Written By AashirAhmed - 2022-05-16
Group B managed to keep up with Group A in terms of the entertainment value, as we saw some extremely close matchups as well as a surprising upset. Here’s a detailed recap of Group B match up this week.
Luminosity Gaming retained their qualification spot for the Stage 2 Main Event after strong performances against Version1 and Sentinels in the Lower Brackets of the 1st qualifier. The organization seems to be focusing their efforts on developing the team’s chemistry rather than introducing new players and sending them back to the drawing board as noted by their unchanged roster coming into the Main Event. In contrast, Sentinels once known as the best team in the world was only a loss away from failing to qualify after being relegated to the Lower Brackets in the 2nd qualifiers.
As both teams left the gate on Bind, Sentinels were able to take four back-to-back rounds to gain them the early lead but their lack of consistency forced the lead in the hands of Luminosity Gaming who took almost seven consecutive rounds to finish the half at score of 7-5. Following the halftime break, Sentinels decided to utilize the opportunity to play on their map pick as an advantage and close out on Defense. They were arguably successful in doing so, only for the first three rounds following the half. Luminosity, however, didn’t let them continue their dominance over the momentum negating their lead within a couple of rounds. Sentinels once again retaliated, but it wasn’t enough, and Luminosity closed out the map with a 13-11 run.
Being down 1-0 and moving to Luminosity’s map pick wasn’t the most optimal situation Sentinels would’ve wanted. But they couldn’t be set on what had already taken place, which is why they directed their attention towards Breeze and the difference in their performance was eminent. By the end of the first half, they were leading the way with a 8-4 score. This difference provided them with enough leeway in the 2nd half because LG were able to put up a brick-like defense to stop Sentinels in their tracks and force overtime. Sentinels needed to maintain their composure and pummel through the overtime if they wanted to force the decider, and it took them six overtime rounds to finally close out the map.
Fracture was chosen as the decider and since teams were on equal footing with the series tied at 1-1, this map was equally important for both the teams to dominate in. Sentinels have had a good history playing on Fracture, so LG was extra cautious going to the decider and it paid off better than anyone could’ve expected it to. Sentinels was able to start the map with a couple of rounds; however, their consistency deteriorated and LG didn’t hesitate to capitalize finishing the half with a four point lead and before Sentinels could turn the tables in the second half, LG closed out the game with seven consecutive rounds.
OpTic Gaming, the winners of the recently concluded NSG 2022 Winter Championship - Fullerton LAN, were the obvious favorites going into the matchup against FaZe Clan with a relatively new roster. However, the latter did their best to give OpTic a run for their money. Proceedings began on Ascent, FaZe’s map pick. However, OpTic’s vast experience in tournaments was enough to render that as nothing more than a challenge they had to overcome. From the get-go, their defense was impenetrable and FaZe’s roster couldn’t find any substantial opening they could exploit. The pattern continued till halftime increasing OpTic’s score to 9, while they trailed at 3 points. However, as the teams switched sides FaZe finally seemed to get their groove on by pushing the score to 11-7. It had unfortunately been too late by then and OpTic closed out the map by taking a couple more rounds limiting FaZe score to 8.
Both teams then moved to Fracture, where OpTic has seemed to be improving a lot in recent times especially against LOUD at the Masters event. Nonetheless, the map didn’t play out to be as one-sided as they would’ve wanted. OpTic started off strong with a couple of rounds, but then alternated rounds with FaZe until the last couple of rounds which fell to the latter team earning them a 7-5 lead going into the second half. FaZe was set to continue the lead and force the decider, but OpTic had different plans. They diffused FaZe’s hopes of winning their first Main Event matchup of VCT 2022 by taking almost eight back-to-back rounds.
Despite a poor showing in VCT 2022 - North America - Stage 1 - Main Event, Evil Geniuses has managed to return the Main Event after a commendable performance in the 2nd qualifiers in part due to the contributions of Alexander "jawgemo" Mor, who has has been the team’s driving force finishing the qualifier tournament with 1.53 Rating, 314.3 ACS, and 1.71 KD – the most consistent stats of any player throughout the event. Cloud9, on the other hand, earned a direct invitation to the event after making the Grand Finals in VCT Stage 1 Main Event.
Cloud9 tried to get the early upper hand by taking the 1st pistol round on Icebox, which was EG’s map pick. But EG seemed to have learned from their losses because they were able to sway the momentum in their favor and take six consecutive rounds before Cloud9 broke free. This streak helped them post an 8-4 score by halftime and elevate their hopes going into the second half. With Cloud9 now playing offense, they had the opportunity to repeat EG’s performance and they did so in a slightly different pattern. By round 23 both teams were 11-11 and after EG managed to secure the 23rd round, they had the advantage to close out the game. Anthony "vanity" Malaspina saw this as an opportunity to shine and attempted a 3K to force overtime, which eventually went in their favour.
EG had lost in optimal conditions, and were now playing Cloud9 on Fracture, the latter’s map pick and they needed to put the best they had. They were able to take the first pistol and the subsequent rounds. However, they couldn’t maintain consistency and allowed Cloud9 to take charge, which proved to be detrimental to their chances as the score read 5-7 by halftime. Following the break, EG tried to get momentum going by taking four rounds and taking the lead by round 18. But Cloud9 had had enough and embarked on a five round streak to close the map and win the matchup.
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