Written By ArmandVanHelden - 2022-04-10
From Japan to Iceland, ZETA DIVISION have made it to the VCT 2022 - Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík to represent their region against the best teams in the world. The Japanese team came a long way from VCT 2022 - Japan - Stage 1 - Challengers Week 1 - Open Qualifier to VCT 2022 - Japan - Stage 1 - Challengers Playoffs and now sailed to international waters. Let’s have a look at their first circuit of the VCT 2022 season!
Even if you are the best team in the region, you have to start your run from the qualifiers due to the ruleset. ZETA DIVISION’s qualifier journey started with a one-sided win over Revival, maps ending with scores of 13-1 and 13-2. Secondly, SETOUCHI ENLIFE’s performance was a lot better as they grabbed seven rounds on Breeze in the opening map of the series. However, ZETA DIVISION’s roster quality, chemistry, and gameplay were far better than all of their opponents in VCT 2022 - Japan - Stage 1 - Challengers Week 1 - Open Qualifier. Lastly, they took down Reignite with two confident wins on Split and Icebox, ending 13-5 and 13-2 respectively. ZETA DIVISION have qualified for the group stage after getting their third win of the qualifiers.
The group stage format consisted of two semi final games and the grand final. ZETA DIVISION’s first opponent, NORTHEPTION have also proved their level of gameplay during qualifiers by demolishing every opponent. The first group stage game started with NORTHEPTION’s Haven pick but ZETA were the superior side, winning the first map after 20 rounds. However, NORTHEPTION bounced back with an important win on Bind to force another map. ZETA closed out the series with a 13-9 Fracture win to reach the grand final. Yuma "Dep" Hisamoto’s Jett and Sage performances were on point and they were the biggest factor in their win. Secondly, ZETA faced the most popular Japanese team in the grand final, Crazy Raccoon. Surprisingly, Crazy Raccoon got swept but still made it to the playoffs stage. ZETA’s confident and one-sided win made them prove their capacity once again but this time against one of the best teams in the region.
In the first round of the playoffs, ZETA DIVISION faced Reignite. These two teams had already played against each other during the qualifiers and the result didn’t change. ZETA took down Reignite in two games, even though this time Reignite’s performances were much better. It was still not enough to destroy the Japanese giants. They came up against Crazy Raccoon in the upper bracket semi final and this time the series started with Raccoon’s dominance on Breeze. Despite picking Breeze as their comfort map, ZETA failed to show their strong side and the series got in trouble for them. However, they bounced back stronger on CR’s pick Haven and tied the series. Finally, they demolished CR’s hopes with a one-sided win on Icebox, 13-5. IGZIST, another contender for this year’s trophy made it to the upper bracket final to face ZETA and reach the grand final. With Kim "Lakia" Jong-min’s arrival, their roster quality improved and they proved themselves throughout the tournament. Even though everyone expected competition between these two teams, ZETA destroyed IGZIST with 13-4 and 13-2 wins on Bind and Icebox respectively. Their dominance was on another level as the Japanese organization reached the grand final in style. Finally, they faced Crazy Raccoon for the third time since the start of the circuit and the result didn’t change. After taking down CR in four games, 3-1, ZETA DIVISION lifted the VCT 2022 - Japan - Stage 1 - Challengers Playoffs trophy and guaranteed a spot at VCT 2022 - Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík.
Keeping the qualifiers out of the equation as their opponents weren’t very optimal, ZETA DIVISION’s map picks mainly consisted of Bind and Icebox. They have picked these maps four times, two times each. They won both of their Icebox picks and even grabbed an extra against Crazy Raccoon. It will be interesting to see them compete against international opponents as it looks like their map pool isn’t that big. Nevertheless, they can close the gap by training hard until their first game in Iceland.
It is very hard to pick between Kouji "Laz" Ushida and Yuma "Dep" Hisamoto as the “player to watch” for this team. Despite Dep’s great performance during the tournament, we shouldn’t sleep on Laz’s incredible leadership and statistics. The Japanese player is a real threat especially on Chamber, challenging Oscar Cañellas "m1xwell" Colocho on the agent. He picked Chamber 10 times in the past two months and he is holding a 1.47 rating, 1.78 K/D, and 293.90 ACS with a 1.02 kill per round statistics. On top of helping Dep with firepower, he has also stepped up with Viper and Killjoy to help his team get to glory.
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