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Version1 had a gargantuan task ahead of VALORANT Champions Tour Masters 2: Reykjavík. Just after qualifying, it was announced that Maxim “wippie” Shepelev was unable to go and Jamal “jammyz” Bangash was to step in.

After an impressive showing with jammyz as a stand-in, Version1 nearly reached the top three when they closely lost to NUTURN Gaming in the upper semifinal of VCT Masters 2. After that, however, Version1 was unable to recover the downward spiral. In the lower bracket, EU’s Fnatic proved too strong for the North Americans.

In a post-match interview with Upcomer, jammyz looked back on his unexpected participation in VCT Masters 2. He also looks ahead to his future.

jammyz on VCT Masters 2


Michael Kloos: You guys reached many match points and overtimes at VCT Masters 2. How has closing out a game or series proved a challenge in high pressure situations?

jammyz: “I think what went wrong was that the pressure kind of got to us. We weren’t doing our own things. In the overtime rounds, we were just overthinking it. It really wasn’t anything to overthink and we were. Me standing in for this team with minimal prep and stuff, we didn’t think about many things. I just did my thing. But, in the overtime rounds, we were thinking too much.”

What is the reason you went for Killjoy on Ascent?

“It was to allow Zellsis to play duelist. I was just going to play my Killjoy setups and let him do his thing. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned. We didn’t get the entries or the fights we wanted. And then Derke is insane; he was popping off both maps.”

How did the process of you playing for Version1 go? Did they just approach you on Discord and say, “Hey, wanna come to Iceland”?

“That’s exactly how it went. Just a Discord approach. My agent talked to them. I’m good friends with them. They just hit me up and I played a role. Pretty simple.”

How did you feel in that moment?

“I was incredibly happy and this is a huge opportunity for me to show myself as a player. It’s the first VALORANT LAN, so it’s just crazy being here. I didn’t qualify; I’m just a stand-in, which is insane. The odds of this happening are very low and that’s why, with minimal prep, it’s hard to compete against these top teams that have been together as five for so long. I think we played really well. I think we were entertaining to watch and I hope to be in Berlin with a team of my own.”

Speaking of a team of your own, what are your intentions? What’s the plan going forward with Version1 switching back to Wippie for Stage 3?

“I know there are a lot of teams looking for players right now in North America. My goal is to find a place on one of them. I think I can play a lot of agents and I can adapt to a team pretty well. You know, I only had like a week of prac with these guys. And, had that NUTURN game gone differently, we could be in a top three spot, you know? A top three spot is pretty insane to think about. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. But I think, if I was with a team and we had prep, it would be different for sure.”

Your coach, Immi, said that he tried to make you more aggressive. Did that push you out of your comfort zone? How’s that experience been for you?

“I wouldn’t say it put me out of my comfort zone but, like, I didn’t prac that much. It was like a five day period of prac. A majority wasn’t even useful because of bad PCs and we had bad ping in the hotels playing online scrims. The prep was very minimal and I didn’t adapt to how they wanted me to play in a sense. As a stand-in, you kind of just try to make the best of it. I think, in that last series especially, I was just uncomfortable. People weren’t playing how they were usually playing. I was just in a weird spot. You know, it happens. It is what it is; I’m not mad about it. I’m just happy to be here.”

Are you planning to go back to your own style now after VCT Masters 2?

“I wouldn’t say my style is too passive. But it’s like knowing that when to go aggressive is mostly based on what your teammates are doing. Comms, audio cues, watching the mini map and playing off of it. I didn’t have time to adjust and feel the players on the team out, so it’s hard to do these things in the moment. Especially on stage in front of a bunch of people watching. It’s a lot of pressure but I wouldn’t say I’m a passive player. I don’t think that’s true.”

When it comes to pressure, did you feel like there was a bit extra because you had to maybe make Wippie proud; to fill his shoes successfully?

“Wippie is one of my good friends. People say like, ‘you’re a stand-in, you don’t have any pressure.’ But I felt like I had pressure and I want to play well always. Maybe it got to me a little bit in this match, but it’s whatever. We had five days of prac. What can you expect, you know?”

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