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Ninjas in Pyjamas beat Fnatic, Team Liquid overcome XERXIA - Masters Reykjavik Day 2

Written By    PeeKay  -  share on

The second day of VCT 2022 - Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík saw Ninjas in Pyjamas defeat Fnatic with ease, while Team Liquid outlasted XERXIA in a marathon matchup to become the first group team to qualify for playoffs.

Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík
0:2
Best of 3
April 11, 2022 - 19:00
  • 7
    Ascent
    Pick
    13
  • 8
    Split
    Pick
    13
FnaticFnaticAgentsRatingACSK/DKDAADR
Enzo1.232621.2436299173.2
H1BER0.962220.79273413150.0
MAGNUM0.861920.81263211120.1
Mistic0.841740.9326287121.2
Boaster0.541170.5316301074.1
Ninjas in PyjamasAgentsRatingACSK/DKDAADR
xand1.352661.48402710165.6
Jonn1.232571.32372810167.0
bnj1.182101.7034208132.1
bezn10.771620.79222813111.6
cauanzin0.741550.7120281396.2

The second group A opener saw the Ninjas in Pyjamas pick up an unexpected yet convincing 2-0 win over Fnatic. While it must be noted that the latter were without the suspended Andrew "braveaf" Gorchakov and star man Nikita "Derke" Sirmitev due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, the Brazilians outclassed them time and time again to claim the series and move to the Winners Match against DRX VS.

Fnatic kicked us off on a baffling Ascent pick, which they had previously lost to G2 Esports on and that the Ninjas absolutely love playing. The Europeans paid the price very early on, with Alexandre "xand" Zizi and co. masterfully navigating a B site retake on the back of a quick Gabriel  "bezn1" Luiz da Costa double kill. Fnatic were not helped by the fact that Joona "H1BER" Parviainen just could not create the same level of impact and space as Derke could, and struggled to open up and hold down positions. NiP took full advantage of that, pushing down B main to get two sudden kills and win the bonus, while on rifle rounds, xand and the young Sova Cauan "cauanzin" Pereira locked down Tree with ease. The only saving grace for the Europeans was H1BER’s ace that gifted them a few rounds, but otherwise the Brazilians were all over them as the half ended 9-3.

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

Fnatic had a good start to their defense, as they won the pistol with a solid B defense and then mopped up the following anti-eco. But with their reduced firepower and communication, they could not handle the rifle of Walney  "Jonn" Reis, who broke open the B site and snatched a round back for NiP. The Europeans answered with two more of their own to bring it to 7-10, but xand smartly switched his attention towards the A site and it fell not once but twice in a row and Ninjas in Pyjamas closed out the final round to seal the map 13-7.

With their own map lost, Fnatic ventured into hostile territory on Split. They did start on the much-favored defense, but despite winning the pistol, they just could not keep up with the fast paced executes of the Ninjas and settled for an early 3-3 scoreline. It was at this point where the Brazilian coach Rogerio "RoY" Lopez called a timeout, and his inputs bore fruit, as NiP then went to a five round win streak. xand was yet again vital for them, spearheading site hits with his six first bloods and Jonn on Jett would wrap things up, using the double duelist composition to full potential. The half ended with NiP gifting a scrappy round to Fnatic to make it 8-4.

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

The Brazilian side wasted no time in winning the pistol and anti-eco as they took a commanding 10-4 lead on the defense. Boaster and co. strung a few rounds together in response, maneuvering mid very well and using it to pinch defenders, building slowly back into the match. But NiP finally caught onto their post-plant setup, eliminating their mid lurk and dismantling their B Heaven hold to get a round back and then poetically finishing off the map with a clean A site defense to take the series 2-0.

Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík
1:2
Best of 3
April 11, 2022 - 22:00
  • 7
    Split
    Pick
    13
  • 13
    Icebox
    Pick
    11
  • 15
    Ascent
    17
XERXIAXERXIAAgentsRatingACSK/DKDAADR
sScary1.162261.13605332159.6
Foxz0.952070.87526022142.8
Crws0.841840.82496015112.4
sushiboys0.791730.87465310119.7
Surf0.761830.8249606107.3
Team LiquidTeam LiquidAgentsRatingACSK/DKDAADR
ScreaM1.392741.28685334172.6
Jamppi1.292721.3975549179.0
soulcas1.052180.98515236144.6
L1NK0.941740.98495019118.8
Nivera0.671390.914347699.4

The group B winners match was an absolute treat for fans and neutrals alike, as Team Liquid took a grueling 2-1 win over XERXIA. The VALORANT on display might not have been the cleanest but it was certainly entertaining from both teams, and it will be interesting to see if Liquid can continue this good form in the playoffs.

