Multi-esports talent Patiphan ‘Patiphan’ Chaiwong has returned to Valorant after a year in the Overwatch League. In an interview with Dexerto, the Thai player talked about why he returned to Riot Games’ title and what it feels like to reunite with his old teammates.
The last time Valorant fans saw Patiphan compete was at the 2021 world championship quarterfinals, in a 2-1 loss to Gambit Esports in Berlin, Germany. The Thai team, led by their confident Duelist player, were an underdog at the tournament.
The squad had debuted on the world stage at VCT Stage 2 Masters Reykjavík in 2021, drawing admiring glances with their fast-paced style of play. After missing the next international event – Patiphan could not take part in the Challengers qualifying tournament due to an unhealed wrist injury – the team returned to the international stage at Valorant Champions 2021, where they secured a playoff spot by beating Envy (now OpTic Gaming) in the group’s decider match, off the back of Patiphan’s Duelist play.
While maybe not impressive by 2022 standards (Paper Rex and ZETA DIVISION have raised the bar for South East Asian teams), Patiphan and his X10 teammates surprised the world with their results and took Gambit, the previous Masters winners, to three maps in the playoffs.
Six days after his elimination from Valorant’s world championship, however, the Thai competitor retired from the Riot Games title and returned to the esport where he had started his career when he was just 15 years old, Overwatch.
Seven months later, Patiphan would be lifting the Overwatch League Midseason Madness trophy in Honolulu, Hawaii as the DPS player for the Los Angeles Gladiators in a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Shock. But after the second stage of the OWL season, the generational talent retired from Overwatch and esports.
It wasn’t until he started talking to his old X10 Esports teammate Thanamethk ‘Crws’ Mahatthananuyut that Patiphan started thinking about giving Valorant another shot. The Thai player would return to Valorant in the VCT partnered league with Talon Esports.
“We said we wanted to run it back. This time I will be playing competitively for my ex-teammates,” Patiphan said in an interview with Dexerto.
He explained that he wanted to come back and play with the people he used to compete with because he knows their work ethic and how they think about the team environment.
When asked if he kept up with Valorant while he was competing in Overwatch and his thoughts on how the game is played now, the Thai professional player did not mince words about the Duelist role.
“Duelists go kill brr brr,” Patiphan said.
On a serious note, the 19-year-old player is returning to Valorant with a new competitive system and new expectations. No longer are Southeast Asian teams segmented into sub-regions that meet only when qualifying tournaments for international events come around.
Japanese, Filipino, South Korean and Thai squads will clash every week once the Pacific VCT league begins in Seoul, and the bar has been raised for Asia as a whole.
“My goal is to go together with the team to reach a higher level in our career. PRX and ZETA both did incredibly well on an international level, I expect us to be able to be as competitive as them,” Patiphan said.
Without Patiphan, his former teammates joined XERXIA Esports and made every international event in 2022, but they crashed out of all three tournaments in the group stage.
Asked about how different practice and preparation are between Overwatch and Valorant, Patiphan said that in Blizzard’s title, players need to have a high level of understanding about the game generally and need to have more hours in scrims to be properly ready for matches.
In a recent interview with GGRecon, Jordan ‘Gunba’ Graham — who, much like Patiphan, has switched between the two games — said that Overwatch players work harder than their Valorant counterparts on average. When asked for his thoughts on the statement, Patiphan generally disagreed.
“Overwatch requires players to be able to think for themselves and the team (everyone has to be an IGL depending on the situation), so you need a really good understanding of the game and by having a good understanding, you have to scrim more hours. Compare it to Valorant, where the game requires more individual skill, you need to play more outside of scrims (ranked games, custom game lineups, etc.), so I think it’s a different kind of practice,” the Talon player said.
“You can’t go on and say that this person works harder than that person because it’s a completely different game. Crazy, right?”
When asked about his wrist injury and his potential to keep playing at a high level, Patiphan declined to comment.
Fans will be able to see Patiphan and his teammates reunite in a Valorant competition come February as all 30 partnered teams travel to Brazil to compete in the VCT Kickoff tournament.
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