Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker is an American player who currently plays for Team Envy. He is a former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player before moving to Valorant. He was signed with Andbox from 17th September 2020 up until the 5th of August 2021 when he was acquired by Envy. Jaccob also streams regularly on twitch where he boasts above 20,000 followers. Lastly, yay is one of the best Jett players in the entire Valorant scene with a high KD of 1.40.
To start, congratulations on qualifying for the Masters Berlin. How do you feel?
Yeah, I honestly feel great. I’m really happy that we managed to qualify for Berlin. Going into this tournament, even though we are a new roster and I’m a new pick up, that was the expectation; that we would qualify at the bare minimum. Anything less would have been a disappointment. So, for me, I’m super excited because one of the main reasons I wanted to join ENVY was to go to the international stage. This is my dream and I’m really happy that we qualified.
In the 5th round of Breeze, you waited patiently, even letting steel walk away. You then used your ultimate to take out steel, used updraft, turned around, and took out Nitr0. This kind of play had all the reasons to go wrong but how were you so sure it would work? Walk me through what you were thinking at that moment.
Since we were on kind of a low buy, we needed to make such a play. I thought in my head that the best place to make a play would be early towards B getting into a deep, angular corner where most people would not expect me. I knew that underneath the window was an angle which most people never clear.
So what ended up happening was one of the 100 Thieves co-players, steel, jumped out the window and he started walking up towards B. My thought process at that moment was that my teammates are heavily fighting in A and making a ton of pressure. I thought that the guy who just dropped is going to call for his team to come back with a bomb and they’re going to fake A which is why I held off on killing him for so long.
When he walked up deep, I started hearing his teammate start to come. At that instant, I understood that I have to do something here pretty quick and just disrupt this. I started by killing steel and then I heard his teammate’s footsteps from behind. I immediately used updraft and turned on the guy because he would not be expecting me there and therefore wouldn’t be ready for a gunfight.
A shocking move came on your end when you chose Reyna as your Agent on Split. What was the reason behind this pick? The last time you picked her was in the Open Qualifiers against Gen G.
I’ve always run Reyna on split quite a bit. I think she’s a really strong Agent for Split personally. With split, teams are methodical about how they clear their extremities with utility. Most people run Vipers, they run Skye and have a ton of flashes as well.
It’s difficult for a jet player to get a lot of impact and it is a map where it’s more Rifle than anything. Moreover, it’s hard to find impact with the AWP unless it’s very early in the round generally speaking. So usually, I’m always just Reyna for those main reasons.
How do you feel about the pick after how the game turned out?
How the game turned out sucks because we didn’t have a ton of practice on Split. We had very, very little practice and ultimately we had to pay the price for that.
You are one of the most recent transfers in the entire scene, yet your performance hasn’t shown any difficulties fitting right in with the ENVY. How have you managed to adapt and build chemistry so fast? How do you feel about going into LAN within days of transfer?
Well, I would say for the most part my playstyle allows for me to perform well. It’s as if I have the freedom to just do whatever I want in some sense. I get to choose when and how I take my fights and where I rotate. I have the most freedom on the team in terms of making these decisions. Additionally, my agent picks enable me to set myself up to a certain degree.
So, when it came to slotting into ENVY, I was a really good fit because that was the same role I had on Andbox. Coming into ENVY, it was just a swap, and all I have to do is just tell my teammates, for example when I need them to help or do something for me. All in all, it was pretty easy to adapt, because like I said I control a lot of it.
You were atop of the leaderboard for ENVY on almost all of the maps. How do you feel about your individual performance?
I mean, I think I could have done more if I’m being honest with you. I think maybe a little bit more time with the team would’ve been better for our overall performance. I felt like I made a few crucial mistakes that spiraled a few rounds. But I will try to take a lesson from them and fix it for the future. But generally, I was happy with my performance. I was comparatively disappointed with my performance yesterday just because I wasn’t feeling too well and I couldn’t focus properly especially for such an important match.
Berlin is ready for you!
I can’t wait as well.
Note: The interview took place after the lower finals of NA Challenger Playoffs, and it has been edited for length and clarity.