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DRX VS and Team Liquid pick up opening wins, XERXIA upset OpTic Gaming - Masters Reykjavik Day 1

Written By    PeeKay  -  share on

VCT 2022 - Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík began with straightforward wins for DRX VS and Team Liquid against ZETA DIVISION and KRÜ Esports respectively, while underdogs XERXIA stunned OpTic Gaming to move to the winners match bracket.

Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík
Best of 3
April 10, 2022 - 17:00
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The debut match at Iceland began with a landslide victory for DRX VS against ZETA DIVISION, beating them in a clean 2-0 fashion. The South Korean powerhouse only lost five rounds over the entire series and sent their Japanese counterparts into the brutal depths of the elimination match.

The best squad in Japan went into their Icebox pick feeling real comfortable, boasting a 78% win rate and having recently beat Crazy Raccoon and Reignite on it. But they quickly realized DRX VS were a completely different beast altogether, getting shut down on the B site retake in the pistol round and then yet again in the bonus round, the Koreans simply did not need Phantoms and Vandals to take down their opponents. Myeongkwan "MaKo" Kim was on a completely different level today, winning clutch after clutch and delivering seven multikills with the Viper. ZETA DIVISION did salvage a couple stray rounds in the half, but their inability to neither anchor nor retake the B site was their demise on the way to a 10-2 scoreline.

MaKo at Masters Reykjavik. Credit: Riot Games
MaKo at Masters Reykjavik. Credit: Riot Games

As if things couldn’t get worse for ZETA DIVISION, the second half began with a sneaky defuse by Goo  "Rb" Sang-Min on Sage, who stuck it behind the cover of his wall even as his teammates around him fell. DRX VS cleaned up the following anti-eco to move to map point, and yet again were able to mop up the Japanese squad with just Specters to win the map 13-2.

It would take an almost herculean effort for ZETA DIVISION to come back from such a demoralizing defeat and all signs were pointing to another dominant win for DRX VS on their map of Haven. The former took a nail-biter of a pistol round thanks to a 4k by Kouji "Laz" Ushida on A, who was the only player on the squad to even get double digit kills. Not to be put off by the A-site retake, the Koreans hit the site yet again and this time with a much better return, killing three players on the entry and grabbing a round right back. Yu "BuZz" Byung-chul decided it was his time to shine, showing up with some round-winning plays on the back of which the team raced to a 11-1 lead at the break.

Kim  "Zest" Gi-seok found themselves at map and series point now with a solid pistol round retake, but ZETA DIVISION fired back with a quickfire double of their own. They could only hold off DRX VS for so long, however, as once the Koreans got a rifle full buy on their hands, they shut down the C site push with ease and took the map 13-3.

Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík
Best of 3
April 10, 2022 - 19:53
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KRÜ EsportsKRÜ EsportsAgentsRatingACSK/DKDAADR
Team LiquidTeam LiquidAgentsRatingACSK/DKDAADR

It was a bitter rematch between KRÜ Esports and Team Liquid to follow up, the latter having beaten the former two times prior, including in the lower bracket of VCT 2021 Masters Reykjavik. In the end, revenge was not on the cards just yet for the South Americans, who lost a rather one-sided Fracture and then an extremely close-fought Ascent to succumb 2-0 to the Europeans.

It was quite surprising to see KRU Esports pick Fracture, considering their unimpressive performances on it historically and especially during VCT 2021 - VALORANT Champions 2021 last year. Nevertheless, they got off to a good start with two quick rounds but things were about to get a lot more scrappy for both teams. Liquid relied on taking space quickly and executing off the back of it, and their composition of Dom "soulcas" Sulcas on Neon and Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom on Jett really underlined that, while on the other hand, KRU relished the chaos and with players like Angelo "Keznit" Mori, loved going for risky aggressive plays. As a result, either side constantly traded rounds and never really got a strong economy built up. Liquid in-game leader Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen was the one to highlight inside the madness, as he racked up 19 kills and a 1.39 rating to propel his squad to a 7-5 advantage.

The Latin American side’s deficiencies started to show themselves in their attacking half. The team’s simplistic execute on B was read easily on the pistol, the bonus, and the rifle round as well, with Team Liquid mopping up their opponent’s lack of creativity. Keznit and NagZet, who are players KRU Esports look towards to win duels and have impact, were doing just the opposite, as Liquid streaked six rounds in a row on the back of A and B site retakes to take the map 13-5.

