Jacob “valyn” Batio is a California native who currently plays under Team Complexity as their Valorant roster’s in-game leader. After dominating the tier 3 scene as a free agent, he was signed by the org right out of high school in April this year.
What made you start playing Valorant competitively?
I played CS:GO a couple years ago, but not at a competitive level. I took a break from Counter-Strike and video games in general to commit to football in high school. I started playing Valorant competitively because the timing of its release was perfect: I had just quit my football team because of COVID-19, and I started to come back into gaming.
I am a competitive person in anything I do, be it sports or video games, so playing Valorant at a high level was my goal from the very beginning when I touched the game. My older brother was the one who introduced me to Valorant and we would queue together in Platinum lobbies. Eventually I kept on climbing ranks in solo queue, so we no longer play often.
What teams were you playing on before signing with Complexity?
I played under a free agent team called “flow state” for a long time before joining COL. I was always a fan of building my own roster, so I kept the brand alive, always rebuilding after a roster didn’t work out.
My Valorant career took a turn when I met Muhtadi “b0ssy” Al-Sammarraee, Denis “DENYA” Kosogov and coach Zack “huuaw” Solomon. They helped change and elevate my playstyle. I will always be grateful for the players I met during my time on flow state. Complexity was my first salaried, full-time opportunity to play any game competitively.
Which are the main agents you play?
I mainly play Astra, Omen, or Viper, but I flex with all smoke agents.
How do you feel you have been playing this year?
I’ve been playing great this year. My rifling mechanics have been sharp lately, but most importantly, my understanding of playing Valorant at a high level has gone up. Practicing and in-game leading for Complexity has taught me a ton.
Coach Corey “ruin” Hartog has helped develop me into a better IGL over the last three months and I am an entirely different player now. Practicing against the best teams in North America every day forced me to adapt and learn how to call against all different playstyles. The quality of scrims and practice from tier 3 teams to this has been a huge leap, but it helped me develop into a stronger rifler and a smarter IGL.
How has your time with Complexity and your teammates been so far?
I couldn’t ask for more from an organization. The player development and support they show for every one of us is insane. I love all my teammates and we bond with each other outside of the server as well. Complexity sending us out to Texas for the team bootcamp back in April was an experience I will never forget. All the funny moments practicing and playing next to each other in a booth, all the movies and food we ordered: truly a blessing.
How do you think Complexity stacks up to other top-tier teams in Valorant?
I believe any game is winnable and we’ve proven that our new structure has been working well for us. It’s going to take time for us to get to the level of teams like Sentinels, Envy and 100 Thieves, but we are working hard every day to achieve that. We are still a fairly new team, and we are going to look better than ever in the coming months with the addition of Magno “Pr0phie” Ramos.
What are your best placements in Valorant to date?
Winning the NSG Summer Championship Monthly in May with Complexity. Also, placing 3rd-4th in WSOE’s $10,000 tournament with flow state where multiple signed teams participated. Lastly, placing top eight in the first Valorant “First Strike” Major as part of a team of free agents. That said, I am still very far from where I want to be, and I hope to secure bigger and better tournament placings in the future.
What are some of your proudest moments in competitive Valorant?
Getting picked up by Complexity. I was trialed as an IGL and I was very nervous going into it. All these guys have years and years of experience over me, and I came in to lead them. The trial period lasted over a month and there were lots of hardships. We were not playing well initially, and my in-game leading was below expectations for Tier 1 Valorant.
I adapted quickly, and ruin, our coach, taught me a lot in a span of three weeks that helped me fix a lot of my bad tendencies. We started placing well in tournaments, practice was going very smoothly, and I finally was told that I officially made the team. It was the happiest day of my esports career.
What do you see yourself doing after Valorant?
I am only eighteen years old, so I see myself competing in esports for quite some time. If my career or the pro scene were to fizzle out (which wouldn’t happen because Riot is the best), I would most likely go back to college and get a degree in Business or Computer Science. I am a big fan of business, stocks, marketing, real estate: that is my backup plan if I was to no longer be a professional player.
What advice do you have for players who want to go pro?
Always have a growth mindset and stick with your teams. There seems to be a common trend in the tier 3 scene where teams play for a month or two at most and then disband because they aren’t winning tournaments consistently. Winning takes a lot more dedication and time than that. Look at VIRTUOSO as an example: they stuck together for a long time, and they are finally reaching the goals they’ve been working hard for.
Also, always accept criticism from your teammates and your coach. You can always improve as a player. I would also suggest expanding your agent pool as much as possible. Learn different agents, learn various roles like the in-game leader: make yourself stand out from the average tier 2 and tier 3 players.
Finally, don’t be results-oriented in practice. Scrim results don’t matter and getting demotivated or tilted during practice because you are down won’t help you get to where you want to be. You can learn a lot from every scrim you get your ass kicked in. VOD reviews, theorycrafting: become a master at your role. You will see serious improvement.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.