Abdul “HSB” Haseeb, the former professional CS: GO player, is currently a part of Team Exploit’s Valorant roster, who recently qualified to the Valorant Conquerors Championship Main Event by defeating Team Arrow in the Grand-Finals of the VCC Pakistan & Afghanistan Qualifier 2.
The Valorant Conquerors Championship has provided an opportunity for the South Asian region to make their place in the Valorant Champions Tour APAC Last Chance qualifiers. Top players and teams from countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka came forward to grab this opportunity and represent their nation on an international stage.
Team Exploit is one of the top teams in the Pakistani Valorant scene. However, after losing in the VCC Pakistan & Afghanistan Qualifier 1, the team made a huge comeback in Qualifier 2. The addition of HSB to its Valorant roster has impacted and helped the team to successfully qualify for the Valorant Conquerors Championship Main Event. Previously, he also represented his country at Redbull Campus Clutch.
Abdul “HSB” Haseeb of Team Exploit from Pakistan on his journey and experience so far in Valorant
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda Esports’ Pratiti Dhang, HSB from Team Exploit opens up about his journey from CS:GO to Valorant and his experience with the team so far. He also enlightened us with his future plans for the upcoming matches.
Here is an excerpt of the conversation.
Q: HSB, tell our readers a bit about yourself? From starting off as a professional CS: GO player in 2015 to being a part of Team Exploit’s Valorant roster and now qualifying for the Valorant Conquerors Championship Main Event, how was the entire journey?
HSB: Hello, my name is Abdul Haseeb Khan, and I am a 20-year-old professional esports player from Pakistan. I switched to Valorant in November 2020 but then took a 4 month break. My journey to being at the top of Pakistan’s Valorant scene started in March and I’ve been grinding long since then. After qualifying for Redbull Campus Clutch, I got an offer to reunite with my former CS: GO teammates in Team Exploit.
Q: Many professional CS: GO esports players switched to Valorant and you are one of them. What sets the Valorant esports scene different from CS: GO, especially in the South-Asian region? Which one would you choose between the two FPS games?
HSB: I always played and loved Counter-Strike until Valorant was released. Riot Games was focusing a lot on every region including the South Asian region. There were a lot of opportunities in this game and I thought that it was time for a change. We’ve always been an overlooked region, but Riot was throwing in a lot of opportunities in Valorant. I felt it was best for me as a player to switch to Valorant because there was no point in playing CS: GO in my region and country. After I made the switch, I fell in love with the game.
Q: You joined Team Exploit in June 2021, just a month before the Valorant Conquerors Championship Qualifiers. How did you prepare yourself for the tournament?
HSB: We had 2 months in boot camp, where we scrimmed daily against top Asian teams. We improved a lot as a team because when I joined, we started from scratch. Our target was VCC at boot camp and I think we are one of the favorites if not the most favorite in this tournament.
Q: How is the synergy and communication among your present teammates, and who is the IGL (In-game Leader) in your Valorant roster?
HSB: I think right now, k1ng as a stand-in is the perfect fit for our team. We are clicking very well together. Our IGL is Storax. There will be a roster change after VCC which is still a surprise but our current team even with a stand-in is doing pretty well so I am happy.
Q: Team Exploit recently qualified for the Valorant Conquerors Championship Main Event after defeating Team Arrow in the Grand-Finals of the Pakistan & Afghanistan Qualifier 2. What was your and the team’s reaction to it?
HSB: I think deep down inside, we all knew that we will bag the Pakistani qualifier but the main target is the APAC Last Chance qualifier slot. We were all happy and we celebrated the night we qualified for the closed qualifier, but it wasn’t much of a surprise. If we win VCC, I think that’s when we’ll lose our minds because that is our main target.
Q: You mostly picked initiator agents like Sova and KAY/O in the VCC Pakistan & Afghanistan Qualifier 2, except the one time you picked Reyna in the Semi-Finals against Team Perfectionists, in Split. How does it complement your playstyle? Can fans expect to see you in other roles in the upcoming matches?
HSB: I will play the initiator role for now in this qualifier, maybe duelist in a few maps to spice things up but who knows, our players are very versatile and we can switch things up when needed.
Q: Both Team Arrow and MAXD Esports will have the last chance to qualify for the VCC Main Event in the Wildcard Qualifiers from Pakistan & Afghanistan. However, they will be facing other teams from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Which team among all the Wildcard Qualifiers has the most chances to qualify for the VCC Main Event?
HSB: I would like to see my country on top but I think Team XO (previously known as Samurai Esports) has the highest chance to qualify through wildcard.
Q: Till now it was a competition among all the Pakistani and Afghanistani Valorant teams. In the Main Event, Team Arrow will be facing the top teams of the South Asian region. Which team do you think will be a challenge for Team Exploit?
HSB: To be very honest, the only teams we see on our journey to bag the APAC slot are Velocity Gaming and Global Esports. I think we are stronger than the rest of the teams.
Q: According to you, who is the best Valorant professional player in the North America and Europe regions, at the moment and why?
HSB: Shahzeeb “ShahZaM” Khan is the best player in the North American region. I know it’s a very biased answer but he’s my favorite. In the EU region, as a Fnatic fanboy, I love Martin “Magnum” Peňkov. That guy is cracked.
Q: Currently, North America and Europe are the two regions that are dominating the international Valorant esports scene. South Asia lags behind a lot when compared to them. What do you think is the main reason behind it?
HSB: There are a lot of reasons like lack of experience throughout the region, not enough competition, smaller player base, lower-skill ceiling etc. while in North American and European region, everyone is grinding to be the best.
Q: Valorant has gained massive popularity in a span of one year, and it’s still growing. What do you think about the future of Valorant?
HSB: The way Valorant is growing, I feel like I made the right decision to switch from Counter-Strike. I see Valorant as a very complete tactical FPS, the way Riot treats it.
Q: Any message for your fans?
HSB: I love my fans, the people that support me are like my family. I just wanna thank them and I promise we’ll bring some achievements to our country and then we’ll celebrate together.