Things were going to have to change for KRU if they were going to salvage anything from the series, and it started off with Keznit and NagZet swapping back their agents to Chamber and Jett respectively, which certainly had them looking much more comfortable already. However, Joaquín "delz1k" Espinoza was the one to strike first, with a classy 4k on the pistol round to lift the team’s morale. Team Liquid fired back with two of their own and much like the first half of Fracture, the back and forth continued with a lot of scrappiness for both sides. KRU did manage to string together a trio of rounds with a very solid B site defense, but ScreaM denied them any more with a 1v2 clutch of his own. In the end, the teams traded rounds to reach a 6-6 scoreline at the break.

Keznit at Masters Reykjavik. Credit: Riot Games
Keznit at Masters Reykjavik. Credit: Riot Games

The second half had a very similar storyline to the first, with big plays by both sides and a flurry of chaotic rounds. The first of which was a big clutch by Nicolas "Klaus" Ferrari, with the Argentinian winning a 1v3 to move his team to a 9-7 lead. Nivera then had his own moment to shine on Killjoy, as he picked up three kills to clean up the round and tie the score 10-10. The score was as close as it could be, 11-11 at first and then KRU were the first to move to map point at 12-11. Things were looking really good for them on the final round, in a 5v3 situation on the A site. But Nivera was up to the task yet again, with the young Belgian jumping through the smoke to find five kills and drag the map to overtime.

As if things couldn’t get closer, the two squads continued to clash heads in overtime. Keznit particularly had started to show off what he could do and things were looking dicy for Liquid. But at 14-15, with KRU down in but in an afterplant situation, the Chilean wasn’t good enough to hold the Europeans off, and Team Liquid finally sealed the map 16-14 and series 2-0.

Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík
Best of 3
April 10, 2022 - 22:45
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OpTic GamingAgentsRatingACSK/DKDAADR

The final match of the opening day was most certainly the most perplexing, as XERXIA took an upset win over favorites OpTic Gaming. The Thai lineup looked on point throughout the 2-0 series as they sent the North Americans down to the brink of elimination in the lower bracket.

XERXIA took the risky pick of Icebox first, having lost to Paper Rex on it recently, but they certainly started off convincingly as they shot to a four round lead. Shaken but not defeated, Jaccob "yay" Whitaker showed off his Chamber with a very clean OP hold from Yellow to get the Green Wall on the scoreboard. But his counterpart in Thanachart "Surf" Rungarphajaratsakul was always a hindrance and XERXIA shot right back to make it 5-1. Both teams swung at each other from then on, including another highlight play by yay with the Tour De Force, and the half ended at a close 7-5 lead to the Thai team.

OpTic Gaming were the ones to win the second pistol round of the match, but as soon as XERXIA got their hands on rifles, they won five out of six rounds to lead 12-8. The same yay that was hugely impactful in the first half was now at the receiving end of first kills by Surf and sushiboys, the former having a 1.21 rating and 21 kills by the end of the map. Good fundamental teamplay and trading was the reason OpTic even managed to pull two rounds back to 12-10, but they lost all their aim duels on the A site post-plant to fall 13-10.

sushiboys at Masters Reykjavik. Credit: Riot Games
sushiboys at Masters Reykjavik. Credit: Riot Games

Despite the shock defeat on Icebox, OpTic Gaming fans could find solace in the fact that Ascent is the team’s best map, having previously beaten Cloud9, The Guard, and XSET on it. And things did start off well for them, with Jimmy "Marved" Nguyen and Austin "crashies" Roberts, who are two big supporting pieces that were absent on the map prior, helping the team to a pistol and anti-eco win. XERXIA followed up with a three round streak of their own that was stopped by the heroics of crashies, who really showed off why he is such a highly rated initiator in North America. But Panyawat "sushiboys" Subsiriroj had plans of his own, pulling off some high impact multi kills on the A site defense to drag his team to an 8-4 lead.

The North Americans instantly looked a lot more suited to the defense, historically having a 10% higher win rate here than on the offense. They showed their prowess on all parts of the map, defending the B site on the pistol, the A site against the forcebuy, and then middle against the eco. They were looking good now, back to a 7-8 scoreline, but Surf exploded onto B with two hard entry kills and XERXIA bounced back now with three rounds of their own. It was looking dire for OpTic Gaming down 9-11 and with a man disadvantage on the A site, but veteran in-game leader Pujan "FNS" Mehta responded with a multi kill of his own to make it 10-11. The Thai team were forced into a timeout to rethink their attack and it worked like a charm, as they caught OpTic off-guard with a mid push to win the thrifty round, and Itthirit "Foxz" Ngamsaard wrapped things up in style with a 3k to win the map 13-10 and match 2-0.

Day 2 of Masters Reykjavik will continue tomorrow with the following matches:

Group A Opening Match: Fnatic vs Ninjas in Pyjamas at 7:00 PM CET

Group B Winners Match: XERXIA vs Team Liquid at 10:00 PM CET

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