Close Menu

Hit enter to search or ESC to close

Original Reporting


Mistakes haunt players like Batuhan “russ” Malgaç and Melih “pAura” Karaduran to their core, especially when they lead to a loss as they did in Parpara SuperMassive Blaze’s first VALORANT Champions Tour Masters Berlin match against Acend. It’s all pAura had on his mind after SuperMassive Blaze played Paper Rex at Masters, even though they won 2-1.

Right after the match, pAura said he couldn’t let go of what his team did wrong, despite it being the Turkish squad’s first win on the international stage.

“It feels good,” he said. “I thought it would be easier, though.”

Tactical shooters are won by not making mistakes. There will be some clutch plays and round comebacks that violate that fact, but wins come from capitalizing on the other team’s mistakes. That’s why pre-game rituals for both russ and pAura revolve around preventing mistakes.

“I play one ranked match before going onstage, I commit my worst mistakes in that match,” pAura said. “I tried to push as much as possible to get so many kills, then I died.”

PAura doesn’t like to be incredibly aggressive during professional matches, so he gets all that combativeness out of his system. He played with his coach, Mert “9999” Turna offstage before facing Paper Rex. No one else joined him because everyone has their own way to warm up.

Mother knows best

Russ’s pre-game routine comes in two parts. He washes his hands to make them feel better and then he picks up his phone.

SuperMassive Blaze walking single file into VALORANT Champions Tour Masters Berlin
The trip from Istanbul to Berlin was smooth for the team | Provided by SuperMassive Blaze

“I talk to my mom for a mental boost. I talk to her about everything,” he said. “She knows everything about the game, every single detail. When I make a mistake, she tells me about it.”

He calls his mother before every match in Berlin and elsewhere, using WhatsApp to reach her in Istanbul. She’s incredibly knowledgeable about VALORANT, considering her son is one of the best players in Turkey.

“She doesn’t play, but since I’ve made her watch every match since I played Counter Strike,” he said. “I’ve told her about every agent and ability.”

Russ’s mother even watches other VALORANT players when they stream on Twitch. Sentinels star Tyson “TenZ” Ngo is her favorite. Russ caught TenZ on his first day in Berlin and asked him to speak with her on the phone.

“I remember the call opened up and then she was laughing,” TenZ said. “So I’m sure she was glad to see [me].”

An event to remember

SuperMassive Blaze were on the cusp of elimination near the end of the group stage and a loss to Paper Rex would have sent them home early. Luckily for SM Blaze, that didn’t happen. But even if it did, russ, pAura and company have a lot of memories to take home.

The VALORANT fan base in Turkey is famous for how dedicated they are to their teams, and one fan proved that in Berlin. He made his way from Istanbul to Berlin, where his uncle lives, and tracked the team down to the hotel.

He messaged their coach, 9999, and asked him if the players could sign his jersey.

“I’ve never felt something like that before,” Russ said. “I got really emotional like this. I wish everyone had that same experience.”

SuperMassive Blaze at VALORANT Champions Tour Masters Berlin
SM Blaze players and coach embracing after their win over Paper Rex | Provided by SuperMassive Blaze

SuperMassive Blaze have had a rocky experience in VALORANT Masters Berlin so far, having fallen to Acend in the only other match they’ve played in. It just so happens that Eren “Brave” Kasırga celebrated his 19th birthday on the same day they played Acend.

“You will be surprised, maybe, but I didn’t celebrate it because I’ve never celebrated it in my life. It’s not my tradition,” Brave said. “We didn’t do anything. We just said “happy birthday,” that’s it. [Laughs] Then we played.”

Brave’s birthday was marred by the 2-0 loss to Acend. The shutout even made russ forget to give his teammate a birthday present.

“I didn’t give it to him because we lost,” russ said. “When we lose I don’t do anything. I don’t check my phone, nothing. That’s why I didn’t send it then.”

Russ plans to give Brave his birthday present after they face off against Acend tomorrow, not because he wants it to be an incentive, though. He’s holding off because he doesn’t want to think about anything else. The gift is special too, it’s not something he was willing to share with me or on social media.

Win or leave VALORANT Masters Berlin early

The Turkish squad is hoping to fix the mistakes they made against their countryman, Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek.

They hope to maximize their communication and teamwork, like they did against Paper Rex. And according to a member of the team they just defeated, that may also mean leaning into their firepower.

“They’re just really sharp. So right, I feel like in that region, they’re just used to taking a lot of like aim duels,” said Paper Rex’s Benedict “Benkai” Tan after losing to SuperMassive Blaze. “And in Southeast Asia, we do it a bit differently. But I guess in terms of SuperMassive’s playstyle, they’re just like a really firepower heavy team and they just do a lot of team plays with their aim.”

SM Blaze is one of the top teams in EMEA, but this is their first time competing on the international stage. They’ve spent every moment possible together, soaking in the evening Berlin air and talking with one another. They’d like to explore a little bit of the German capital, but they’ve been too busy enjoying eachother’s company on a trip they never thought they would make.

“This is it,” pAura said. “I couldn’t believe we did it on such short notice.”

PAura didn’t believe SuperMassive Blaze were going to go far after losing to Gambit in the Challengers Playoffs, but they had made it to one of this season’s premiere VALORANT events –Masters Berlin. He didn’t realize what they had done until they boarded the plane in Istanbul.

His only regret? Not winning earlier.

“We could have done it earlier because we have good aim,” pAura said. “It should have come earlier but I wish to continue this feeling and play in every [future] event.”


Aron Garst looks at esports from a different point of view by tackling the ways games are molded and broken by players around the world. He covers Call of Duty, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, and everything else for Upcomer. You can read his previous work at WIRED, Rolling Stone, ESPN and elsewhere. Rise up red sea.


https://www.upcomer.com/wp-content/themes/upcomer