Acend’s Krimson On cNed: ''He Is The Best Operator In The Game''
After stunning the European giants in their first appearance at the VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 1 Masters, Acend endured a turbulent flight to Berlin. From the heights of being regional champions to convincingly being beaten on the road to Stage 2 Masters: Iceland, their bumpy road had fans curiously anticipating whether they had the team quality to continue their success heading into the twilight of the inaugural VALORANT esports season.
The utmost scepticism loomed over their star-man Mehmet "cNed" Yağız İpek.
Widely considered to be one of the rawest and skilled players in the game, the questions that surrounded cNed stemmed from a lack of experience at offline events, and the team's ability to consistently enable the superstar to shine and compliment his playstyle.
However, a quarter-final finish (just a single round away from the final four) in Berlin, has shown that Acend has what it takes, despite only meeting for the first time ever just days before their flight.
"For this being the first international LAN event and the first time we met in real life - at the BootCamp - there's been a lot of really good moments for the guys," said Acend's Manager, Mark "Krimson" Senior.
"I think everyone's really enjoyed it, and been super excited to be playing at these events, which we showed through our appearance on camera. They're all really young guys and happy to be in esports, being here and achieving in esports. Overall it's been amazing."
Back-to-back victories over their regional counterparts, SuperMassive Blaze was enough to see them progress through to the quarter-finals versus 100 Thieves, where the unpolished and unproven quintet pushed a team full to the brim with LAN experience to a third map overtime. Despite a panicked loss of seven straight match-point rounds, Acend's quality was on show for all to see, centred around cNed and his Operator.
Krimson was full of praise for their silent sniper following their exit from the competition, branding him at the "best Op'er in the game", and that he showed the world that he can live up to the gype. "I’ve been with the team since we started, and he’s still hitting shots in the 100 Thieves match that blows my mind," he said. "His reaction speed is insane, his aim is insane, and I think there is no better Op’er in the game than cNed.
"It doesn’t mean that he is necessarily the player in the game, it’s very hard to say who has the most impact, but I definitely think he’s up there as the best Op’er in the game. He showed off his skill. We had a lot of faith that he’d be able to do that at LAN – not everyone did. But, I think he’s proved he’s just as good as everyone said he is."
As the game evolves, the likelihood is that more team compositions will begin coming to fruition. Stage 3 Masters champions Gambit Esports already verified building a team around a sentinel, rather than an Operator-using Duelist, often moving around their Cypher or Viper, Ayaz "nAts" Akhmetshin.
However, Krimson has eyed Acend's future. Continuing to develop around cNed and his ability on the Op. "I think he can keep improving," he began. "The game itself is young and as it continues to grow and teams continue to build starts that revolve around Ops, just as we’ve done, there’s only more and more potential to continue supporting him and building his role as an insane fragger."
Thanks to their progression through to the quarter-finals and Gambit's title-winning performance, Acend have booked themselves a return ticket to Berlin for Champions, where only time will tell if cNed's extra experience can push Acend a step further, or possibly go all the way.