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“We didn’t have confidence as a team and individually we were not great”: GIANTX player Fit1nho talks about the team’s recent changes

The Spanish player spoke with SiegeGG to talk about his career and the challenges GIANTX has had to face this season.

Established as one of the most popular Spanish brands in the esports industry, Giants was one of the three Hispanic brands to secure a spot in EMEA’s VCT alongside Team Heretics and KOI in September 2022. However, the organization’s history in Valorant began two years before then.

Spanish identity in Valorant

The Spanish Adolfo “Fit1nho” Gallego is the only member left from Giants’ first Valorant roster, presented in June 2020. Additionally, he’s the only Spanish player competing in any top-flight division nowadays. “I see Giants as a family,” he admitted in an exclusive interview with SiegeGG

Full of ups and downs, his career is one of a kind. After a short path in the region’s top flight and being one map short of the VCT Masters Berlin, the 24-year-old spent a season and a half competing in various Spanish tournaments. In other words, the player has gone through every Giant win and defeat since the team landed in Valorant.

“I know the people inside the team, I know how they work, I know they put a lot of effort… when we played in the Spanish League I felt like it was a family, and they did a great job so Riot would give them a spot in the VCT program,” he proudly admitted.

With Giants being unveiled as one of the ten accepted organizations in the VCT EMEA, the team went all-in as the brand’s first Valorant top-flight roster included the signings of the former G2 Esports duo Žygymantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas and Aaro “hoody” Peltokangas along with Emir “rhyme” Muminovic from Ninjas in Pyjamas and Kirill “Cloud” Nehozhin from Natus Vincere, who joined the already-contracted Fit1nho.

In just a few months, Giants went from competing in Spanish tournaments to having a spot in the region’s most important division. Ultimately, the brand’s goals automatically changed as qualifying for international events became the main challenge. However, the feeling inside the roster remained untouched.

“The club is the same, obviously the goals are bigger after signing an international roster, but the team is still the same and the way they work is also the same,” he admitted.

Despite a slow start to the team’s top-flight trajectory with a Top 16 performance at São Paulo’s Lock In and a mid-table finish in the VCT 2023 EMEA League, the roster speed ran the Last Chance Qualifier to qualify for the Valorant Champions 2023. In Los Angeles, California, United States, Giants defeated KRÜ Esports and lost twice to EDward Gaming as the Spanish brand was one series away from the playoffs.

Following the team’s last game of the 2023 season, Giants decided to make a roster move as they parted ways with nukkye to sign the former Gambit Esports and Team Liquid player Igor “Redgar” Vlasov. Shortly after, a big change hit the organization as Giants merged with Excel Esports to create the team’s new identity, GIANTX.

Kickoff and general view of Riot’s current format

Unfortunately, the roster has only played two matches under its new skin. The Spanish organization finished at the bottom of the standings after losing against FUT Esports and the eventual VCT 2024 EMEA Kickoff champions Karmine Corp, both games by 1-2 scores.

“We didn’t have confidence as a team and individually we were not great,” the Spanish admitted. “Although we were close to winning, I was surprised… we were playing very badly, so, normally, people place us low (on their predictions),” he added.  

GIANTX is the perfect case to explain why the competitive format chosen by Riot Games was severely criticized by the Valorant community when it was introduced. The current system rewards those rosters who survive through the ladder; however, those teams who struggle may end up playing 12 VCT matches only with the Kickoff, Stage 1, and Stage 2 combined.

“I would say I liked the Kickoff format,” the Spanish started. “What I don’t like is the format of the two splits, I think it should be single round-robbin with BO3 matches against all of the teams and then the playoffs.”

“It’s something weird, they are inventing things… it could go well, but the usual would be that goes bad, I don’t like it. I understand that some people say, ‘If you want to play well, become a better team” but there’s no time to improve, with five matches, if you aren’t playing well, you don’t have time to improve,” he explained.

The team’s first two matches will be against two of the toughest oppositions in the league right now. Today, the Spanish brand will play against the VCT Masters Madrid-bound Karmine Corp. Next week, they will face off against the Valorant Champions 2023 Top 4 team, Fnatic. “Right, if we play badly tomorrow, we have one week to improve, but if you lose the second match, your chances of making the playoff are almost gone,” the Spanish explained.

Departure of nukkye and purp0's signing

After the conclusion of the Kickoff, GIANTX decided to make a roster change as the brand parted ways with Žygymantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas and added Semon “purp0” Borchev.

In November 2023, the Spanish organization played against KPI Gaming in the LVP Crossfire Cup 2023 as the Russian was chosen as the best player of the series despite his team’s 1-3 defeat. Five months after that match, he was chosen to replace the Lithuanian.

“He’s someone young who’s hungry for success, he’s very motivated, he shouts, he wants to play… it has a positive impact on the team,” the Spanish said about the Russian. “When someone is very frustrated, you will feel it, you will worry about it, but the same can be said about the positives, he’s very good individually and I believe these things will make the difference,” the Spanish admitted.

When asked about the team’s decision to part ways with nukkye, Fit1nho admitted there was a problem with the roles inside the team. “The team was in a bad moment because of the roles, the discomfort of not playing in your role, and a bad streak, everything was negative, so we had to make a change.”

The Spanish revealed that this was not an unknown problem for the team. According to the GIANTX player, the roster had been dealing with role issues since last year. “I think we have had role issues since the last split, we qualified for Valorant Champions 2023 with role issues and now the ball was too big, I think that hoody and nukkye weren’t in their roles,” the Spanish admitted.

However, he is now positive ahead of the start of the first stage. “Purp0’s adaptation to the team is going very quickly, I am really liking the way we are playing now, I believe we will do well from the very beginning but you never know, official games aren’t the same as training games, but I am confident we will be in that Top 3 for international (competitions),” Fit1nho concluded.

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