Written By PeeKay - 2022-05-30
OpTic Gaming took no prisoners as they took down Sentinels, while Cloud9 crumbled against FaZe Clan and Evil Geniuses beat out Luminosity Gaming in the Week 3 Group B matches at VCT 2022 - North America - Stage 2 - Main Event.
It was an easy day at work for Evil Geniuses, who dismantled Luminosity Gaming 2-0 in the opening match of the weekend. Both teams now sit in the top half of the group with an unexpected 2-1 record.
Icebox was where the series began, a map Evil Geniuses are a fan of, having beaten the likes Sentinels and Pittsburgh Knights as of late. Luminosity interestingly pulled out an old school double duelist composition, with Adam "mada" Pampuch on Reyna and Brandon "Bdog" Sanders on Jett, one that is slowly making its way back into the Icebox meta. It was, however, a disastrous start for LG, losing the first two rounds and then not being able to convert against EG’s bonus in a heartbreaking post-plant situation. Tanner "TiGG" Spanu not having a good time playing on B, as Alexander "jawgemo" Mor cracked the site open time and time again with a total of 7 first bloods. It took a monster retake from mada’s Empress to get his team on the board at 7-1, but EG hit back instantly and took control of the game again to make it 10-2 at the half.
The second pistol round of the map also went the way of Evil Geniuses, as did the following force buy, and LG were staring down a 12-2 scoreline. The Will "dazzLe" Loafman-led team were able to save face as they put up a few more rounds on the board, exploiting EG’s vulnerabilities on the A site as they grew more and more confident. Unfortunately, the round deficit was too large to overcome and jawgemo took advantage of a poorly paced execute to help win out the final round for his team, sealing the map 13-7.
Bind is by far Luminosity’s most played map and their recent form on it has been stellar. On paper, all signs were pointing towards a potential three map series, but EG made it clear they had no intentions of losing their momentum. They came up on top in the pistol round again, and even more impressively, won their second bonus round of the series, demolishing the LG economy. dazzLe and co. just could not find their way around the defense, constantly getting run down by jawgemo’s Raze, who led the team with 21 kills. EG were importantly happy to play for the retake, using their two initiators instead of the usual double controller composition to pull off defuses on both sides of the map. Other than a couple of dropped rounds, Evil Geniuses were able to stroll to a 10-2 half.
Unlike on Icebox, Evil Geniuses kept the second half clean and quick. An explosive A execute saw them win the fourth pistol round of the series, and they were able to silence the opposing force buy with ease. jawgemo and co. were in the groove, losing only one player in the final round as they shut down LG on Bind with a 13-2 scoreline and won the series 2-0.
A weakened Sentinels put up no surprises as they fell 2-0 to the powerhouse of OpTic Gaming. The latter maintain their unbeaten record in the group at the expense of the former, who now have lost all three of their matches and are dead last.
Sentinels were in for a bad time early on, as they started on OpTic’s pick of Fracture, a map Pujan "FNS" Mehta’s side have become synonymous with after their impressive performances at Masters Reykjavik. They showed off that quality on their attack, with clean executes that forced Sentinels to go on the back foot and play for the retake. But Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan and co. simply did not have the level coordination needed to pull any off, getting dominated by Austin "crashies" Roberts, who not only put up the raw kills but was hugely impactful in clutch moments. An unlikely hero in the form of Shane "Rawkus" Flaherty was what gave Sentinels their first round at 7-1, but it was simply a drop in the bucket, as OpTic continued to dominate en route to a 10-2 half.
Sentinels grabbed two early rounds on the back of pistols, but when it came to the key rifle rounds they faltered, failing to convert the bonus and the following full buy. A 4k clutch by Rawkus yet again simply delayed the inevitable, and OpTic dealt the final blow with a flawless A defense to take the lead in the series.
