Written By AashirAhmed - 2022-06-26
When your region is home to the runner-ups of VCT 2022 - Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík, your chance of winning a matchup decreases significantly. Ninjas in Pyjamas had to face this harsh reality not once, but twice in the same tournament as they looked to secure their spot at the 2nd International LAN event in VCT 2022.
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Proceedings for the Grand Finals commenced on Bind, LOUD’s map pick. Despite having such a fascinating performance against NiP in the Upper Bracket Finals, it took LOUD a few minutes to unveil their true form, and NiP did not hesitate to capitalize on the lackluster offense they encountered.
By round 6, they had already established a two-point lead, and were looking to extend it further. A roster with LOUD’s caliber quickly sensed the momentum swaying away from them and decided to act swiftly by ramping up their offensive aggression.
This decision paid dividends for the team allowing them to take the lead going into the second half, where their Defense fulfilled their role beyond perfection, especially Erick "aspas" Santos who closed out the map with a spectacular 3K, while maintaining an overall rating of 1.39 and 261 ACS on defense.
Both teams then transitioned to Fracture, where NiP looked to turn the tables and tie up the series. However, LOUD had also increased their vigilance and learning from their mistake on Bind, they took the first pistol on Fracture courtesy of a 4K from Felipe "Less" de Loyola Basso.
Nonetheless, NiP managed to retaliate and even take the lead briefly after the round 7 win. To their dismay, however, Less playing Chamber became a nightmare as his rampage allowed LOUD to finish the half with a 7-5 score. A glance at his statistics provide a greater insight into his impact as he closed out the half with 2.27 and an astonishing 475 ACS on 2 KD.
As teams left the gate for the second half, NiP was locked in seeking to replicate LOUD’s offensive success and winning the pistol round became a crucial factor in stringing together a four-round streak. They were no longer trailing behind, and this was the perfect set-up for closing out the map but LOUD’s defense put an end to this drive with consecutive defusals. Losing these rounds were detrimental to NiP’s chances of tying up the series, as LOUD eased their way to the win.
A familiar pattern was emerging from the Upper Finals matchup. So, when teams returned to continue the series on Icebox, most NiP fans had already accepted their fate. Nonetheless, the roster knew better than to give up without putting on a fight and they demonstrated their desire to win by taking the first couple of rounds. Their hopes of embarking on a streak were diffused by LOUD’s
Erick "aspas" Santos six consecutive 3K’s. He piqued every round on Offense finishing the half with 2.28 Rating on 453 ACS and 2.86 KD. Despite this breathtaking performance, NiP was able to keep the deficit to only two-points. Just when hopes of a comeback were looming, LOUD’s defense struck back with unparalleled ferocity closing out the map with 13-6 final score and securing their spot at VCT 2022 - Stage 2 - Masters Copenhagen.
However, all hope for NiP isn’t lost as they get a second chance to make the Masters event by playing against VCT 2022 - LATAM - Stage 2 - Challengers Playoffs’s runner up at VCT 2022 - Stage 2 - Challengers - South America Playoff.
Image Credit: Riot Games
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