Nigma Galaxy's female VALORANT team ready for upcoming FSL Elite

(Image: Yahoo Esports SEA)
Regina “Ivory” Lopez (left) and Tiara “Alluka” Pleno from Nigma Galaxy (Image: Yahoo Esports SEA)

Nigma Galaxy’s female VALORANT team are set to lock horns with some of the best female teams in Southeast Asia in the upcoming FSL Elite, which will start on Saturday (23 October).

Comprised of Filipino players Kyung In “Tr1cks” Lee (who is also the coach), Regina “Ivory” Lopez, Shara “Ayaaa” Koshikawa, Tiara “Alluka” Pleno, Hanna “Hanuh” Bermejo, and Singaporean player Chloe Wong “Chloettw” Ting Ting, the team have accumulated the second most Circuit Points for the FSL VALORANT Circuit 2021, just behind Indonesian female powerhouse Alter Ego Celestè.

FSL Elite is the final tournament for FSL VALORANT Circuit 2021, and features a total prize pool of USD$25,000. The champions will walk away with the top prize of USD$10,000.

Formerly known as Galaxy Racer, the United Arab Emirates-based gaming brand and renowned Dota 2 player-owned organisation Team Nigma recently merged together to form Nigma Galaxy.

Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia recently sat down with Regina “Ivory” Lopez and Tiara “Alluka” Pleno to talk about their team dynamics, the upcoming FSL Elite, and beating Alter Ego Celestè.

When did you all start playing video games and why did you gravitate towards playing first-person shooter (FPS) games like VALORANT?

Ivory: I think I started having an interest in video games ever since I was in grade school. It started off with playing random offline games, and then playing FPS games just came a bit late–maybe it was during my high school days.

Ever since I started playing FPS games, it's just like dominoes from there. I played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), and then moved onto VALORANT.

Alluka: I started playing video games because my brother invited me to play the original Defense of the Ancient (DotA), and then I transitioned from DotA to League of Legends.

From then on, I tried playing CS:GO and became a professional player. That lasted until 2019 and then I transitioned into VALORANT.

How did you end up joining Nigma Galaxy (formerly Galaxy Racer)?

Ivory: Alluka, Ayaaa, Tr1cks and I were all from the same CS:GO team. So, we were already playing together then. I think that was Blacklist International (Tier One), and then three of us–Alluka, Ayaaa and I, transitioned into playing for OG Centuria. We were already playing VALORANT then.

We stopped playing CS:GO, and we stopped playing for Blacklist International. After we got into OG Centuria, we transitioned again into Galaxy Racer. It was just the three of us, and we got into the same team as Tr1cks. So, it’s a mini reunion.

Then, the merge between Galaxy Racer and Nigma came about. So, we are here now together with our new teammates Chloe and Hanna.

Team Nigma is an accomplished Dota 2 team with accomplished esports veterans such as KuroKy. How do you feel being in the same organisation as them? Does that add any pressure to your performances?

Alluka: For me, it’s a huge deal because Nigma is such a big organisation which we are representing for this region. As for the pressure, I don’t think that there is any pressure because of the organisation, but we do want to play well and represent the organisation properly.

Ivory: There is no pressure coming from the organisation itself, but from the desire to represent the region. I think it’s just within ourselves to perform better and work harder.

Can you tell us more about the team dynamics in Nigma Galaxy? What are the roles that each player has in the team and why?

Ivory: For our team now, I think the one who calls the most shots and is also our in-game leader (IGL), is Tr1cks. She is the heart of the team. She calls most of the shots, determining how every round will go.

Also, I think Tiara (Alluka) and I play a huge part because it’s not only Tr1cks who call the shots. Everyone chips in information, so Tr1cks will have a better understanding of how she will orchestrate the round. It’s like having an IGL and 2 mini IGLs working together to plan the round.

Alluka: In the team, me and Ayaaa are usually the doucheballs. We joke around a lot, and then Tr1cks would be the one that is probably done with all of our shenanigans.

With Chloe being added recently, she’s just going with the flow because she’s really trying to understand us as we speak our own language which she doesn’t understand (Chloe is Singaporean) most of the time. Tr1cks is always reminding us to speak in English so that she can understand.

And then, we have Hanna (Hanuh), our Sova who sometimes has her own world with Regina (Ivory). They have their own things going on in them but usually it’s me and Ayaaa who are very noisy. So, if we were absent from the team, I think that it would be very dull.

You have made it to FSL Elite after accumulating the second most Circuit Points throughout the year. How was the whole process?

Ivory: For our team, I think we always do our best in tournaments. It’s the same pressure, it’s the same teams but all throughout the different FSL Opens, Alter Ego Celestè had performed really well.

We were always getting second spot and we should just keep trying hard. Hopefully, we will perform well in the upcoming FSL Elite which we have also been preparing.

Alluka: I wouldn’t say [the process] was tough, but we had a lot of roster changes, coming from Oasis Gaming (OG Centuria), and then transitioning to Galaxy Racer, and then transitioning to Nigma Galaxy.

With those FSL Opens, we had roster changes which was hard because roster changes usually mean that you are trying to [develop] your chemistry with new players, especially since we got Chloe.

It was our first time playing with an international player. So, it was kind of hard adjusting at first because the communications were different, our gameplays were different, and we were still trying to adjust to one another.

But with this coming FSL Elite, we hope that we can do our best, show our potential and [the result] of our team practices by then.

How is the preparation for FSL Elite so far?

Ivory: For us, we do some individual practices–the fundamentals like aim. We also have our regular scrimmages, and before that, we do map talks. We also tried different team compositions, and then tried them out to find out whichever worked the best for the team.

Alluka: I would say we didn’t get to practise as much as we would like to because of certain circumstances–most of us actually got sick. So, we had a long break. We had to stop practising for a while, and when we came back, we were a little bit shaky from the loss of practice.

We couldn’t really dive back into it as fast as we would like because some of our players were still recovering. So, I don’t think that we have much practice but I would like to say that we are going to be prepared for the upcoming FSL Elite.

What are your expectations for the upcoming FSL Elite?

Ivory: I think all the teams are going to be prepared because it’s a very big tournament for the female scene. Of course, we want to win.

Alluka: I think the ultimate goal is to win the championship for any tournament. For us, this is probably the biggest tournament for this year and for any other tournaments that are [catered] to females only.

I think all the other teams would like to get that championship, and we are hoping that we can do our best and perform well so that our practices will show. We would like to beat teams like Alter Ego Celestè because they were unstoppable in previous FSL Opens.

Nigma Galaxy (as Galaxy Racer) have faced Alter Ego Celeste multiple times in FSL Open throughout the season and have often come out second best. Do you think Alter Ego is some sort of hurdle for you all to overcome this FSL Elite?

Ivory: Of course, looking at Alter Ego Celestè – they not only have good teamplay, they also have sick aim. It’s like a battle of discipline and risks inside of the game.

I think they are the one to beat now, in terms of their statistics and how they have performed from the first FSL Open to FSL Open VI. I think their statistics [speak for themselves].

Alluka: I wouldn’t say Alter Ego Celestè are an invincible team, as you can see from the recent Lenovo’s Legion of Valkyries tournament. They were beaten by Thai team Mad Army.

So, I would like to see how Mad Army coming into FSL Elite will change Alter Ego Celestè’s gameplay. I would like to see us adjust to it as well, and become more prepared than we were before.

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