Team Heretics’ nukkye on First Strike victory and Valorant meta
Run It Back was lucky enough to have a chat with Žygimantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas just after Team Heretics’ massive victory at First Strike Europe against SUMN FC. The experienced ex-CSGO player shared with us what he learned from the journey all the way into the First Strike finals, his thoughts on Valorant’s current meta, and what the First Strike Europe victory means to him personally.
RunItBack: First of all, huge congratulations to you and Heretics. It’s fair to say you’re the best team in Valorant’s Europe, as far as competition size goes. So if you could just tell me a few words about how you feel coming off of this win against SUMN FC?
nukkye: I feel happy and full of adrenaline still. My voice is a bit shaky, my hands are still shaking. It feels really rewarding, All the months we practised since we gathered this lineup. The last three months. All the work and long days paid off eventually, so it feels really rewarding. Also proving the haters and people that didn’t believe in us, that said that we’re not even close to being a top five team.
RunItBack: So this victory obviously means a lot to you. But, how big is it really? You’ve got some achievements in CSGO. So how does this First Strike Europe victory stack up. Is it your best esports achievement, or would you say something else is still above this one?
nukkye: I honestly think, well, my CSGO previous events I’ve won are massive for me, individually. That was the biggest step for me in esports if I wanted to continue I wanted to win something. But this one is like writing history. This is the First Strike, the first event that Riot has organized. So, you’re writing history. Because you won the first big event in Europe and it’s really important. People are going to remember you always. So this is a massive reward for me because I switched games. I literally left everything I had in CSGO and everything I built during the four years of competing and moved to a completely fresh scene that is still growing as it’s only been out for six months.
RunItBack: What happened after you beat G2 yesterday? What I mean is, what was your team’s routine knowing you’re going to be playing in the final the following day. Did you rest, practice, mix of the two?
nukkye: What we did, all of us watched the semifinal [SUMN vs FPX], so we knew what people were doing no matter which team we faced, we knew what they played. So that was the first step. We did a basic thing. We gathered at like 2, we did like an hour and a half of just speaking, all the homework we did on them. Our coach and us just went over some steps and then we had a warmup game before the official. We did it before Liquid, we did it before G2, we did that exactly the same. So it’s a routine for us.
RunItBack: Looking back over all the matches you had in the First Strike qualifier. Is there anything you learned specifically by playing so many different teams. Any patterns or meta-related things?
nukkye: I mean Viper is becoming a big thing. Also, all of us understood that playing our own game and adapting to the enemy team is the best thing to do. Instead of doing any heavy anti-stratting. Just being confident in general, that’s the most important part. I think for me personally and for the entire team. So these are the things we picked up. We might learn Viper, use her in the future. We’ll see how it goes, but these are the main things.
RunItBack: What do you think of the meta currently? There is a lot of emphasis on flashes, especially Breach. loWel mentioned that Sage is the perfect counter for him. Given the meta, do you things are fine currently, or there needs to be a change in a certain direction?
nukkye: I think it’s really decent [the meta]. I think Skye hasn’t been in play yet, in EU we haven’t used her much. We practiced with her a few times, but other teams haven’t used her that much either. I think Skye may get implemented instead of like a certain duelist, it may be a thing. People will run smokes, they will run old agents, but something may change for Skye. I feel like Skye is kind of useful, the flashes that she has are really useful. A lot of info, she works as a mini-Sova. I think the flash meta may get implemented eventually, I mean Breach was heavily used in Europe. Everbody run it. But we kind of avoided him, but we may use Skye and Viper eventually.
RunItBack: What’s next on your agenda. Is it the Champions Tour or do you have something planned before that?
nukkye: Not really, to be honest. We only have one Spanish tournament left this week. It’s two games if we make it to the finals, if we win the first one. After that we’re going to take a break. Because we’ve been grinding for three months non-stop and everybody has been playing a lot, so we’re going to rest for next year and come back clear-minded and start preparing after New Year’s or before slightly, we’ll see how it goes.
RunItBack: Any closing words for your fans?
nukkye: Shoutout to all of our fans, especially the Spanish ones, there’s massive support coming from that scene and I’m not Spanish and I’m getting a lot of love so thank you everybody for supporting us in the last few months. And, thank you to my team for achieving this massive victory.
RunItBack: Thank you nukkye.
*Answers may have been altered slightly for the sake of clarity*
Naim "EnKay" Rosinski