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Team Envy player Victor “Victor” Wong thought he was having a nightmare when he tested positive for COVID-19 at VALORANT Champions. The impact of that result on the tournament didn’t even hit him until he got a second polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that confirmed he had contracted the virus.

“After the first positive result I was under the impression that this was definitely a false positive,” Victor said from a hotel room after losing to Acend. “I didn’t even feel anything. I thought it was a dream and I was just like ‘no way.'”

Several other players had tested positive for COVID-19 during the tournament, but a second batch of tests proved that the early tests had resulted in false positives. Only Victor and Team Liquid’s Nabil “nivera” Benrlitom are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. So while all Envy players had to quarantine for five days after traveling to Germany from Texas, they had to isolate again once Victor’s PCR test came back positive.

“We literally just came back from tech check, we went to the stadium, came back and were all sitting down and randomly get a message that [Victor] has to go to his room immediately,” Envy player Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen said. “It was very surprising. We expected to play on stage all tournament long.”

Hating his time at Champs

Victor was frustrated and sniffly after losing to Acend 2-0 in the group stage at Champions. He said the entire experience at the LAN in Berlin has been the “worst one he’s had yet.” He’s had to play all his matches alone in a hotel room, separated from his team. To top it all off, while it was 34 degrees Fahrenheit in Berlin during his match against Acend, Victor couldn’t even close the windows to the room he was playing in.

“My arms were freezing,” Victor said. “I don’t even know how I’m supposed to hold my mouse.”

Envy
Envy have been unable to play onstage for all of Champions | Photo by Lance Skundrich for Riot Games

The first-ever VALORANT Champions has been rocky in other ways, so far, for Envy. Their group mate, Vivo Keyd, used an illegal camera exploit during six rounds on Breeze in their match against Acend. Envy were originally going to play Vivo Keyd until a competitive ruling from Riot Games forced the Brazilian team to forfeit the map. Then Riot had Acend and Vivo Keyd replay the map. Acend began the replay with a seven point advantage, but it once again made it difficult for Envy to figure out who their next opponent would be.

“I think [Riot] should have just stuck to their ruling instead of letting the community affect their decision,” Victor said of how Riot Games re-evaluated their original ruling. “It’s obvious they decided to replay because of the community, too much backlash.”

Looking ahead for Envy at Champions

Envy lost 13-8 against Acend on the first map, Ascent, but had a strong push on Bind to try and send the series to a third map. Acend prevented the comeback by winning 13-11 and securing a spot in the playoffs. Envy will play against X10 Crit on Dec. 7 where they’ll have to shore up the mistakes that cost them against Acend.

“We won our pistol round on our defending bind and then we lost our eco after,” Victor said. “Which definitely destroyed our half.”

Envy have played both their matches, including their first one against X10 Crit, two floors down from where they sleep in their Berlin hotel. They haven’t gotten play on Riot’s impressive stage at Champions. Victor believes the results would have been different if they weren’t miles away from the tournament venue.

“It’d be entirely different. It’s hard for me to get into it,” Victor said. “I’m in a room by myself, playing by myself while my four teammates are together. It’s hard for me to get hype. I’m playing VALORANT Champions from a hotel room. I’m literally playing from home, basically.”