Rush B’ was always a suggestion. WGS wields it as a way of life.
Styles are what make fights. To see teams impose their own view onto a game and see how different one can be from the next is one of the driving factors of many esport titles, and VALORANT does it brilliantly. One team among them, hailing from South Korea, World Game Star (WGS), has found a style all their own.
There is no doubt that WGS has what it takes to compete in the South Korean VALORANT space. Through two Challengers events in a row, WGS have proven themselves, not only on the merit of their skill but on the efficacy of their style. However, can WGS’s full-court press style take them to the VALORANT Champions Tour: Masters?
When WGS are playing at their full potential, they suffocate their opponents with a pace unmatched. Often times, they disregard the resource of time in favour of controlling the tempo of the match. If they can conduct the symphony of the match, then they can always be in positions to properly facilitate their aggressive, run-and-gun style.
Kim "HANN" Dong-ho and Lim “Has1ra14” Hyuk are the two spearheads for WGS. HANN is not only is the team’s entry fragger but, along with Has1ra14, are the two consistent individual performers. Hong "iRdy" Soo-min is a player that doesn’t get enough credit. Not only is he the in-game leader of the team, but is a major force when it comes to scouting and is one of the team’s operators users. He quite literally is the backbone of this team and their aggressive style. These three make up the core of WGS and are the identifiers of their forward march style of play that has brought them to Challengers 3 and just short of qualifying for Masters. However, glowing reviews aside, WGS are not bulletproof by any stretch of the imagination.
One recurring error that WGS makes quite often is that they commit too many resources on aggressive reads. They have this tendency to cast low-value ultimates at denying positions which they think are coming, without actually knowing that they are coming.
Take, for example, round 11 from their match against TNL Esports during Challengers 1. At the start of the round, TNL Esports leans heavily onto B Site, making a two-sided attack through Hookah and B Long. Once WGS identifies the direction of the attack, they make a quick call to use both Bladestorm and Rolling Thunder to deny the B Long angle. The only problem being; TNL Esports has already rotated towards the other half of the map.
However, it doesn’t stop there. Here is another example from a recent match against ZFGaming from Challengers 2. ZFGaming opens the round with a quick push for Shower control. They win the opening duels and capture the ultimate orb. iRdy catches them on the way out. Then both B Site defenders teleport over and attempt to pin the push into this corner of the map. To be fair, their Rolling Thunder and Bladestorm combo does net them a kill this time. However, the rotation has already begun back towards B Site. Not only are they now down another two massively impactful ultimate, but they also are now out of position for the retake.
These aggressive reads do not always land and often times put them in awkward positions that can cost WGS rounds. That said, it does show a sense of strategic ingenuity and thoughtfulness about VALORANT. If set plays like this are refined down and can be better managed, that could become the catalyst to push WGS into title-contending territory.
Another quiet sore spot for WGS is their full buy conversion rates. In a roundabout way, WGS does not win as many full buys as they should. To further explain, if we take the last five games of any given team and measure the amount of full buy rounds won over the total amount of full buy rounds, per vlr.gg’s economic measurements, then we can see how well a team is performing on average when they have the most resources possible. Obviously, you have to caveat the level of opponents, and the number of maps played; however, over five games, this should give us a decent average.
In their last five games, WGS has a full buy conversion of about 50%.
To set a higher average, NUTURN Gaming has a conversion rate of about 65%.
And when compared to a team WGS will likely meet during Challengers 3, ZFGaming has a full buy conversion rate of about 61%, and TNL Esports have about a 58% conversion rate.
Again, this seems like a symptom of their aggressive, full-court press style. If WGS want to dictate the pace of the match at all costs, then they are going to have to eat some punches to give some--and to be fair, it is working for them.
This all begs the question; does WGS have what it takes to book a ticket to Masters?
The short answer is; yes. That being said, with their track record alone, it is hard to imagine some of the open qualifier teams being able to handle WGS and their hyper-proactive style.
And when we look at their former Challenger opponents, there are clear keys to victory they can wield. If WGS can properly shut down Kim "ROK3T" Ju-yeong and deny his frequent backstab, then ZFGaming tends to stall out before shifting gears.
WGS has the head-to-head record against TNL Esports. The last time they met was during Challengers 1, and WGS took control of the match with a dominant Ascent win and never looked back.
And DWG KIA has frankly not looked good after their roster moves that happened after Challengers 1. They have gone from looking like a dominant group leader that could compete with the best South Korea has to offer, to floundering out of Group B in Challengers 2. Now, that could be as a result of how fresh the moves were, but that remains to be seen.
This positions WGS incredibly well ahead of their group seeding for Challengers 3 and the last chance qualifiers for VCT: Masters. It’s past likely at this point, it’s more probable that WGS makes it to Stage 1 Masters, but the difficult call is determining what seed they advance as.
The name of the game for WGS as they head into Challengers 3 is “controlled aggression”.
The fact of the matter is this; if they want to cement their status in South Korean VALORANT, they have to add more form to their style, or it will quickly fall behind as time goes on. That said, it should be enough to get them to the inaugural VCT: Masters event. However, that style will be put on notice by some of South Korea’s best if they continue rushing forward with reckless abandon.
WGS holds all the keys to longterm success; they just have to slow down and notice them.
Images via Riot Games