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VALORANT Champions 2021 was a massive tournament, filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and shocking upsets. In the end, Acend took the crown as the VCT 2021 Champions. “It feels amazing,” said Acend’s Patryk “Starxo” Kopczyńsk, in an episode of Showstopper, “we will not forget it for many years.”

However, at the same time, he knows that it is also time to look forward. With a title like VCT 2021 Champions, starxo knows that Acend has a big target on their back. “The teams in the upcoming tournaments are insane.” The teams that Starxo is the most excited to play against are FPX (FunPlus Phoenix), Guild Esports, G2 Esports, Giants Gaming and Excel Gaming.

Patryk "starxo" Kopczynski of team Acend speaks in the press room after winning VALORANT Champions 2021 | Photo by Jianhua Chen/Riot Games
Patryk “starxo” Kopczynski of team Acend speaks in the press room after winning VALORANT Champions 2021 | Photo by Jianhua Chen/Riot Games

Looking back, one of the major events of Champions was in the infamous Breeze Cypher Cam game, when Vivo Keyd’s Jonathan “JhoW” Gloria used an illegal Cypher cam placement. The fallout was immense, first with Vivo Keyd being forced to forfeit, then Acend and Vivo Keyd replaying each other. This sent them to the lower bracket, where they were knocked out by X10 Crit. “It was very hard to deal with it mentally, it broke me mentally,” said Starxo. “I couldn’t understand why it was happening to us. I started thinking, maybe it was our fault… I didn’t know what to do.” He felt bad, not only for his team, but also for Vivo Keyd, “I think they were a very strong team coming into the tournament… I think it broke us both.”

Vivo Keyd at VALORANT Champions
Vivo Keyd at VALORANT Champions | Provided by Riot

With only a few days to until the next match, the Acend players had to quickly find ways to reset their mentality. “Everyone knows themselves the best… I spent time alone listening to music, talking with our mentality coach, talking with my family, cutting off Twitter and Instagram for the days until the next match.” He also joked that Acend was an online team, and so playing at a hotel felt like home. This helped them reset their minds and prepare for their match with Team Envy.

Starxo also talked about dealing with other criticisms, like those about his stage presence. “I don’t come into the game like ‘yeah I am going to dance after this round, this round I am doing this’, no it’s just me, I’m born like this,” said Starxo. “I was the kid with the most energy in school. I am the same with friends and family. It comes naturally for me.” He thinks the criticisms are just people who think he is acting. “I don’t put it on for the camera.”

Team Acend celebrates with a Champions Trophy lift on stage after victory at the VALORANT Champions 2021 | Photo by Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games
Team Acend celebrates with a Champions Trophy lift on stage after victory at the VALORANT Champions 2021 | Photo by Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games

With Acend winning Champions, they could skip the Europe Stage 1 Challengers 1 and 2. They will be playing against old powerhouses and new threats in the EMEA Stage 1 Challengers, fighting for a spot at the VCT 2022 Masters 1 tournament. We hope to see them shine again this year, and prove themselves once more.