Despite being VALORANT First Strike: North America champions, 100 Thieves made a roster change heading into VCT Challengers Three. But Spencer “Hiko” Martin believes their newest addition bodes well for the team’s future.
100 Thieves made the surprise decision to sign former CS:GO pro Ethan Arnold last month, replacing young fragger Quan "dicey" Tran. And while Hiko says dicey is an "excellent player" who helped them claim the First Strike crown last year, the team wanted to go in a "new direction."
"Getting to the top is hard, but staying at the top is harder," Hiko told Dot Esports. "Our comp was a little limited after we tried putting dicey on Sage and trying to make him flex a little bit off of Jett, but you could tell he wasn't really comfortable doing so. When we found out Ethan... was considering the switch, it was kind of a unique opportunity where you couldn't really let someone of Ethan's caliber go to another team."
The team captain explained that other squads started catching up to 100 Thieves after First Strike, forcing them to adapt. And while dicey is an "exceptional Jett," there were some struggles when flexing to other agent comps.
When discussing what Ethan offers for the team's long-term success, Hiko cited agent depth, LAN experience, and a heavy CS:GO background. Despite being only 21 years old, Ethan's CS:GO career spanned five years and multiple first-place finishes with Evil Geniuses. And since the other four members of 100 Thieves also retired from Valve's tac shooter, it's seemingly a perfect fit.
100 Thieves haven't reprised dicey's Jett Op role yet, opting to run one duelist instead. Ethan has taken on the Omen smoking duties for now, while Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella flexes a second sentinel or initiator. By pioneering this more defensive comp, Hiko says they're trying to counter the aggressive double and triple-duelist meta. But it didn't quite go their way in today's Masters One semifinals match against Sentinels.
"Today, it was like a shadow of our normal selves," Hiko said. "Our timings were off, everything was just off... we didn't really play to our max potential."
100 Thieves have been relegated to the lower bracket and will take on Gen.G on Friday, March 19. And with a bit more time to iron out issues, Hiko's hopeful for the team's performance throughout the rest of Masters One.
"The next four days, we're really going to take it seriously and look at what went wrong," he said. "I think you'll see a much more structured [team] that's on the same page."
Make sure to follow us on YouTube for more esports news and analysis.