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VALORANT: F0rsaken says Paper Rex are looking ahead to Masters Madrid despite loss to Gen.G in Pacific Kickoff

While Paper Rex fell short of the Pacific Kickoff championship, they could still hold their heads high after securing a spot in Masters Madrid.

In an exclusive with Yahoo Esports SEA, Paper Rex team Captain f0rsaken reflects on their team's performance and dynamics, their opponents Gen.G at the VCT Pacific Kickoff grand finals, and preparations for Masters Madrid. (Photo: Riot Games)
In an exclusive with Yahoo Esports SEA, Paper Rex team Captain f0rsaken reflects on their team's performance and dynamics, their opponents Gen.G at the VCT Pacific Kickoff grand finals, and preparations for Masters Madrid. (Photo: Riot Games)

Singaporean VALORANT powerhouse and VALORANT Champions 2023 runners-up Paper Rex did not have the best start to the new 2024 season after getting upset by South Korea's Gen.G in the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) 2024 Pacific Kickoff Grand Finals on Sunday (25 February).

Despite their loss, Paper Rex still emerged from the fray with heads held high, having secured their spot in VCT Masters Madrid.

Yahoo Esports SEA spoke with team captain Jason "f0rsakeN" Susanto right after Paper Rex’s loss, where he candidly talked about their performance, things they need to work on, and the team’s aspirations for Masters Madrid.

"Overall, we’re still really satisfied with our performance,” f0rsaken said when he reflected on the team’s performance.

Even if they fell short of the championship, Paper Rex still had a dominant run at the VCT Pacific Kickoff up until the Grand Finals.

“But maybe today, I would say we were a bit not satisfied because we played really bad,” f0rsakeN admitted. "Gen.G is really great [...] they found a really good playstyle."

For f0rsakeN, it was Kim "t3xture" Na-ra and Kim "Karon" Won-tae on the side of Gen.G who “were on fire this tournament” and gave them the edge in the Grand Finals.

The Grand Finals wasn’t the first time Paper Rex faced off against Gen.G at the Pacific Kickoff. At the Group Stage, the Singaporean team swept their South Korean opponents 2-0. However, the results differed the next time around, and f0rsaken attributed it to a couple of things.

"It’s all about mentality and pressure, I would say,” he admitted.

Another reason why f0rsakeN thinks the results were different was because of how the team experimented at the Grand Finals.

“We kind of like to experiment [...] we love to experiment one or two days before,” he said, adding that the team experiments in the hopes of building “something fun.”

This was echoed by Paper Rex coach Alexandre "alecks" Sallé at the post-match press conference as well.

“I think, you know it’s difficult to get a read of the meta because everyone’s trying new stuff. We might have overcooked a little bit… or a lot. I think we will be thinking about it,” alecks said.

Notably, VALORANT’s Patch 2.03 was released on 21 February, only a few days before the Playoffs. Compared to Gen.G, who had the chance to play more matches since then, Paper Rex were only able to play two matches in the new patch.

Teamwork and communication are some of the things that Paper Rex needs to work on before Madrid, according to f0rsaken. (Photo: Riot Games)
Teamwork and communication are some of the things that Paper Rex needs to work on before Madrid, according to f0rsaken. (Photo: Riot Games)

On top of this, the replacement of star Wang "Jinggg" Jing Jie is another noteworthy factor. Paper Rex had to adjust to Cahya "Monyet" Nugraha, who joined the team last September but was only assigned a new role in the main roster after Jinggg was moved to substitute with the latter's military service pending toward later this year.

“I think personally, to adjust with to a member I would say is it’s not easy because… Monyet is joining and he’s very new, right? And then he’s kind of a bit nervous, I would say,” f0rsaken said.

Paper Rex’s team captain added that they keep playing together as a team to help their newest member adjust as well. He also emphasised how trust was important in the entire process.

“We’re just helping him out to make Monyet comfortable [with] the new role and our team,” said f0rsaken.

At the post-match press conference, Monyet was notably singled out as not being in top form compared to his peers at Paper Rex. However, coach Alecks came to the defense of their newest member.

“Of course he needs more time,” Alecks said. “I think you have to remember that this is probably his first big grand finals and his first attempt to go to Madrid. Both games, it means a lot to him.”

Coach Alecks added that Monyet has quite big shoes to fill, but they’re trying not to put that pressure on him.

“It’s only natural where you come in, and we were second in the world at one point,” he said. “If you see the scoreboard and see how you’re doing, it can really mess with your head. We’re going to try and make it better.”

The Susanto brothers don't talk much in real life, but it was still a bittersweet victory for f0rsaken, who had hoped to face his brother at the Grand Finals and go to Madrid with him. (Photo: Riot Games)
The Susanto brothers don't talk much in real life, but it was still a bittersweet victory for f0rsaken, who had hoped to face his brother at the Grand Finals and go to Madrid with him. (Photo: Riot Games)

With VCT Masters Madrid around the corner, we also asked f0rsaken about how he felt after defeating his brother, Kevin "xccurate" Susanto from T1, at the semifinals in order to secure Paper Rex's spot there.

“I felt really great that I beat him and that I qualified for Madrid because it’s really important for us to qualify for Madrid,” he said.

And while f0rsaken admitted that he and his brother “don’t talk that much” and minded each other’s own businesses — except for sometimes playing games together — he still had bittersweet feelings about defeating him.

“At the same time, I also felt really bad because I thought that we [could] go to Madrid together, you know? And meet in the Grand Final,” he admitted.

“But unlucky for us because we had [an elimination] match together, so yeah.”

Looking forward to VCT Masters Madrid, f0rsaken shared how he and his team plan to prepare for the upcoming tournament. “We kind of want to experiment again,” he said. “We try to find a new meta.”

He added that the upcoming tournament won’t be boring because there are always changes to the agents, with some getting buffs or nerfs, or even changes to the map.

“We’ll see what we can do in Madrid,” added f0rsaken.

The Paper Rex team captain also shared some of the lessons he learned from their recent loss that he thinks they can use for Madrid.

"Definitely, I think we learned more about how we can be better in terms of communication, [which] we’ll try to fix,” said f0rsaken. Another thing that the team needs to work on, according to him, is their teamwork.

“We need to improve,” he also admitted at the press conference. “I think for Madrid, we’ll try to make it more balanced and make it [better] in terms of strategy.”

F0rsaken also shared his appreciation to fans who have been supportive of Paper Rex’s journey so far.

“Thank you so much for supporting us," said f0rsaken. "I’m really excited to show what we can do in Madrid later. I hope that you keep supporting us all the time so we can bring the trophy this time.”

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.

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