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Following months of qualifier after qualifier (after an even bigger qualifier), we’ve reached the end of summer and its final destination: VALORANT Masters Berlin.
There will be 15 of the best teams in the world from seven regions (after Bren Esports’ visa issues) that embark to Germany to capture the trophy and automatic qualification to the upcoming world championship. As a bonus, the winning team will also secure an extra spot at Champions, for their respective region.
As we count down to curtain opening in Berlin, I will guide you through each of the 15 teams vying for masters victory about their roster, map pool and the burning questions surrounding them.
Paper Rex starting lineup
Jason “f0rsakeN” Susanto (Indonesia)
Agents played (past 60 days): Jett (33), Skye (6), Raze (3), Reyna (2), Breach (2), Yoru (1), KAY/O (1)
Signature agent: Jett
Stats on Jett (past 60 days):
- 312.3 Average Combat Score
- 1.57 Kill:Death ratio
- 1.09 Kills Per Round
- +68 First Kills-to-First Deaths (170 FK, 102 FD)
Khalish “d4v41” Rusyaidee (Malaysia)
Agents played (past 60 days): Skye (22), Sage (13), Jett (12), Reyna (1)
Signature agent: Skye
Stats on Skye (past 60 days):
- 229.9 ACS
- 1.31 K:D
- 0.84 KPR
- +10 First Kills-to-First Deaths (38 FK, 28 FD)
Zhan Teng “shiba” Toh (Singapore)
Agents played (past 60 days): Sova (35), Sage (9), Breach (3), Killjoy (1)
Signature agent: Sova
Stats on Sova (past 60 days):
- 174.1 ACS
- 1.04 K:D
- 0.61 KPR
Aaron “mindfreak” Leonhart (Indonesia)
Agents played (past 60 days): Viper (21), Astra (21), Omen (4)
Signature agent: Astra
Stats on Astra (past 60 days):
- 189.5 ACS
- 1.18 K:D
- 0.69 KPR
Benedict “Benkai” Tan (Singapore)
Agents played (past 60 days): Killjoy (27), Cypher (14), Viper (6), Reyna (1)
Signature agent: Killjoy
Stats on Killjoy (past 60 days):
- 215.5 ACS
- 1.27 K:D
- 0.74 KPR
Stage 3 Map Pool
Icebox: 12-1, 92% (55% Attack Round Win, 73% Defense Round Win)
Ascent: 8-1, 89% (71% ATK, 68% DEF)
Breeze: 7-2, 78% (54% ATK, 64% DEF)
Haven: 3-1, 75% (65% ATK, 50% DEF)
Split: 5-4, 56% (43% ATK, 65% DEF)
Bind: 2-2, 50% (61% ATK, 51% DEF)
My player to watch: f0rsakeN
Out of the 15 teams, forsakeN was the easiest to pick as a highlighted player. Even if you haven’t watched Southeast Asian VALORANT before, there’s a chance you’ve seen or heard about the name f0rsakeN, based solely on the outrageous statistics he has amassed in his region. His numbers are less superstar and more superhuman, having by far the highest kills per round among any player heading to Berlin.
F0rsakeN is the younger brother of Asian Counter-Strike standout Kevin “xccurate” Susanto, and he’s kept the family name strong in the world of VALORANT. While his numbers are inflated by playing in what is considered one of the weaker regions, there’s no mistaking his natural talent and reflexes. When watching f0rsakeN play, it’s clear why he’s become nigh unstoppable, dancing and dashing through opposing defenses with little to no resistance.
Issues for the prodigy could come when matched up against more disciplined, structured teams. A triple kill where f0rsakeN blitzes through a site in Southeast Asia might be a one-and-done (or worse) against teams who’ve dealt with players of his caliber before and know how to slow them down.
The big question going into Berlin is: What can Paper Rex show in a group designated to demolish them?
The group selection for Masters Berlin was not kind to Paper Rex. Although they wouldn’t have been favorites to advance in other groups, there would have been a game you could circle as an opportunity to impress. But in group A, there are no circles or silver linings to be had. Paper Rex begins their Berlin experience with a date against Asia’s best team, Vision Strikers. And then, win or lose, they’ll have to go up against either Europe’s best team in Acend or Turkey’s best team in SuperMassive Blaze.
So, uh, good luck, I guess?
Paper Rex is going from facing teams that don’t mind getting in the mud to playing a team that is all about coordination and fundamentals in Vision Strikers before facing a team with more firepower than them from EMEA. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that if Paper Rex somehow made it out of Group A, it would be the biggest upset in the short history of VALORANT.
In Berlin, Paper should be aiming for: the impossible
There are three Goliaths in Group A, and Paper Rex is the David — f0rsakeN right in front with his trusty slingshot. The best thing about this terrible predicament for Paper Rex is they have zero expectations to compete against three teams who all could end up in the final in the proper form.
They can (and should) play with no fear. It’s not that Paper Rex don’t have good aim. And sometimes, in the chaos that can be VALORANT, with abilities flying everywhere, that can be enough to shock the world. No one will be surprised if Paper Rex bow out in straight 0-2 defeats at Masters Berlin, and that’s what could make them a perfect spoiler for one of the teams possibly overlooking them.
The most dangerous opponent is the one who has nothing to lose. And stepping into the Masters Berlin arena, Paper Rex and f0rsakeN fit that bill.
All stats for this article provided by vlr.gg
Tyler Erzberger is entering a decade of covering esports. When not traveling around the world telling stories about people shouting over video games, he’s probably arguing with an anime avatar on Twitter about North American esports.