Valorant Interview with Yami, a First Time Radiant
Today we’ll be interviewing a special guest, Yami, who recently hit the Radiant rank for the first time on the EU server.
Throughout this article, we discuss topics such as his mentality, encounters with pro players, tips and tricks for climbing, and more!
Yami is most known for running the Valorantdaily Instagram account, be sure to give him a follow.
Congrats on getting Radiant! Did you play other tactical shooters or FPS games before Valorant?
My first tactical shooter was Counter Strike Source, which I played when I was really really young. After that, I switched over to console and played Call of Duty for a couple of years. Then I moved back to PC and played FPS games like CS:GO, Overwatch, and Rainbow Six Siege.
For those games, did you play them all competitively and try to climb the ranked ladder?
I played all of them mostly casually except for Overwatch and CS:GO. In Overwatch, I managed to hit Top 500 in Season 4 but lost the motivation to keep playing soon after.
In CS:GO, I also played until the highest rank, Global Elite, and quit playing ranked after a couple of months.
When Valorant came out, was it your goal to hit Radiant (or “Valorant” at the time) from day 1?
Haha, yes! I knew I wasn’t going to hit Radiant already in beta or act 1 since I didn’t grind as much and before that, I was mostly playing League and TFT, but it definitely was a goal from the beginning onward.
During your climb, about how many matches would you play a day on average?
During the beta and Act 1, I didn’t play as actively as now, probably only 1-2 games a day. In Act 2, it increased up to 2 up to 3 games a day.
Wow, that is much less than I’d expect. Did you play every day?
In Act 2, I’ve been playing pretty much every day. Before Act 2, I had a lot of days where I didn’t play at all.
Did you play solo or premades?
A mix of both, probably 70% premade and 30% solo. I definitely prefer playing with premades over solo queue.
How does your mentality/strategy change when playing at high levels of ranked in premade vs solo?
I think even in the high levels, solo queue can be a mess sometimes, especially in EU. It happens very frequently that 1-3 players in your team don’t have a mic or can’t use it because they’re living in Russia. It’s definitely a disadvantage and was a bigger one back then when the matchmaking didn’t really differentiate between a team full of solo queue players and a full-stack.
After the update, it’s more balanced but still hurts to play without comms. That’s the main reason why I play in premade and I’m often the only one who plays Jett so I can pick her without feeling guilty haha.
Can you describe the development of your agent pool? Has it been the same since the beta or has it changed as you climbed the ranks?
The first agent I really liked was Cypher who I played the most in beta. Then I moved on and played/tested pretty much every agent until I picked up Jett in late Act 1.
The reason for that was that I felt the most comfortable with her kit since it assists aggressive play and synergizes well with an Operator (I mostly played AWP in CS).
I always liked Jett but didn’t play her in the early stages since she was considered a troll pick back then.
What’s more important at agent select, playing your comfort pick or what’s meta? For example, if Jett was nerfed would you still try to make her work or switch to a top-tier agent?
I definitely think that the agent you play matters – BUT for me, the biggest game-changer was becoming more and more consistent at winning aim duels.
When it comes to playing my comfort pick or what’s meta I would probably try to find an agent that combines both and if that agent doesn’t exist, I try to find the one which is the closest to that.
If Jett was nerfed I would probably just try her and see if I still enjoy playing her before making any changes.
How many agents do you think you need to be proficient with to reach Radiant? At least 2 (main + backup) or more?
I think it doesn’t hurt to play all of them and get a general idea of how they work. After that, having 1-2 pocket picks is probably recommendable.
I for example play mainly Jett or alternatively literally any other agent which is needed (except for Sova and Cypher because if you don’t know the proper lineups/spots for your utility you’re kinda screwed.
Do you spend time practicing agent abilities, such as Jett’s smokes, in Customs?
No, I personally have never done that but I think it’s definitely a good idea for people who have the motivation and time to do that.
Assuming you’re in solo queue, is it better to always choose your comfort pick or pick an agent you’re less comfortable with but is better for the team? For example, would you still choose Jett if your team already had Raze, Phoenix, and Reyna.
No, I would never do that. I think instalocking in solo queue is a terrible idea and if I see that we already have 2 duelists I would usually just ask the remaining people what they want to play and then fill to whatever agent we needed.
You mentioned earlier that the biggest game-changer for you was becoming more consistent in winning aim duels. Did you take specific steps to improve that? Or did you just learn that by playing ranked over time?
To be honest in CS:GO, I never really practiced shooting for heads and it wasn’t that essential in the other FPS games I played.
Then with VALORANT I picked up an aim trainer, Kovaak’s 2.0, and trained my aim for the first time. This didn’t last very long, I only spent like 10 hours using it.
I slowly improved by playing a bunch of Ranked but it wasn’t until Deathmatch came out that I felt very serious improvements.
I think Deathmatch is a great way to improve your consistency in winning aim duels – maybe even the best.
Do you play Deathmatch often to practice? Do you have a regular routine or practice ritual before you start playing ranked matches?
I used to play practice range a lot before Deathmatch came out but ever since then.. very rarely
Now, I often just play 1-2 Deathmatch rounds before I play ranked. Then after the first game, I usually take a 5-10 minute break in which I either again play Deathmatch or do something else.
Looking at your profile, I noticed that your Top 5 guns are the Vandal, Operator, Phantom, Ghost, and Classic. Do you use the Vandal/Phantom situationally? Or were you a Phantom main that switched after Deathmatch came out and your aim improved?
