The best European team in the Beta, somehow, has not been signed yet

19:00, 31 May 2020

The VALORANT esports space has been budding for some time now. With teams popping up, doing well, and then dispersing almost as quickly as they appeared. However, one team has consistently resurfaced during early research of the game, and that team is Fish123.

Former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive prospects Adam "ec1s" Eccles, Dom "soulcas" Sulcas, Ardis "ardiis" Svarenieks, James "Kryptix" Affleck and Travis "L1NK" Mendoza form the core of Europe’s best VALORANT team, Fish123. Boasting wins over HypHypHyp, StartedFromCS, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Prodigy, Fish123 look to be challenging the world as soon as international competition starts to begin.

In 7 of their 8 outings, Fish123 has taken home first place. Their only slip up came during Fnatic’s Proving Grounds event where the team advanced confidently over teams like tamaalol, 9XL, and Team HyP but was toppled by Prodigy in the semifinals, 5-13. This 3rd-4th place finish is the teams only blemish. On top of their near-perfect record, this is a team of incredibly talented and promising players.

Ardiis, also known as icepaperhands, is quickly becoming a standout player in VALORANT. Not only is he an ace with the Operator, easily one of the best in the beta, but the roles he plays marks him as a very flexible player as well. The number of duels he wins with the Operator while also taking offensive angles is simply impressive. Without the sniper rifle, he has also recently been seen playing the entry role on the team’s attacking half, or lurking, on Haven as Jett.

Yes, you read that correctly. Jett is seeing some practical uses, which is surprising. Taking such a slow-paced game like Counter-Strike and adding in this assassin-esque character that has all of these mobility tools, it didn’t feel like Jett was going to find much use. And to be fair, she hasn’t seen widespread use, but Fish123 have been playing her a bit on Haven as a replacement for Brimstone. The rest of the core agents are all present, Sage, Cypher and Breach are all in this composition but at the 5th position, Raze comes in to add in some extra firepower.


This has been the best attempt at this hypothetical “run and gun” style composition that was theorized once the closed beta began. Using Jett to both play as an entry tool and as a flank star all the while attacking sites extremely quickly on a map that has an overabundance of attack paths, Fish123 can show looks that aim to overwhelm one of Haven’s three sites very quickly and force the defending team to retake. This isn’t always the case due to their setups with ardiis wielding the Operator.

Their other default is to have the core of L1NK, Kryptix and a third, usually ardiis but it could depend on the given map, posture to a given site while ec1s and Soulcas lurk around for info and potential weak sides of the map. 

Speaking of, the two other notable stars on Fish123 are Soulcas and Kryptix, two of the better riflers coming out of the closed beta and massive spearhead for the team. Even in losses, one, if not both, lead the scoreboard in terms of kills. Soulcas defaults to lurking with Raze as Kryptix tends to be more static with Cypher, often holding sites alone. Kryptix also cuts the map in half with teammate, L1NK, the teams Sage player, which allows ardiis to play a very floaty playstyle on most defensive halves.

This is a great example of Fish123’s style on defence in motion. L1NK and ardiis push Long A both for information and to stunt any A side pressure. Notably, ardiis plays this angle quite a bit with the Operator and has previously done so in past metagames on Brimstone. L1NK being here limits the punishment the team takes for any kind of lost duel. If ardiis trades or dies, Sage can wall the angle, retreat to A Site, Slow Orb A Short and wait for rotations from Kryptix on B Site. 

These two players alone cute the map down the middle and stall out any aggression on one side of the map. On the other hand, if someone were to peek through mid, Kryptix can do something similar by smoking B Doors, placing a Tripwire, and waiting for a rotation. Both agents are the two best stallers in the game currently.

With half the map locked down, ardiis can also play angles like C Long and even push aggressively with ec1s down C Long to contest the enemy orb. 

With such a dominant record, it is a shame that Fish123 has not yet found a home, but with VALORANT set to officially release on June 2nd, perhaps the team will catch the eye of a European organization looking to move in the space. The results speak for themselves, but the potential for this team to make waves globally is one I’d bet on. 


Images via Riot Games

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