Written By ArmandVanHelden - 2022-04-10
The opening day of VCT 2022 - Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík will host two great competitions starting with DRX VS facing ZETA DIVISION and then KRÜ Esports versus Team Liquid, one match for each group to start the group stage.
The well-known South Korean esports organization DRX decided to invest in VALORANT and acquired Vision Strikers’ roster. Luckily, the players didn’t upset the DRX VS board and continued their tradition by winning the regional trophy. They showed full dominance over On Sla2ers throughout the circuit before qualifying for VCT 2022 - Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík. It looks like they are the second-best team in Group A, right after L8R Bot but anything is possible considering game mechanics and strategies. DRX VS may surprise everyone with unexpected performances. It is hard to choose who to put forward on the roster as both Goo "Rb" Sang-Min and Yu "BuZz" Byung-chul have played out of their minds during VCT 2022 - Korea - Stage 1 - Main Event. Rb is holding a 1.22 rating and a 1.44 K/D for the past two months. He played Jett 16 times and Raze 6 times. Interestingly, he won five clutches out of ten which shows how cold-blooded he is. On the other hand, BuZz has played five different agents in the past two months and he is also sitting at a solid 1.22 rating and a 1.40 K/D. Moreover, he is holding a 1.27 rating on Chamber, his most played agent so far.
Secondly, the Japanese champions, ZETA DIVISION are going to try to prove that they are the superior Asian region. ZETA’s regional journey has been dominant from the start until the very end. They managed to take down Crazy Raccoon three times to lift the trophy. Just like DRX VS, it is hard to put one player forward as both Kouji "Laz" Ushida and Yuma "Dep" Hisamoto have put their hearts out in the league. Laz’s Chamber dominance came in handy for ZETA during VCT 2022 - Japan - Stage 1 - Challengers Playoffs as the Japanese player picked it 10 times, holding an incredible 1.47 rating and a 1.78 K/D. Besides, he has also played Viper and Killjoy, creating space for his teammates with his flexibility. Apart from Laz, Dep has also put up great numbers during the regular season and playoffs. He lifts the firepower load of the team on his shoulders with Jett, Sage, and Viper. He picked Jett 15 times in the past two months and held a 1.19 rating on the top of the 1.40 K/D. Interestingly, he picked Viper only once and ended the game with a 1.74 rating and 2.38 K/D. He is another big threat for the side of DRX VS.
The second matchup of the opening day will host the competition between KRÜ Esports and Team Liquid. KRÜ Esports, famous football player Sergio Kun Agüero’s esports team, have proven themselves on the international stage, especially during VCT 2021 - VALORANT Champions 2021. As you may remember, they reached the semi final before losing to M3 Champions, the later champions of the tournament. They still have the same roster with some coaching staff changes and they have lifted the VCT 2022 - LATAM - Stage 1 - Challengers Playoffs trophy after raking down Leviatán Esports in five games. Angelo "Keznit" Mori looked in shape during the regular season and playoffs. He held a 1.46 rating on Raze, picking the agent 10 times. The Chilean player has also picked Phoenix, KAY/O, and Jett but none of them were as effective as his Raze performances. He is sitting at a solid 297.60 ACS, carrying his team on the battlefield, especially in clutch situations and aim fights. He is one of the most important pieces of the KRÜ Esports roster and Liquid should look out for him for sure.
After FunPlus Phoenix’s unfortunate situation, Team Liquid were selected as they grabbed the fourth EMEA spot during VCT 2022 - EMEA - Stage 1 - Challengers - Main Event. Team Liquid made a great start to the playoffs by taking down G2 Esports, one of the teams that had the best form in the region. However, they failed to repeat the success and couldn’t go beyond the lower bracket semi finals. When Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom is on the roster, he is always the star player even with Sage or Skye in his hands. The ex-CS:GO pro has played with many different agents like Sage, Skye, and KAY/O during the EMEA circuit. We were used to seeing him with Jett and Reyna most of the time but it is hard to predict Team Liquid’s strategies, especially with agents. However, they are going to face a team that looks just like them with agent shuffles and different map choices so it will be an interesting matchup for sure.
Another rematch in the opening day which will see OpTic Gaming (formerly of Envy) facing off against XERXIA (formerly of X10 Crit), both teams who now represent new colors. Back in VCT 2021 - VALORANT Champions 2021 it was X10 Crit that overcome Envy in the Group A Decider match, a match which had it's own variables added to it which were a factor in Envy's loss to X10 Crit with Victor "Victor" Wong suffering the effects of COVID19 at the time. Yesterday at the press conference Jaccob "yay" Whitaker said that they are looking forward to playing them again in their opening fixture. OpTic have looked so strong throughout their tenure in VALORANT claiming second place in VCT 2021 - Stage 3 - Masters Berlin - Playoffs after a straight 3-0 defeat to M3 Champions, but given their run to the grand final of the event they took down some big names, Vivo Keyd & KRÜ Esports in the group stage and Acend & 100 Thieves in their playoff run. The name that always pops up when talking about OpTic is Jaccob "yay" Whitaker, during Masters Berlin playoffs he held a 1.32 Rating, 273.9 ACS and 170.4 ADR and giving his early exit in VCT Champions he ended on 1.17 Rating, 242.7 ACS and 160.9 ADR, he is the man to watch throughout the event.
XERXIA won the fans over at their first LAN appearance back at VCT 2021 - Stage 2 - Masters Reykjavík where Patiphan "Patiphan" Chaiwong stole the show and rivaled Jake "Boaster" Howlett to on stage dance offs. They continued their great run by dominating the Thailand scene and throughout South East Asia which landed them in yet another LAN appearance at VCT 2021 - VALORANT Champions 2021 where they showed great character during their quarter final exit against the eventual runners up, Gambit Esports, as they managed take a map from the Masters Berlin champions. This event however would be the last for Patiphan "Patiphan" Chaiwong as he announced he would be returning to Overwatch, after his departure the roster parted ways with X10 Crit and were soon picked up by XERXIA and were joined by Thanachart "Surf" Rungarphajaratsakul. It will be interesting to see how the Thai team will cope with the stronger version of their defeated opponents back at VCT Champions, will Surf be the man to fill the big boots of Patiphan? Overall this match will sure be entertaining for all viewers.
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