Chokers to Champions: How Gen.G rose from the ashes of APAC to conquer Shanghai

Chokers to Champions: How Gen.G rose from the ashes of APAC to conquer Shanghai

author image Samin Shahan Rahman |

June 9, 2024 at 11:30 PM BST

When VALORANT first entered the professional scene, the dominance of Korean teams in other Riot Games titles suggested a bright future for the region. However, reality proved harsher. Teams like DRX (formerly Vision Strikers) and Paper Rex showed promise but consistently fell short in critical moments, earning a reputation for choking under pressure. This narrative seemed to haunt the Pacific region, with near-misses at several international events​.

Gen.G, despite being one of the more promising teams in the region, struggled with consistency and performance on the global stage. The early years saw them making numerous roster changes in an attempt to find the perfect synergy. Their performance was marred by frequent losses in crucial matches, often failing to progress beyond the group stages of major tournaments​.

In an effort to break the cycle of near-misses, Gen.G underwent significant roster changes and strategic overhauls. The team recognized that a fresh approach was needed to overcome their past failures. Key players were brought in, and the coaching staff was revamped to inject new ideas and energy into the squad.

Building a winning team

The transformation began with significant roster adjustments and the addition of new talent. The recruitment of Kim "t3xture" Na-ra and Kim "Meteor" Tae-o proved pivotal. T3xture, known for his impeccable dueling skills and sharp Operator shots, brought a new level of firepower to the team. Meteor, who took on the role of a sentinel, showcased versatility by excelling in both defensive and offensive plays, particularly on maps like Breeze and Split​.

Moreover, the strategic brilliance of their in-game leader, Byeon "Munchkin" Sang-beom, cannot be understated. Despite a statistically poor performance in the grand finals, Munchkin's tactical calls and mid-game adjustments were crucial. His ability to read opponents and adapt strategies on the fly was a significant factor in Gen.G's successful campaign​.

The coaching duo of solo and HSK played an indispensable role in Gen.G’s journey to the top. Solo, a legend from the Korean CS scene, brought a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of competitive dynamics. HSK, the strategic coach, brilliantly analyzed opponents and crafted game plans that exploited their weaknesses. Together, they provided the strategic foundation and support that enabled Gen.G to perform at their best.

The journey to Shanghai was not without its challenges. In the Swiss stage of the tournament, Gen.G faced off against formidable opponents like Leviatan. Despite losing the first map, they showcased resilience by reverse sweeping the series, which is a clear testament to their improvement both mentally and strategically.

The grand finals against Team Heretics were the ultimate test. Down 1-2 in the best-of-five series, Gen.G demonstrated exceptional composure under pressure. They clawed their way back, winning the next two maps to clinch the title 3-2. This victory was more than a proof of improvement, a timely come-back to the "choker" label that had long plagued them and the region​.

Gen.G's journey from chokers to champions is a story of rising from the ashes. Their victory at the VCT Masters Shanghai 2024 has set a new benchmark for future teams from the Pacific region, proving that with the right mix of talent, strategy, and mental strength, anything is possible.