Bind was set up to be an interesting matchup, considering it has been a solid map for both sides, even though Sentinels would obviously be losing the impact of star man Tyson "TenZ" Ngo. A hilarious pistol round saw Jimmy "Marved" Nguyen pick up four kills, including a knife, in vain, as he couldn’t pull off the retake. Sentinels were flawless in the anti-eco, but yet again, when the crucial rifle rounds began, OpTic came out on top. Great reads by FNS meant that Shahzam and co. were always running into stacked sites and his team quickly regained the lead. With Jaccob "yay" Whitaker and Victor "Victor" Wong combining for 38 kills between them, OpTic were able to hold key areas of the map and made sure that Sentinels had been whittled down before a hit even came through, winning ten rounds in a row to make it 10-2 at the break.
Sentinels had to win the pistol round if they were to mount a comeback and they did just that, cleaning up a quick A hit with ease. They were unable to convert the bonus a few rounds later, putting OpTic at an 11-4 lead. ShahZaM and co. had a bit of a resurgence, showing a much better face on the defense and countering some of OpTic’s contact plays, along with a couple of nice retakes. But if there was anyone to change the tides of a match, it would be yay, and he did just that with an Operator 4k and putting his team on match point. FNS’s Viper’s Pit helped close out the final round and OpTic took Bind 13-8 and the series 2-0.
What had promised to be a hugely exciting series petered out into a 2-0 win for FaZe Clan over Cloud9 in the last Group B match of the week. The result marks the former’s first win and puts both squads in the 1-2 bracket.
The first map was Cloud9’s choice of Fracture, a map that they had beaten Evil Geniuses on at this event. It certainly started well for them, as they raced to an early 3-1 lead and a solid economic advantage. Xavier "flyuh" Carison put FaZe back in the conversation, getting a 3k as well as a crucial clutch that was the beginning of a dominant six round streak. Andrej "babybay" Francisty’s Neon looked polished, being set up to win out early engagements that gave FaZe the ability to play for retakes later in the round. Cloud9’s good start was neutralized by flyuh and co., who were looking sharp as ever as they took an 8-4 lead going into the second half.
A nail-biting pistol round went FaZe Clan’s way, and they made quick work of the anti-eco to move to double digits. The rifle rounds should have been where Cloud9 made their comeback, but their lack of coordination and comfort with the new addition of Rahul "curry" Nemani was apparent, and FaZe were able to get a soul-crushing flawless bonus round. Yet another win saw flyuh’s side move to match point, and while Xeppaa and leaf were able to hold off FaZe’s A hit for one round, a huge 3k by flyuh on the last round saw him convert a 1v3 clutch and win his team the map 13-5.
Things were not looking too good for Cloud9 going into FaZe's pick of Haven, with the latter losing just one player in the first two rounds. Anthony "vanity" Malaspina and co. responded with a rifle round, reading the A play and shutting down the attack with a nice Sewers setup. FaZe took to C instead the next round, and a fast hit ensured Cloud9 were forced into a 5v5 retake which Quan "dicey" Tran killed all hopes of with a 3k. That seemed to be a trend over the following rounds, where Cloud9 allowed FaZe to set up in post-plant situations and faltered to multikill plays in those big retakes. A thrifty at 6-1 was what put an end to FaZe’s dominance, and Cloud9 were now stepping on the pedal to be much quicker in their retakes. They strung together five rounds of their own towards the end of the half to make it a respectable 6-6 scoreline at halftime.
flyuh and co. were able to grab a pretty comfortable pistol round to kick off their defense, and things went from bad to worse for Cloud9 as their force buy did not pay off and now FaZe were in both a round and economic advantage. leaf was really struggling to find any impact, especially in the first kill department, going 2-8 with opening kills. Five in a row saw FaZe move to 11-6, but Xeppaa was on hand to deny them map point with a quick A hit and then curry put up four to put Cloud9 back in contention. But Andrej "babybay" Francisty was back in action, his hyper aggressive Neon plays enabling a B retake and then an absurd 3k the very next round ensured FaZe closed out the map 13-8 and the series 2-0.
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