO” Silski switched to Entropiq, while Mikołaj “Mickebwoy” Chojnacki switched to avr25iq. And after a few conversations, Zeek went to see nolpenki. This split the duo together with their hopes for a purely Polish VALORANT team, as both nolpenki and Entropiq ended up with a mixed European line-up.


After starxo and zeek went to different teams, both worked their way up to the top tier of VALORANT by joining competition teams and working their way up to the Masters. For starxo, his time at Entropiq led him to Raise Your Edge Gaming, which became the core of Acend. As for Zeek, his performance on Nolpenki led him to G2 Esports, which he switched to in early 2021.

“It sucks, I had the feeling that we wouldn’t play together anymore,” said Zeek of Starxo’s move.

But this separation did not last long. G2 Esports was unable to qualify for the Masters in phase 1 and was then removed from the grid. It was a shame not to be on the team, but the advantage was being able to play with old friends again.

“When I was put on the bench by G2, we rekindled our friendship,” said Zeek of Starxo. “We played a lot together again and redeveloped our synergies.”

At the same time, Acend and starxo were on a more victorious path than G2 and Zeek, won Europe’s Stage 1 Masters, but also lost in three Challenger tournaments in a row. That was when the newly married couple heard rumors that Jose Luis “koldamenta” Aranguren was leaving Herrero Acend. When Acend coach Laurynas “Nbs” Kisielius asked his players who would pass well, Starxo recommended Zeek to fill his place.

“The team trusted me and it turned out we didn’t need anyone,” said Starxo. “Also, the coach knew his skills and that helped the process.”

After the two old friends and teammates started playing together again, Acend continued to make great strides on its path to becoming a champion. They won VCT 2021: Europe Stage 3 Challengers 1, beating G2 Esports (and their former teammate Koldamenta) 3-1.

VALORANT Acend team with Zeek and Starxo
Team Acend at the VCT 2021 Stage 3 Masters in Berlin. | Photo by Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games

While playing together on Acend, starxo and zeek proved their chemistry with great teamwork, despite their separation. But especially for Zeek, he was able to show his former coach and current opponent, the head coach of G2, Neil “neilzinho” Finlay, how good his game was at his friend’s side. This coach had nothing but positive things to say about both players, starting with half of the Polish duo that he did not coach.

“I think Starxo is one of the most underrated players in EMEA,” said Nielzinho. “It’s easy to always focus on Mehmet Yağız ‘cNed’ pek in Acend, but Starxo is one of those players who it’s just so annoying to play against. He always seems to win impossible clutches and the energy he brings to his team is incredibly important. “

This great praise for a potential opponent was not only for Starxo, because he also had high expectations of Zeek. After coaching him at G2 and despite seeing him go to Acend, Nielzinho still admires what Zeek brings to the game.

“I would say that Zeek is one of the most versatile players in EMEA right now,” said Nielzinho. “He can play almost any agent at a very high level and he has insane firepower. You can rest assured that he will make a big splash at crucial moments and his movement is something that I was impressed with. “

G2 Esports and Acend, now rivals, battled it out for a champion spot in the EMEA region. However, Acend was the one who made it. G2 struggled in the EMEA Last Chance Qualifiers but was eliminated by Guild Esports in the lower bracket final.

The starxo and zeek duo built a solid partnership when they started playing VALORANT together. Individually they are two very promising talents in the European scene, but together they can and will strive for the top. They now dare to prove that their friendship can not only help Acend win at Champions, but also inspire more Polish talents to pursue an esports career at VALORANT.

“Since the start of VALORANT, we have wanted to make this dream of the Polish super team come true,” said starxo, “and it will always be our goal to inspire Polish players for this game.”

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