‘We’re the favourites’: EXO Clan assemble roster to contest Oceanic Valorant Open

The unpredictability of a fledgling esports scene hasn’t stopped Oceania’s first major Valorant roster from aiming for the stars.

Oceanic Apex Legends powerhouse EXO Clan have announced their first expansion outside the esport that put them in the spotlight, recruiting converted CS:GO pros to form a squad with “strong fundamentals and lots of experience” according to team member Ethan “Crunchy” Laker.

Hot off the heels of the announcement that Order and Riot Games were partnering to bring the global Ignition series to Oceania, six-time Apex Legends Global series champions EXO Clan locked in a team that is already aiming to compete at the highest levels competitive Valorant has to offer.

Featuring four members of the “God Squad” team that swept the second Oceanic Community Cup, the team consists of former Overwatch and CS:GO pro Chris “pl1xx” Li as well as ex-CS:GO pros Bob “SenpaiMadara” Tran, Kyran “dizzy” Crombie, and Iyengaran “IyeN” Raju. 

Rounding out the new roster is Crunchy, who told Snowball Esports that “everyone is on the ball, knows what they’re doing and wants to help each other.”

Despite all coming from CS:GO backgrounds, Crunchy noted that the team has had to make a few adaptations to the team dynamic for Valorant, saying “here, everyone contributes to the in-game leader role”. This is similar to what North American org Cloud9 used to do in CS:GO, and the arrangement allows EXO Clan to “get a really diverse range of ideas”  which can be useful for problem-solving mid-match.

Another key difference that Crunchy mentioned was that team compositions are extremely important. “In CS everyone was the same so all you need to do is understand the positions you play and the utility required for those spots.

“[In Valorant] we also have to think about what characters we play, how they synergise with one another and where they get the most value in the map”. 

This opens up a whole new field of theorycrafting and designing different compositions, an aspect of Valorant that Crunchy says he personally loves.

Due to the infancy of Valorant’s competitive scene and the fact that ranked play only released a few days ago, one would be forgiven for thinking that it’s probably quite hard to get good practice of those team compositions in.

However, there are already networks springing up to organise scrimmages, with Crunchy mentioning that he’s teamed up with other pros to create a Discord server for teams who have placed highly in local events to ensure high quality scrims. 

Having the ability to have good practice is a blessing for the many strong rosters, and will allow EXO Clan to get one step closer to crossing off their first goal as a team. According to Crunchy, taking the crown in the first Ignition series is that major goal, but that won’t stop them from trying to “play every event we can.”

When asked about teams that could pose a threat to EXO Clan’s tilt at the title, there was one name that sprung to mind. “The main team that’s showing a lot of potential is Pants Down.  They play a really interesting style and have a good approach to the game.”

Pants Down are another early contender in the nascent Valorant scene, placing top four both in the second Oceanic Community Cup and LetsPlay.Live’s Valorant Launch Tournament.

However, he was sure to mention that aside from Pants Down, “we’re not really worried or concerned about anyone” and that he believes that “we’re the favourites” to take the title in the first official Oceanic Valorant event. 

The new EXO Clan roster looks quite strong on paper, and these players have already shown themselves to be highly talented when it comes to Riot’s new shooter. If EXO Clan can deliver on their potential, we may witness the birth of a new esports dynasty when the Oceanic Valorant Open kicks off next month.

ProducerJosh Swift
Alex Leckie-Zaharic
Alex Leckie-Zaharic
The first Kiwi addition to the Snowball team, Alex "Alexicon1" Leckie-Zaharic is a keen League player, but will happily watch all kinds of esports given the opportunity. Alex is an up and coming young writer who has written for multiple Oceanic esports publications.

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