The Korean-American player is hitting his stride.
The VCT Pacific superweek, where each VALORANT team plays twice as many matches, is off to a rocky start filled with technical issues and some very one-sided scorelines. But one of the week’s most exciting and high-stakes matchups came today between Japan’s ZETA DIVISION and Korea’s T1, two teams that have been floating around the middle of the league, just failing to break the ceiling into the top tier of the Pacific.
Aside from the overall team synergy and cohesion that ultimately led T1 to their 2-1 victory over ZETA, the MVP of today’s match was clearly Joseph “ban” Seungmin Oh, a player who is competing in VALORANT in Korea for the first time this season.
Related: VCT Pacific 2023: VALORANT scores, schedule, format, and standings
Ban began his VALORANT career in North America, playing for tier-two teams like Squirtle Squad and eventually Luminosity. He signed with T1 in August 2022 after the organization was awarded a franchised spot in the VCT Pacific League in Seoul, South Korea.
T1 structured its new Korean roster around several veteran players both in VALORANT and in other esports titles. After signing big names like Carpe, Sayaplayer, Munchkin, and former Cloud9 player xeta, the roster looked like a masterpiece with just one hole. And ban was left to fill it.
Many pundits doubted ban at first, though. He didn’t have the same caliber of experience as his teammates, who all have extensive backgrounds in esports. Right before the start of the VCT Pacific League in March, T1 signed iNTRO, a young player coming up from the Korean VALORANT scene. Many people expected that iNTRO would become the fifth player on the roster, with ban sitting on the bench as a sixth man.
Yet as the Pacific League ramps up, it’s clear that ban is anything but a benchwarmer.
As the team’s cohesion and consistency has grown, so has ban, and he has become an extremely valuable player in his own right. Today on Fracture, he absolutely obliterated his opposition, getting an ace and ending the map with a 289 combat score.
Aside from these incredible stats, ban also made smart decisions in regard to his positioning, showing that he not only has excellent game awareness but the skills to pull off risky plays when left on his own too. T1 took Fracture 13-11 and ban had the best statistics of anyone in the lobby, finishing the map with a 24/19/3 scoreline.
Ban impressed so much, even on Lotus where T1 lost 13-10, that instead of substituting him out for iNTRO in the third map, which has been T1’s practice in the past, ban stayed in the lineup. He not only continued his excellent gameplay but did so on Harbor, an agent he has never played before in a professional match. INTRO, in contrast, has only played controller agents.
T1 went on to win Bind 13-3, obliterating ZETA. Ban was a huge part of their win today, going 14/12/5 in the final map and 58/44/12 overall in the series.
Related: 5 players to watch in VCT Pacifics superweek
T1’s VALORANT team not only look to be hitting their stride right at a crucial moment in the Pacific League, but they also look like the best iteration of the roster that the organization has ever had. To top it all off, their players are peaking exactly at the right time and finally starting to gel together.
But the work is far from over. Right now, though T1 look like they should have no problem securing a playoff spot, they would love to finish as far up in the regular season standings as possible. They currently sit in third place. For T1 to take second place behind DRX, the league’s most dominant team that hasn’t lost a match, T1 will have to face them head-on and beat them in their upcoming match later this week. In addition, current second-place team Paper Rex will have to lose their one remaining match.
T1 will face off against DRX on May 15 at 4am CT.