VCT 2022 - Korea - Stage 1 - Group Stages Recap
DRX VSDRX VS, previously known as Vision Strikers, had a relatively successful year in terms of tournament results with 1st place finishes in all regional tournaments they participated in except VCT 2021 - Stage 2 - Korea - Challengers, which became the unfortunate cause behind their absence from VCT 2021 - Stage 2 - Masters Reykjavík. Since their roster is almost the same as last year, their performance hasn’t been affected either, which meant that they were one of the favorites for this tournament and it did not take long for them to make their case.
Apart from the matchup against On Sla2ers, DRX VS executed a perfect sweep in all the matches and better yet without letting any team reach a double-digit score in either of the two maps. They were dominant through and through as expected from their tournament history; however, the loss against Sla2ers presented itself as a point of concern for a potential competitor in the scene that could rival VS in the ongoing VCT. That matchup took place over Icebox and Bind, which were lost by VS 3-13 and 8-13 scores respectively, largely due to the contributions of Park "Bazzi" Jun-ki who finished with a 1.83 Rating and 365 ACS. Being the second seed on the group table, they were given a direct placement into the second round of Upper Brackets along with Sla2ers.
Sla2ersOn Sla2ers's newly assembled roster had proven themselves to be quite capable in the qualifying rounds preceding the Main Event, but it wasn’t until the Group Stages begun that their true potential was unearthed. They finished the tournament with 6 wins and 1 loss, similar to that of DRX VS except that their loss was against World Game Star, which was nothing short of an interesting matchup to watch. Proceedings for that matchup commenced on Fracture, which was WGS’ map pick.
Although they started slow in the first half with Sla2ers leading 5-7, they managed to tie it up at 12-12 by round 24 and force the first overtime. That became one of five overtimes that were played, and had it not been for Hong "iRdy" Soo Min’s clutch, there would be another overtime on the timeline. In comparison, the second map was relatively uneventful but worth mentioning nonetheless since Sla2ers came extremely close to forcing OT on this map as well. As mentioned earlier, their remaining matchups ended in a win with half of them bearing a final score of 2-1, and the other half 2-0.
Trailing shortly behind on the Group leaderboards was DWG KIA with 5 wins and 2 losses, which unsparingly were in matches against DRX VS and Sla2ers, each of which they lost 0-2. The remaining matchups were a walk in the park for the participants of VCT 2021 - APAC Last Chance Qualifier as they finished with a 2-0 in three matches, while World Gaming Star and Desperado were able to force the decider. Even though DWG KIA eventually won those matchups, Desperado came very close to enlisting their third loss with a 10-7 lead by round 17. Their hopes were quickly diminished by the reliable Jeong "Esperanza" Jin-cheol finishing with a 1.48 Rating and 242 ACS.
World Gaming Star
The next team on the leaderboards is World Game Star with 4 wins and 3 losses, two of which were against the VS and DWG KIA, and the last one against HolyMolly. It is worth mentioning that they did surprisingly contribute to the only loss encountered by Sla2ers ending the tournament on a bold message and directing the attention of Korean fans for a team to keep eyes on in the Playoff stages. Their win against Maru Gaming was arguably one of the most entertaining matchups of the event with Fracture, the deciding map going to Overtime. Although WGS were leading 9-3 by halftime and were within arm’s reach of winning this matchup, Maru Gaming launched a fascinating comeback and were able to force overtime with ease. When one OT wasn’t sufficient to decide the winner, the matchup proceed to yet another one. But this time Lee "GODLIKE" Seo-ha and Kim "HANN" Dong-ho helped WGS navigate their way to victory and secure the Playoff spot.
Like Sla2ers, Maru Gaming was also a relatively new and unfamiliar name in the scene. However, the caliber of their performance was miles behind the Sla2ers since they were only able to secure 3 wins and suffered 4 losses. When a team loses more games than it wins, their chances in upcoming stages decline and the case for Maru Gaming isn’t looking very strong from recent showings. Their only wins were against Team T5, HolyMolly and Desperado, two of which have been eliminated from the tournament while HolyMolly resides even lower on the group table. Nonetheless, their matchup against WGS was very close and could’ve resulted in another win for the roster. Regardless, the team will have to use the time remaining until the Playoffs to analyze the other teams’ gameplay and come up with effective counter-strategies.