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Many VALORANT fans fantasize about the day when their plays are cast by the best of the best on the big stage, but very few get the opportunity. As a lowly Silver player, I am about as far away from the possibility of playing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans as anyone can get. However, I got a taste of what it was like to clutch against some of the best all while having the voices VALORANT fans know and love cheering me on.

While testing out VALORANT’s newest agent, Neon, alongside community figures and other members of the press, I hopped into a lobby with some of the best players I’ve ever competed against. My team consisted of Team Liquid content creator Tiffanie “Tiffae” Hsu, NRG streamer Alan “Ethos” Ruan and VALORANT casters Tanner Metro and Mimi “aEvilcat” Wermcrantz.

The enemy team? Another NRG streamer by the name of Chris “Flexinja” Irvine, Version1 streamer Jordan “Nosyy” Van De Voort, Ethan Benard and two of my Upcomer co-workers, Bonnie Qu and Zain Merchant. Winning would be a tall order, but I had something bigger to play for: my own self-gratification.

Back against the wall in a 1 vs. 1

With a lobby full of VALORANT talent, we settled into a best-of-three matchup. My team ended up winning the first map, Breeze, and the enemy team took Bind. That drove us to a third and final map in the series.

Tied up with the series win on the line, I realized I was entirely outmatched. As Sage, I warmed the bottom of the leaderboard with only five kills and more than 15 deaths. Flexinja had been “flexing” on our entire team with 26 kills as the kill leader of the lobby. Behind him was Benard on Jett with 22 kills, and Nosyy on Skye with 17.

That didn’t stop me from clutching one of the most intense one-on-two situations of my life.

With the enemy team on match point, we launched an attack on the A site of Ascent. Tanner Metro was the first to die when Flexinja pushed us, but I quickly traded the kill. Shortly after, Tiffae fell after to Merchant, who had also been struggling to keep up with the talent on the enemy team. Ethos stepped in quick and avenged Tiffae by finishing my coworker off himself.

“God, lit 50,” Tiffae exclaimed after she had died.

“Here, let’s spam this,” called out Ethos as we all trained our weapons in the back cubby to get justice for Tiffae.

“One in heaven and one tree,” called out aEvilCat as we finally entered the A site.

However, shortly after calling out the positions of the enemy, aEvilCat fell, leaving me in a 2 vs. 2 against Nosyy and Benard with Ethos as my only support. I was already growing less and less confident in my abilities as my teammates dropped, so by then winning felt hopeless. No one would have bet on Ethos and me winning when with the way I was playing.

Then Metro did something that made my palms sweat even more: he started casting the final fight. Despite the extra stress and the mild distraction, I suddenly felt like I could come out of any situation a winner — even this one. So, I didn’t give up.

VALORANT clutch cast live

After taking down Nosyy at the generator, I went to plant the Spike. A loss here meant a series loss and a win brought the score to 12-10 to keep our hopes alive. Ethos pushed into Heaven where the last opponent was but fell soon after, leaving me in a 1 vs. 1. Sage vs. Jett — a lowly Silver noob against a cracked content creator.

“Picks up two with the ultimate, now looking for one back gen,” Metro said. “Nosyy falls generator and last one standing!”

“Oh no,” said Tiffae when everything fell onto my shoulders.

I had no idea where the Jett was, but Ethos was quick to call out her location and how much health she had left.

But since I had already taken down one content creator, I decided it was time to bring down another. With only 86 points of health and no shield, my moment to clutch had arrived. I checked the generator one last time before backing up to the door. Then, Jett peeked out from the other side of the boxes, right into the middle of my crosshair. She was dead one click later.

My teammates exploded into cheers and my ego grew swelled by the second. I may not have the skills of a high-level VALORANT player, but that experience of what it was like to clutch with a must-win kill, all while a caster cheered me on in the background was a rush I won’t soon forget.

After the “good jobs” and virtual high-fives, Metro broke down what was going through his own head during that moment.

“I was weirdly torn there,” he said. “Like, do I cast it, or do I just let the content happen?”

Lucky for him, I had the content part covered. My clutch was exactly what the team needed to take the game to overtime. My team and I carried our momentum into the additional rounds to win the final map 14-12 and take the series 2-1.