BraveAF and Derke had chemistry before they linked up on Fnatic
Derke waling onto the Champions stage before Braveaf was on the Fnatic squad
Derke waling onto the Champions stage before Braveaf was on the Fnatic squad

BraveAF and Derke had chemistry before they linked up on Fnatic

The Russian connection is strong with this duo

In the first game of Fnatic’s first match of the 2022 Europe, Middle East and Africa VALORANT Champions Tour Challengers league against G2 Esports, Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev and Andrey “BraveAF” Gorchakov decided to play aggressively on the A site as defenders on Icebox. BraveAF used his Sova drone to spot out the enemy, as well as his Recon Bolt, and pushed into the attacker’s side with his fellow Russian teammate. BraveAF peeked around the corner and killed the first G2 attacker he saw. Then Derke, comfortable to play off of his teammate’s utility and information, peeked as well and stole a second kill.

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The elimination gave Derke his ultimate and as the two backed off, he took another G2 head with Jett’s Blade Storm. The start of the round was exactly what Fnatic had said they wanted from their new addition in BraveAF, and what their coach, Jacob “mini” Harris, promised from him in the pre-match interview.

“He’s a headshotter and he’s generally really good with utility so it felt very natural playing with him,” mini said. “Derke enjoys being supported by him.”

The two former Commonwealth of Independent States players have played together in ranked before and had their chemistry down pat in the server before they linked up on Fnatic, according to BraveAF.

“He played in CIS and I just knew he’s a good guy,” BraveAF said in a post-match interview. “Somehow we connected together and played ranked a lot and it seemed like we have a chemistry from the start.”

During the offseason BraveAF even contacted Derke to see if Fnatic would be open to trailing him after the departure on former Fnatic player Domagoj “Doma” Fancev was announced. The Fnatic Duelist told him that the Sova player was already on the list and to sit tight.

BraveAF, like Derke, comes from Counter-Strike. He was not a touted player in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and only achieved Tier 2 status in Counter-Strike 1.6, his preferred version of the tactical shooter. He said he was initially drawn to VALORANT because of its similarities to the old Valve title, mainly its spamable walls and random spray patterns. When he started playing the game, thanks to a friend’s urging, he was hooked and said he knew he was going to go pro in the Riot Games title.

Now, in the EMEA Challengers league, BraveAF is looking to make the playoff stage and continue the honeymoon period with Fnatic. But he also wants to continue to represent CIS on one of the top stages in the world. When asked what CIS team he wanted to meet in the playoff stage, outside of VALORANT Champions finalists Gambit Esports, BraveAF pointed toward Natus Vincere and said that he wanted CIS to have good representation at the event.

“So I just want to make sure that CIS is showing good results and I’ll be happy with that,” he said. “Including me and including every other Russian player that’s playing in EMEA.”

Fnatic started off their EMEA Challengers run with a 2-1 win over G2 Esports and will continue their campaign on Feb. 19 against BBL Esports.

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Declan McLaughlin
Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.