EXO Clan EXO Clan Oceania Rank #3 , formerly known as God Squad before signing with the organization, are one of the top teams in the Oceanic scene alongside AU CS stack Team Launch Team Launch Oceania Rank #2 . The team broke out, while organization-less, in the OCE.gg Community Cup #2, taking down small soldiers 2-1 in the grand finals and winning $500 AUD (~$343 USD).
Since then, they have signed with the Australian organization EXO Clan and made a strong run in the ORDER Oceanic Open, not dropping a single map in the group stage and seeding into the semi-finals. EXO's playoffs journey started off tumultuously, however, with one of the team's players being marked by Riot Games' Vanguard Anti-Cheat, which led ORDER to force EXO to forfeit the series.
Following review by Riot Games, EXO's players were cleared for competition, allowing the match to be played. While Ascent was able to slip by EXO, their performance on Haven and Bind gave them the series 2-1, leading them into the grand finals. The grand finals were a tough matchup for the squad however, with EXO dropping the first two maps 5-13, giving Team Launch the win.
Nevertheless, with a strong OCE.gg Cup win and a 2nd place finish in the first Oceanic Ignition Series event, EXO Clan are definitively one of top teams in the region. With the next Oceanic Ignition Series event coming later this month, VLR.gg reached out to Chris " pl1xx " Li to discuss his team's journey into Oceanic Valorant so far, their goals and their thoughts on the current state of Oceanic Valorant — especially compared to the other FPS scenes in the region.
What were your main motives for switching to Valorant?
Big fan of the Riot Games franchise, played League and I understood how much of an impact it had within the esports scene. I always had goals of playing on the big stage, and I hope that Riot Games will allow Valorant to grow into the most popular FPS.
How's the Oceanic Valorant experience been so far compared to your time in Oceanic CS:GO and Oceanic Overwatch?
It has been great, you will see many players coming from different games. Main ones that I’ve noticed were Fortnite, Overwatch and CS:GO. During release of the game you can tell that the non-CS players had little ‘gamesense’ but they learn very fast. Very similar to the NA Valorant scene where the top teams currently can have a mix of players coming from different games.
What are your current thoughts on the state of the Oceanic Valorant scene?
There are less teams to scrim/practice against. The skill gap between the top eight teams is definitely present, as in the teams currently ranked 1-4th will absolutely crush teams in the 5-8th bracket. Riot should definitely give the top teams in OCE a chance to go overseas to show our dominance, because we definitely put the same amount or even more time into the game compared to top NA teams.
How did your current roster get together initially, when you guys were known as God Squad?
We all knew each other from CS:GO. Iyen goes to the same university as me and played top level CS in OCE. Dizzy also played top level CS in OCE. Flaw is just as amazing as dizzy in CS:GO. We picked Bob up from another team because we saw potential in him, and he really has been putting time into the game even now. We wanted to pick CS players because we all understood the concept of tactical-fps.
How has your time with EXO Clan and your current roster been, especially with two great results off the bat?
I love my current roster. Nobody likes losing a Grand Final but EXO Clan has always been supporting us through the tough times. There are no personality conflicts with my current roster which I believe is the key to improving together as a team.
Currently, you're one of the few rosters in Oceania who are supported by an organization. What do you think about the current support of the scene, both in your region and abroad, from organizations?
I love it how Riot games are sponsoring orgs in OCE to host the Ignition Series. It showcases our region to the world and proves that teams from our region can be just as good as the top NA teams.
How did it feel to win the third map, Bind, 13-4 against Control, after initially having to forfeit the semifinals match?
It felt great honestly, we made a lot of mistakes on Ascent which forced us into the third map. Even though we lost the second map the team stayed composed and ready to take ‘control’ of the third map.
How are you and your teammates feeling going into Rise of Valour, given that you're one of the four teams invited to the Play-In Stage? What do you think your team will be working on in between events?
We will definitely change our team comp. We must adapt to the meta for each map or even create our own meta with the buffs/nerfs coming to the agents.
Given the current situation, it'll probably be a while before we see some international competition. How do you think the region and your team would be able to stack up against some of the rosters from the other regions?
In my opinion, Team Launch can take on the top NA teams. I also believe my current roster can do the same with some adjustments made to our team comp. We are currently experimenting [with] a new meta that we hopefully can showcase in the Rise of Valour tournament.
EXO Clan are set to jump back into action in Rise of Valour, where they have been invited to the Play-In Stage, alongside Team Launch, Control, and unnamed. The Play-In Stage will play out on August 29th, with the Last Chance Qualifier taking place the following day should they not qualify for the Finals the first time around.