We sat down with Tomas “Destrian” Linikas and talked about joining Team Vitality, his first experience with BONECOLD, and the current meta in VALORANT.
The off-season in the competitive scene of VALORANT is in full swing. Almost all teams have reshuffled their lineups. This includes Team Vitality, which is among the Partner teams and will play in the VCT EMEA League in 2023. They unveiled a revamped roster that included three new players: Twisten, MOLSI, and Destrian. As well as a coaching staff of Salah and Strong.
From the champion squad that won the French league, ceNder and BONECOLD remained. Team Vitality will play two tournaments in the outgoing 2022. G-Loot VALORANT Clash – Grand Finals, which will be held online. And Red Bull Home Ground #3 in Manchester.
Congratulations on joining Team Vitality. Let’s start with how the option to join this team came about?
Destrian: Thank you! The option to join Team Vitality came about quite suddenly, after the roster changes in the team. Most of the team members knew me from before, so they knew what kind of player I am, therefore the trials weren’t too long or hard. For myself, I saw the potential in the team instantly. The environment in the team was really good from the start.
You will continue to work with the same coaching staff of Salah and Strong, also will be Gorilla. How do you work with them?
Destrian: I truly believe we have one of the best staff teams in Europe (or even the world). Mostly we work with Salah, the main coach, who implements structure and introduces the analysts’ ideas to the team. Strong, in my opinion, is probably the best counter-strat and scouting analyst out there, and I liked working with him in my past team. Regarding gorilla, I haven’t played in a team with him before, but so far I really like the way he works and his ideas.
Mark: You also work with BONECOLD, the winner of the VALORANT Champions 2021.
From your first practices, how would you characterize BONECOLD as an IGL?
Destrian: Inside the game, BONECOLD is a really calm and collected player, which is perfect for an in-game-leader. I would say that his calls are smart and logical (not random), and works really well within the structure we implemented so far. Although he’s really calm in-game, he’s really funny and friendly outside the game, which is also a huge buff to the team’s emotional environment.
Mark: You will play in the EMEA League next season, which will be held in Berlin for two months.
What are your personal expectations for the upcoming season?
Destrian: I, personally, don’t like to overhype myself and put the expectations too big, even if I was playing with the best team in Europe. Regardless, I believe people are underestimating us a little bit, and I hope we’ll be able to prove them wrong. If everything goes right, I think we should be able to compete for the top spots in EMEA.
You have two tournaments ahead of you: G-LOOT and Red Bull. One online, the other on LAN. What goals do you set for them?
Destrian: Since the team is relatively young, the upcoming tournaments will be a good test for us in official matches. We’ll be able to see what problems come up during officials that we don’t see in practice and what are the things we need to improve the most for the upcoming league next year. Regarding goals, we want to show our great Vitality fans the whole potential of our team!
What do you think of the current meta at VALORANT? What have you changed or left untouched?
Destrian: I believe the current meta in Valorant is quite healthy, especially after Chamber nerfs. We see a lot of different agent compositions played out in tournaments, which is a good sign of it. Although there are some agents that are just not fitting the meta, making them almost unplayable, such as Cypher, Yoru, or even the new agent Harbor on most of the maps.
I would love to see some buffs or changes to these agents, making them again viable. For nerfs, I believe that Chamber is still a bit overpowered and not a sentinel-like agent, so some changes to Chamber would also benefit the game, in my opinion.
Are you personally happy with the results you’ve achieved at this point in your career?
Destrian: Overall, I would say that I am really happy – I managed to turn a big passion of mine into a career/job, I met a lot of new friends and connections in the esports world, experiencing something that I could only dream about when I was a kid. Regarding results, I still want to win a big event, especially in a LAN setting. Personally, I haven’t played in a LAN in Valorant yet, so I would love to experience that.
Team Vitality started their way at the online-tournament from G-Loot. From December 9 to 11, the LAN-event Red Bull Home Ground #3 will take place in Manchester. In addition to Team Vitality, Team Liquid, Team Heretics, and 100 Thieves will also play there.
VCT 2023 will start with the 30-team Kickoff Tournament, which will be held in Brazil from February 14 to March 5.