Written By AashirAhmed - 2022-06-12
After five weeks of intense battles, the Group Stages of VCT 2022 - North America - Stage 2 - Main Event have finally come to an end and following the events that transpired over the weekend, and have been eliminated from the tournament while the remaining rosters have started preparations for the Playoffs. If you happened to miss any of the Group A matchups over weekend, don’t worry because we have covered a detailed recap of each in the following article.
A two-point deficit going in the second half isn’t an impossible position to recover from and had XSET’s defense faltered to start the half TSM would’ve capitalized. But XSET held up a formidable defense and initiated the half with 4 back-to-back rounds. Despite being only a couple of rounds away from closing out the map, they had to play 6 more rounds to reach the desired result courtesy of TSM’s attempt to comeback.
Both teams then moved onto Haven, where TSM looked to bounce back and the map pick favouring them seemed like an advantage – atleast on paper – proved otherwise as XSET’s aggressive offense embarked on a 7 round streak to start the half. The Guard managed to recover briefly and put up four rounds just before halftime. TSM’s optimism was significantly low going into the second half and XSET’s start to the second half added insult to injury as they extended the lead to 12-4.
Regardless of the scoreboard favouring XSET, TSM gathered their roster and tried to put on a hail mary run, which encountered considerable success as the following five rounds fell to them. Unfortunately, however, Rory "dephh" Jackson’s 3K in the 22nd put an end to TSM’s chances of qualifying for VCT 2022 - Stage 2 - Masters Copenhagen. It is worth mentioning that Zachary "zekken" Patrone use of Jett on Haven played a vital role in their win as he finished the map with 1.69 Rating and 331 ACS.
Arguably the most entertaining matchup to take place this weekend was between The Guard and NRG Esports and it was Bind that became the first host to these teams. The Guard were quick to take the first couple of rounds, which made them appear seemingly in control of the momentum, but NRG managed to counter them in subsequent three rounds. However, they weren’t able to take maintain consistency in their performance either as The Guard took charge and ended the half with a 8-4 lead.
As teams switched sides, The Guard initially failed to capitalize on their offensive position and surrendered three consecutive rounds to NRG allowing them to neutralize the lead and reach an equal footing. However, NA’s 1st seed in Stage 1 had several tricks up their sleeves which they unleashed in rapid succession to embark on a four round streak and almost close out the map. NRG, aware of the scoreboard favouring their opposition, took one last shot at retaining the map and despite taking 4 more rounds, their attempt was rendered futile by a clutch from The Guard’s young prodigy Trent "trent" Cairns leading them to a win on the map.
The loss on Bind came as a dismay to the NRG fans, as well as the participating roster. Instead of being demoralized and giving up, they used their loss as a lesson and bounced back with ferocity on Haven. After losing the first couple of rounds, they went off on a six-round streak. But The Guard remained vigilant throughout those rounds and left no opportunity to break the streak go to waste, and finally in round 9 they pranced on the opportunity allowing them to take three more rounds to make the score 7-5 by halftime. NRG pursued the same narrative after halftime fueling their offense to be efficient as possible, but they couldn’t get the pistol round this time either. Nonetheless, NRG kept their foot on the gas and took consecutive rounds to elevate to 12-7. Even though Michael "neT" Bernet stepped up for The Guard, NRG managed to close out the map and force the decider.
Matchups with their fates lying on deciders provide peak entertainment value and this was no exception. As teams left the gate, it was NRG once again with the same sense of urgency to take seven consecutive rounds putting them in a favorable position. The Guard having learnt from the previous map tried to retaliated quicker but failed repeatedly only being able to respond with a couple of rounds to their name by halftime. NRG, thus ended the half on a 8 point lead, and this deficit became the key differentiator in their victory as both teams alternated control over the map’s momentum in the second half such that The Guard was able to increase their score to 6 by the time NRG closed out the map confirming their spot in the Playoffs and eliminating the 1st seed from VCT 2022 - North America - Stage 1 - Main Event.
Their roster couldn’t hold the momentum for too long either and ended up letting 100 Thieves get away with six consecutive defusals. Peter "Asuna" Mazuryk’s performance during these rounds played a significant role in orchestrating this run. Ghost Gaming were able to slightly mitigate the damage by putting up 5 rounds of their own by halftime. The 2-point deficit that Ghost Gaming faced should’ve provided enough leeway for 100 Thieves in the second half, but their offense couldn’t hold out and in round 24 Brock "brawk" Somerhalder delivered the final blow by defusing the spike.
Both teams then moved onto Icebox, where 100 Thieves have had success in their recent encounters. 100 Thieves started on Offense this time around hoping to redeem themselves for a poor second half on Breeze. But as the rounds passed by they failed to exploit weakness in Ghost’s defense, and the half ended with them trailing 4-8. It wasn’t an impossible scenario to recover from, but Alex "aproto" Protopapas came out guns blazing and shot down any blooming hopes of a comeback finishing the map on a 2.03 Rating, 396 ACS and 2.55 KD.
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