Envy has been dominating the North American Valorant scene for months now. No matter the tournament, Envy always lingers along in the bracket, looming as a threat.
A large part of Envy’s success comes down to its ability to read and adapt to opponents’ strategies. In-game leader and star player Pujan “FNS” Mehta talked with Stropse to help us understand how Envy is so good at in-game adaptation.
Preparation, as FNS explains, is so important in professional play, and when a team pulls out something unexpected, it can be incredibly difficult to bounce back.
‘When you look at a team’s comp, and you study for it, and then all of a sudden, it’s completely different than what you expected, you kind of have to come up with a game plan on the fly. And it definitely, definitely hurt me individually. Because when I don’t know what the other team is doing, sometimes I get not flustered and I play worse. But luckily, I have good teammates who, you know, carry me through the finish line.”
Many teams in Valorant come in with great preparation and a strong game plan, but are unable to read the enemy and adjust accordingly. In this spontaneous area, Envy thrives. The team loves making adjustments and beating their opponents through strong reads and macro out-plays. One reason why Envy is so good at adapting is because of the vocalness of the players.
“As far as adaptation goes, we have myself, Crashies, and food who are very vocal. Even kaboose gets very vocal when he’s having a good game. Every single player on my team has
input, almost always. Especially if I ask for it, they consistently have an answer.”
When the team feeds more information to FNS, they come away with more informed decisions, which means more round wins. Envy’s ability to adapt all comes back to his group of synergized and vocal teammates. Although FNS is often praised as one of the premier IGL’s in Valorant, he claims that it’s not always him formulating the outplays.
“A lot of the times my teammates are calling the shots, you know, it isn’t even me necessarily doing all the calling, like crashies, one round, will call a really, really good fake. So I know people are gonna give me a lot of credit as a caller, but a lot of the credit goes to my teammates as well because they don’t just drag it out, you know, when they’re playing well, they’re also making a lot of good calls.”
Default and Play for Info
Along with being vocal in-game, the other half to Envy’s formula involves simply defaulting, and playing for as much information as possible.
“You just try to get as much info as you can, and you default a lot. When you don’t know what the other team is doing, you try to default and see how they play, and then adapt and make adjustments based on that.
“You don’t want to just run into a bomb site,” FNS explained, “if you don’t know how they’re going to try to hold it; what utility they do have and what they don’t have. You want to just expend as much utility from them as possible and the more utility they use, the more info they give us on where they’re playing.”
FNS gave an example, citing Envy’s first round match against Gen.G on Bind. “We noticed Sage was playing Hookah a lot, and Sova was playing Octagon a lot.” FNS explained how they noticed Sage was walling off Hookah every round. From there, they realized Sage and Sova were trying to delay Envy on B while the rest of Gen.G played three men A.
“The only way we realized that was their game plan was through defaulting. So, you just have to default to to gain a sense of how the other team plays if you don’t already know from watching demos.”
Although it’s been a while since Envy was an underdog team, its rise to the top wasn’t instantaneous. Envy didn’t suddenly win a tournament unexpectedly, becoming a sensation overnight. Envy’s climb to the top of North America was gradual, learning and taking away something valuable from every map.
Speaking of the takeaways from Valorant Masters, FNS said, “We learned that our Icebox has a lot of holes, and we rely a little too much on entries and mid control. We’re not going to do that as much going forward. We’re definitely gonna adjust our mid control to where we don’t just get to 2K’d every single round without any trades.
“We honestly underestimated [Gen.G] on Icebox, and they just shit on us because of it. I literally thought we were gonna just destroy them on Icebox, if I’m being honest with you. So I think if there’s one thing we learned, it’s that we can’t underestimate teams.”
Although it may feel like Envy has always been the force it is today, Envy’s success in Valorant spawns from an ever-developing style based around the team’s ability to read and adapt to its opponents. As Stage Two begins and teams start scrambling for a spot in Masters 2 at Reykjavik, FNS and his teammates will surely be ready and waiting for whatever is thrown their way.