Written By AashirAhmed - 2022-06-26
When XSET defeated FaZe Clan in an entertaining Lower Bracket Finals, NA fans were exhilarated to witness yet another Playoff rematch. XSET would face none other than the Champions of VCT 2022 - Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík in the Grand Finals to be NA’s #1 seed. If you’ve been a fan of the NA scene, a familiar narrative may come to mind. In VCT 2022 - North America - Stage 1 - Main Event, OpTic had defeated The Guard in Upper Bracket Finals and then lost to them in the Grand Finals. Going into this matchup, OpTic was hopeful to prevent history from repeating, and XSET was seeking revenge for their loss.
Proceedings commenced on Fracture, where they have won eight of their last ten encounters. Despite having a relatively worse record on the map, their confidence hadn’t faltered enabling their seven round streak to start the map courtesy of a well-rounded team effort.
An early seven-point deficit was concerning to OpTic, but their experience in similar situations helped them maintain composure and promptly deal with their predicament. Both teams were tied at round 15 with 7 rounds apiece. Zachary "zekken" Patrone and Matthew "Cryocells" Panganiban stepped up to propel the team to game point, while OpTic sat three rounds away at 9.
Before XSET could close out their first map, Victor "Victor" Wong used Neon’s ability to rescue OpTic and force Overtime. He did not stop there and took five kills in two Overtime rounds to conclude a fascinating comeback and close out the first map for OpTic.
OpTic did not expect XSET to come out as strong as they did on Fracture and were now looking to revise their approach going forward. Unfortunately, their plan couldn’t come to fruition on Haven as XSET’s ferocious offensive strategies caught OpTic off-guard and one round after another fell to them.
OpTic was only able to sneak three rounds past XSET in the first half, and none in the second half as XSET’s brick-like defense projected no vulnerabilities for OpTic to exploit. Zachary "zekken" Patrone played a crucial role for the team on both Offense and Defense, finishing the map with 1.97 Rating, 367 ACS and 3.29 KD — a trifecta of spectacular stats.
Having both teams tied at 1-1 further increased the excitement surrounding the matchup, and Bind was the perfect setting to host these teams. Despite losing the pistol round, OpTic retaliated with a couple of rounds hoping to continue their control over the momentum. XSET had different plans as the entire roster chipped in to contribute towards almost a 9-round streak.
Unlike the Upper Bracket Finals, Jaccob "yay" Whitaker failed to show up in today’s matchup; therefore, OpTic’s offense suffered. Being on the receiving end of XSET’s offense on Haven should’ve been enough for OpTic to improvise their defensive strategies leaving the gate for second half on Bind, but the results weren’t any better as XSET managed to take four rounds to close out the map, while OpTic could only increase their total score to 7.
To the surprise of many, XSET was leading the series 2-1 and Ascent, their map pick, could be the final one in VCT 2022 - North America - Stage 2 - Main Event Grand Finals. OpTic, however, was set to prevent this outcome from emerging and for the first time in this series had a worthy first-half performance. After taking an easy couple of rounds, they faced a brief hiatus, and then returned to post up a total of nine rounds on the scoreboard to end the half.
Glancing at the tineline of previous maps, their defense had been plausible, which meant that the threat still remained as teams switched sides. OpTic’s early two rounds after halftime proved to be worrisome for XSET fans, who were now looking forward to the decider. Nonetheless, XSET’s roster clung onto hopes of winning and their desire for vengeance fueled a mind-blowing 10 round run to close out the map.
With this win, XSET are the Champions of VCT 2022 - North America - Stage 2 - Main Event and will earn a direct spot at the Playoff stages in VCT 2022 - Stage 2 - Masters Copenhagen, while OpTic will have to qualify through the grueling Group Stages.
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