Smart Omega shows true potential behind in-form Kevs
Defending back-to-back Garena Masters champion Smart Omega has had its fair share of ups and downs in the tournament’s existence. From underperforming in season one up to winning it all in seasons two and three, they’ve established themselves as one of the three best teams in the region.
This season, however, Smart Omega also experienced adversity that the team has been working out. They’ve had to deal with the loss of Ronan “Rage” Eleria who transferred to rivals Blacklist Ultimate. Smart Omega with Rage notably reached the CODM World Championship 2022 just last December, finishing sixth place against the best teams in the world. The team made up for Rage’s loss by adding former Blacklist Ultimate objective player Martin “Tin” Yap as well as adding back Kevin “Kevs” Baguio who returned to CODM after a stint at HyperFront.
Despite the two roster moves, Smart Omega has seemingly lost a step in the current season of Garena Masters 4. They only finished second place in Group C, losing both group-stage games against Singaporean rivals ALMGHTY. The team also lost maps here and there to LF Org and SR Nacague which is kind of surprising for a team like Smart Omega’s caliber and reputation.
But in their recent quarterfinal match against SKADI, they unleashed back their potential in dominating them 3-0. Smart Omega may have rediscovered its old magic that once helped them win those back-to-back titles in the Garena Masters.
Much of it can be attributed to the increased level of play of returning player Kevin “Kevs” Baguio who finally seems to be on-form now. Kevs has noticeably struggled in the group stage games of Smart Omega, which he openly admitted.
“In the group stages, I was still getting used to the game again since it was my first CODM tournament after trying out another game. I was not satisfied with my performance and that’s when I realized that the game has really changed since I left,” he said.
Kevs also acknowledged players getting better and that he had to change his playstyle to keep up with them.
“I noticed several players have improved and have gotten stronger and I changed my playstyle because of it. I’m trying to keep up with them and I’m not the Kevs of old anymore that always pushes every time. For now, I’ll have to familiarize myself again with CODM and its new tactics,” Kevs added.
The 18-year-old’s performance against SKADI might be what the doctor ordered for Smart Omega as he delivered a team-best 49 kills in Hardpoint and 12 kills in Search and Destroy. He was slaying and getting ahead of everyone to clear lanes as well as provided that vintage aggressiveness that he was known for.
Behind Kevs’ phenomenal performance, Smart Omega got their swagger back again and is ready to defend their title. Kevs then shares the steps he took to be able to reach this level of play again after doing subpar in the group stage.
“I think the old Kevs that helped Smart Omega bag the title in the Garena Masters 2 is gone. A lot has changed in my gameplay since then as I’m not really using shotguns nowadays anymore. This is now the new me, I’m doubling even tripling my effort so I can get back to the level that I was used to before,” Kevs said.
Furthermore, the 18-year-old addressed the doubters and the bashers that came at him when he did not play at his best.
“Ever since the start of GM4, I saw a lot of people that doubted me and my return to CODM. Even the other casters openly said it so I used that as fuel to strive even more to improve. At the end of the day, I won’t let what the bashers say affect me and my gameplay because it’s their opinion. It’s on me if I take their opinion as it is or if I prove them all wrong,” Kevs said.
Finally, as he and Smart Omega prepare against a titanic match against rivals Blacklist Ultimate this weekend, Kevs bared the key to being truly strong in the game.
“One cannot truly improve if you don’t have trust in yourself and your teammates. That’s the most important part. You also have to be patient to go through the process. Now I can say that I have improved from before because I learned from my mistakes and applied it to the game,” he said.
“I sacrificed a lot to improve and to be in this position now, and I’m not taking it for granted. I want to become a champion once again and secure that three-peat for Smart Omega,” Kevs closed.
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Catch Kevs and Smart Omega’s endgame in the CODM Garena Masters 4 this weekend live on Garena CODM’s official Facebook and YouTube respectively.
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