The series began on Team Liquid’s selection of Split, a map they have looked really good on in the past. But XERXIA certainly gave them a run for their money in the pistol round and the anti-eco, where the Thai squad went for high-risk mid aggression and simply outdueled the opposition. That was the theme for Itthirit "Foxz" Ngamsaard and co. this map, as they were more than happy to take individual fights over coordinated pushes, and that led to their eventual demise. Once Liquid had rifles in their hands, they snapped right back, taking advantage of XERXIA’s tendencies to over-rotate and winning five rounds in a row to make it 5-2. Crucially, they were able to silence Thanachart "Surf" Rungarphajaratsakul’s operator that was such a menace against OpTic Gaming, and that allowed them to not lose out as often on entry duels. Down 3-6 in the half, the Thai squad rallied behind Panyawat "sushiboys" Subsiriroj who pulled out a massive multi kill to win a round back and they were able to make it 6-6 before the break.

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

Contrary to how competitive the first half was, the second was a complete landslide in favor of Team Liquid, not just because their defense was rock solid, but also predicated on too many errors by their opposition. After winning the pistol, XERXIA inexplicably walked into an A site stacked with four Liquid players and got mowed down, while Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen was able to hold down the fort later with a 5-0 opening K/D using an operator as Breach. Team Liquid seemed like they were back to playing fundamentally sound VALORANT, with bait and switch setups and disciplined retakes, and that paid off as they did not lose a single round en route to a 13-7 win.

XERXIA took us to Icebox, a map that both teams are very proficient on and indeed the map came very close. The Foxz-led squad started well with a hyper aggressive mid push and replicated that play in the anti-eco to take a 2-0 lead. Liquid looked set to take back a round with the rifles in hand, but a heroic retake by Thanamethk "Crws" Mahatthananuyut saw them succumb further at 0-4. It took a stunning 4k by Jamppi to even put Liquid on the board, but his team looked revitalized after that, focusing on heavy five-man executes to overwhelm their opponents and tie the score up 6-6 at halftime.

Morale was clearly dwindling in the XERXIA camp after they fell to an early 9-7 disadvantage, having won only one of their last nine rounds. But they found an unlikely savior in Nutchapon "sScary" Matarat, who single handedly won them a thrifty round off of which they were able to exploit B and string four in a row to go back into the lead. The Thai squad gave Liquid a taste of their own medicine, as they kept executing onto B with little to no response from the defenders, especially with Dom "soulcas" Sulcas finding almost no impact as Sage there. Even though the Europeans were able to find a round here and there, XERXIA were largely dominant and wrapped up Icebox with a 13-11 scoreline and took the series to Ascent.

The last map of the match and the day was a very close fought yet streaky Ascent. The big man Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom chose to play KAY/O instead of Sage this time around and made an instant impact on the pistol round, carrying his team to a win with four kills. He was in good form and so was his cousin Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom, who constantly was able to get opening picks on Surf with the operator and helped the side to a 5-1 lead. But it was Surf who turned things around from that point, exploding onto the site with his Bladestorm and catching the opposition off guard, sending Team Liquid’s economy into shambles. They were able to mount their comeback now, especially with sScary pulling off another 1v3 clutch for the team as they held a narrow 7-5 lead at the break.

ScreaM, Nivera, and Jamppi at Masters Reykjavik. Credit: Riot Games
ScreaM, Nivera, and Jamppi at Masters Reykjavik. Credit: Riot Games

It was deja vu at the start of the second half, as Team Liquid yet again rose to the occasion with a thrifty round win and subsequently tied it up at 8-8 with some A site hits. Jamppi was fantastic for the team as usual, always unpredictable and difficult to play against, as he racked up 33 kills and 270 ACS on the map. Surf finally got the better of the Finn at 11-8 and that was the round where they came back into the game and started their own four round streak. The same aggression that tore into XERXIA was now met by sScary’s multi kills and the Thai team forced overtime.

The first four rounds of overtime were won all by the attackers, with the B site being a frequent destination. Team Liquid were the first to break that trend, moving into match point with an unconventional double operator setup on the defense, but XERXIA hung on the following round with a heavy B site defense. The Europeans continued the double OP setup and it found success again, with Nivera grabbing the opening kill and then adding two more to his tally. Yet again, Foxz and co. were back against the wall, but this time they faltered on the A retake and Team Liquid claimed the map 17-15 and the series 2-1 to book their spot in the playoffs.

Action will continue on Day 3 of Masters Reykjavik at the following times:

Group A Winners Match: Ninjas in Pyjamas vs DRX VS at 5:00 PM CET

Group B Elimination Match: OpTic Gaming vs KRU Esports at 8:00 PM CET

Group A Elimination Match: Fnatic vs ZETA DIVISION at 11:00 PM CET

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