Berlin Breakdown: F4Q
The next team I want to look at before Berlin is the wildcards, F4Q. They were originally a team of streamers and content creators but decided to give the mainstream pro’s a run for their money. Korea is one of the most monopolised regions in VALORANT so for F4Q to take one of the two Berlin spots is mightly impressive. It goes without saying that even with their humble beginnings, they have proved that they are here to compete and were the first team to ever defeat the powerhouse of Vision Strikers after their enormous 102 game lossless streak.
How do they play?
F4Q are one of the most unique teams coming into LAN, in that they have a style and stick to it as much as possible. They’ve honed in on the idea that everyone feeling comfortable individually is better than forcing the meta. The “F4Q Comp” is:
Raze, Reyna, Astra, Killjoy, then Sage or Sova depending on the map.
Expect to see this a lot in Berlin, as it is obviously where they feel most at home. While this lack of flexibility can be seen as an obvious drawback, they make up for it with such expertise and understanding of their primary agents.
Because of the composition, they favour smaller maps. Their go-to choice is Split, so that’s what I’ll break down in a little more depth. The composition lends itself very naturally to Split with both Raze and Astra being seen as more legitimate choices here compared to something much more open like Breeze. Reyna can easily find value dancing around a site and lurking, while Sage and Killjoy are fairly standard meta picks.
We see this play out on the server, comfortably winning 4 of their last 5 Split games and losing one in OT. What makes this team special to watch is their mastery of the attacker side. Wracking up an impressive 74% win rate on this half across recent games, much higher than the global average of 47%. Watching the VOD’s it’s easy to see why.
This chart shows their positions for the first 20 seconds of all their attacking rounds. While this doesn’t tell the full story, it will help me explain a few key tendencies. Their basic attacking default is based around heavy mid control, often opting for a 1-3-1 or 2-2-1 set-up leaving the Killjoy alone to hold off an A push. We can also see just how far up the map they manage to get in 20 seconds. We see the Raze and Reyna duo often quickly find space mid, as well as dots on A site indicating a rush. This combination of effective defaults and planned quick, A execution’s works extremely well and it’s obvious they understand their composition and know its limits. However, they don’t tend to execute quickly on B at all much, giving way to a crucial tell. I would expect their opponents to take info in B main to figure out the default or if it is an A rush. Hopefully, F4Q have an answer to this.
Generally, when running a default they favour ending on B, this is in part due to their unbelievable post-plant record here. Out of the 29 recorded plants on B, they’ve won 28 of the post-plants. This eye-watering 96.55% post-plant success rate is due to a deep understanding of their composition and using all the elements properly to be able to stall and burn out the retake.
This graph shows us their post-plant positions on B, while it’s quite messy we see how generally the site players will be able to stall with their util and weapons but pay attention to fivek, the yellow dots. He is the only agent without any direct stall ability and he understands this. We see him flanking mid again and again to find value and when watching the VOD’s you get a great insight into his fantastic game knowledge and ability to find timings.
Whilst their defender side is a little more underwhelming, watch for Zunba’s B aggression. He normally does this alone but his ability to control the area allows for heavier mid and A presence to then try and crunch on the attackers.
Who to look out for?
Although he isn’t my main choice, I’d like to give an honourable mention to Bunny here. He’s easily one of the most fun to watch players and is a true master of the Judge, you won’t be able to miss his flashy plays. My choice is someone a little more understated and that’s Zunba. The skilful Astra one-trick truly set’s himself apart from the other controllers in Berlin. When watching him, expect a combination of crispy aim and the creative utility usage you’d expect from a former Overwatch pro.
While Zunba’s numbers don’t necessarily stand out, his off the scoreboard impact is unparalleled.
Unlike some other Astra’s, he tends to save a lot of his stars to use on the fly allowing him to be very flexible with the utility. He has also mastered the art of the fake smoke, constantly using it for a quick second of cover to help a teammate or set up an aggressive unexpected peek.
Let’s be honest. Will F4Q win Masters 3? No. Realistically their lack of flexibility and small map pool will hold the Koreans back but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited to see them try. Even if they don’t make a deep run into the tournament, they’ll no doubt make a splash as easily some of the most exciting players to watch. The good thing is they have nothing to lose. Coming into a group with both G2 and Sentinels means their chances of making it out of the group stage are slim but they can give it their all with no regrets. I mean who knows, their unique style and agent mastery might be enough to bring an upset and that’s something myself and the community would love to see.