I keep switching back and forth between those two haha. Looking at stats and pure facts, the Phantom is the stronger gun, but it just feels a lot better to play Vandal. I don’t know – I probably still haven’t found the right gun.
I think you need to adapt the gun to your playstyle. On attacking side for example, if you’re a guy who lurks the Vandal can be the better pick since you’ll mostly have a 1v1 duel max, but if you take the site with your team you’ll probably end up spraying through walls, smokes or you’ll need to transfer your spray and that’s where the Phantom has a big advantage – I think it’s all about finding the weapon which fits your playstyle.
Another example would be: If you find yourself hitting the first headshot with the Phantom at farther distances but you’re often not able to secure the kill with a second hit, it might be worth trying out the Vandal.
Can you walk us through your mental flowchart for how you approach guns/econ? For example, winning pistol vs losing it?
It depends on the agent but let’s assume I’m playing Jett. If we lose the first round, I usually buy a Shorty round 2 and try to get free kills by waiting for a push or use my dash plus jump to surprise people.
Losing first round always means playing rifle in round 3 basically. If we win the first round I often keep the Ghost or let a teammate give me his and stick to that so I can afford an Operator in round 3.
Outside of desperation all in rounds, do you ever use anything in between? Like the Bulldog/Guardian/SMGs?
I think the Spectre is a great gun if you win the first round and don’t have the intention to buy an Operator in Round 3.
Except for that, I usually stay away from the rest. I think the Bulldog is fine for its price and Odin is great if you’re playing Sova but that’s pretty much it.
I always stay away from guns like Stinger, Ares, or Guardian.
The OP has been somewhat controversial lately and some have called for nerfs while others have argued that it is balanced and that players still don’t understand how to play against it. Obviously you may be slightly biased as an OPer but what are your thoughts on that overall?
Haha, I knew that was coming. I actually don’t think I’m biased at all. Although I’m using the OP myself I definitely agree that it could be weaker – but they could also just add more counter potential.
But I think we shouldn’t forget about the fact that Jett was considered useless for quite a long time after release until people figured out how to play her. I can also imagine the meta slowly developing away from the Operator without significant nerfs or buffs.
Do you think the complaints are more of an OP thing or a Jett thing? And if it were up to you, how would you balance it? Changing the gun itself or introducing other agent mechanics like Breach’s scope disruption?
Probably a combination of both but definitely introducing other mechanics like Breach’s. His recent buff which allows him to flash 3 times definitely hurts the Operator indirectly and that’s a great way to slowly balance it out.
For the gun itself, as a lot of people already suggested, I think adding a noticeable zoom-in sound would be a step towards the right direction.
They should also experiment turning down the movement speed a little while you’re in scope.
A few years ago, I used to be someone who tilts and gets upset really fast, especially about my team when I was performing well and they were doing poorly.
That was until I slowly realized that it really didn’t have a point. I learned about Stoicism from a book called The Daily Stoic, and started meditating. It’s a really cool philosophy.
Setting goals in life outside of gaming also allowed me to take it way less seriously which resulted in me even performing better because I remember how the negative emotions lead me to bad decision making in the past.
Very cool, could you give us an example related to Valorant? How does it apply in situations such as when you’re having a good game but your team is doing bad or when you yourself are having a bad game?
I always try to make the best of things. If I play well and my team doesn’t, I, first of all, remember the games where it’s the opposite and secondly, I just try to motivate them and try to be a good leader by calling strats and stuff.
Are there any particular pros that you watch or look up to? Have you ran into any on the ladder?
There aren’t really ones who I look up to but I watch Wardell’s streams sometimes since he plays Jett and the Operator really well, plus he’s entertaining on top of that.
I actually met a bunch of EU pros in Ranked already. The most known are probably TL ec1s, the whole NiP line-up, G2 Davidp, and even s1mple from CS:GO.
That’s awesome, any particular stories that come to mind when you played with or against them?
When I faced NiP’s players, I thought there was only two of them but it turned out that two were on their main accounts and the other three were smurfing with random gamertags.
When we faced Davidp, I remember that we were leading 11-3 and then ended up losing 11-13 which really hurts haha. I can confirm that they are good at the game – I could feel the skill gap for sure.
Could you describe that skill gap?
You could just feel that they weren’t doing as many mistakes as the “average Immortal player” and they were really good at punishing your mistakes.
They all have strong aim of course but what really makes them different is their experience and decision making.
They weren’t taking 1v1 duels when it wasn’t necessary and were always playing really well with strong comms.
What would be your advice for someone trying to climb to Radiant?
My first advice would be to enjoy the process. If you don’t necessarily want to start a pro-career, there’s no rush in improving yourself. Achieving Radiant is great feeling – I can’t deny that. But it’s not as meaningful as the whole grind.
If you feel stuck, consider taking it as a signal that there’s something blocking you. It could be your aiming, decision making, lack of knowledge, or even just the mentality. It’s always a great idea to reflect and think about what could be wrong.
These are probably more deep and will bring you long-term improvement, but in terms of short-term success, I think the best thing someone can do is to keep taking duels and every time you die, ask yourself what the reason for that was.
Was your aim bad? Did you reload when it wasn’t necessary? Did you move while shooting? There can be plenty of reasons and try to blame yourself instead of your PC, ping, or whatever else.
Thanks for the interview! Where can our readers find you?
We hope this article will help you get to Radiant! To track your climb and other stats, see your Valorant Player Profile at Mobalytics.