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Benedict “Benkai” Tan introduced himself to the wider VALORANT world at the VALORANT Champions Tour Masters Berlin pre-event press conference with a bit of confusion. For the first question sent his way, the Singaporean answered in Mandarin — trailing off as he looked around for a translator.

The room was silent as the Riot Games representative gave a short “ummmm” to the player.

“Naw I’m just kidding, I can speak English,” Bankai said as the other players and on-site media broke out in laughter.

The South East Asia representative didn’t stop there. When asked to rate his confidence level from one to 10 going into the event, Benkai said 15. He wasn’t worried about his first opponent, the top South Korean seed Vision Strikers, because his team had something special planned.

“We played them a lot in scrims and they always beat us really badly 24-0,” he said. “So last night we went into their rooms and broke some of their wrists…so we will probably win that match.”

The Sentinel player was a point of levity in an otherwise dull press conference and kept the jokes flowing into his pre-recorded broadcast segments and stage walk ons.

Jokes seem to be part of Paper Rex’s overall aesthetic. “We forgot what their practice room number was, couldn’t pour the water on their equipment, next time. GGWP to @VisionStrikers, we lose 0-2. The other teams better watch out for these guys,” the Paper Rex account tweeted on Sept. 11.

Cracking jokes, breaking wrists

At Masters Reykjavík, Fnatic’s Jake “Boaster” Howlett was the breakout star. The Brit was part of the second best team at the event, which gave his charisma a bigger audience to win over. While certainly funny, Boaster’s antics pale in comparison to Benkai and his deadpan delivery through his short stint at Masters Berlin.

Fnatic's Boaster
Boaster throws his hands at the camera. | Provided by Riot Games

According to Benkai, his team’s run at the tournament was more of an extra experience than a competitive venture. The team’s goal was to make it to the event and gain experience, winning would have been a cherry on top. Where other teams may have folded to the pressure of the moment, Benkai and Paper Rex remained calm.

“Because everyone’s being so serious, I feel like we should be the team to just lighten up the mood you know, make everyone smile and laugh,” he said. “We’re just here to have a good time.”

Unfortunately, Paper Rex failed to win a series in Germany. The team was sent home Wednesday after a 1-2 loss to SuperMassive Blaze. The Asian squad did impress outside of Benkai’s antics, though. Jason “f0rsakeN” Susanto, one of the best players in the world statistically, and Khalish “d4v41” Rusyaidee both had highlight plays. The duo was instrumental in the team’s single map win against the Turkish squad. They also top fragged for the team in both their matches.

Gone, but not forgotten

In a tournament filled with trash talk and planned walkouts, Benkai managed to stand out with some of the more creative pre-match walkouts VALORANT had seen. Fans saw cartwheels, dances and whatever Patiphan Chaiwong did with Boaster in X10’s match against Fnatic in Iceland. Benkai spiced up his walkon with a few props in Berlin

He walked out first with a skip and a jump before playing Vision Strikers. He came to the end of stage and pulled off his jersey wearing No. 69 — revealing an identical jersey underneath. Then he threw the shirt onto the stage.

For his second walkout against SuperMassive Blaze, Benkai set the bar even higher. He came out in a bathrobe while brushing his teeth, looking around like he wandered off from his hotel room and stumbled upon the bright stage. He did take off the robe, and had to swallow the toothpaste, before loading into the match.

Benkai cemented himself into VALORANT history during his brief visit to Berlin.

Fans want more antics from Benkai. His other jokes never got to see the light of day after his team left the tournament early.

“So on the first workout I already did like double shirts. The second one, I wanted it to be different, so I did the bathroom one,” Benkai said. “Maybe for the third one I would have worn like two pants, and maybe the one after that I would have had all of us walk out backwards or something. I thought it’d be really funny too.”

Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.
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