VCT Stage 1 Masters: Team Liquid Secures Reykjavík Playoff Spot

Published: Apr 12, 2022

The past two days have been filled with exciting Valorant action where the group stage teams in Reykjavík have been busy fighting to see who’ll land in the Winners’ Match, and who’ll avoid the dreaded Elimination Match.

Group A saw two winners. The first team to secure the Winners’ Match was DRX, the Korean powerhouse fielding a team of former Vision Strikers stars. The second team to secure an early lead were Ninjas in Pyjamas. In a surprising turn of events, they swiftly and decisively defeated Fnatic, one of the EMEA favourites in this esports tournament.

The teams in group B had a similar situation, where both Team Liquid and XERXIA secured convincing 2 – 0 wins and made their way into the Elimination Match. This resulted in an explosive Winners’ Match where both teams fought hard and kept the fans at the edge of their seats. The final score was 2 – 1 for Liquid, but it was an incredibly close match.

Image Credits | Riot Games

NiP’s Important Victory

The Valorant fans have had their fair share of skepticism for Ninjas In Pyjamas ever since their move to Brazil. Moving from a dominating EMEA to an objectively weaker region was not received well by everyone. That’s why all eyes were on them in their first match against Fnatic, to finally see whether NiP’s decision bore any fruit.

To everyone’s surprise, NiP came out guns blazing and established some great momentum, which led to an early and substantial lead. Their explosive playstyle turned quite effective against the European squad.

Fnatic quickly realised they couldn’t go toe to toe with NiP’s tempo and tried to bring the match into a more controlled and tactical state, which Ninjas quickly adapted to. Fnatics attempts to regain control were consistently shut down, one by one, and ultimately NiP brought the series to a close, winning their first match with a clean 2 – 0.

This was a huge win for this Valorant esports organisation. For one, they proved the naysayers wrong by defeating one of the best EMEA teams right now. And more importantly, their managed to combine the explosive Brazilian playstyle with the tactical approach of Europe, coalescing into a completely new playstyle unique only to them.

Team Liquid is in the Playoffs

Team Liquid has proven that anything is possible in Valorant Champions Tour. Initially, they weren’t supposed to even be here as they finished 4th in the EMEA Stage 1 Challengers. However, once it was realised that FPX won’t be able to make it there due to travel issues, Team Liquid were automatically selected as the next best choice.

It’s safe to say that Liquid really took this unique opportunity and made good use of it. They’re now the first team to qualify for the Playoffs, and they’ve done it in a spectacular fashion.

Image Credits | Riot Games

Their first match was against KRÜ Esports, the top Argentinian team, and this is where Liquid secured their first 2 – 0 victory. They completely dominated KRÜ Esports on Fracture, which came as a bit of a shock for the Argentinians. No doubt, they were expecting a drastically different response from Team Liquid here.

Ascent was the next map pick and here we finally saw KRÜ Esports in their real element. After a lot of back-and-forth action, where both teams kept up with the pace of the match, Liquid finally sealed the deal by taking a win through overtime.

The Winners’ Match against XERXIA was much more difficult. The Thai team proved to be a real challenge for Team Liquid. Team Liquid took an easy 13 – 7 win on Split, but the next two matches that followed were anything but easy. XERXIA evened the score on Icebox and nearly cost Liquid the Playoff spot on Ascent. The final score was 2 – 1 for Team Liquid, and while they did earn their victory here, there was also some luck involved.

Elimination Match Predictions

Aside from the one Winners’ Match between DRX and NiP in group A, there’s also two Elimination Matches left to go. The first will be between the Japanese ZETA DIVISION and Fnatic, and the second match will be played between KRÜ Esports and OpTic, who lost 2 – 0 to XERXIA in their earlier match.

We believe Fnatic will win the first match and make their way into the Decider Match. ZETA DIVISION didn’t really show much in their match against DRX and barely had any answers to the Korean onslaught. It’s simply hard to imagine them winning here.

As far as the second match is concerned, we believe it will go to OpTic Gaming. KRÜ Esports could definitely surprise us here as they really showed to be capable of punching back in their match against Liquid. However, OpTic will be fighting like a cornered beast here and won’t allow KRÜ to kick them out of the tournament. If our prediction is true, we might see a rematch between OpTic and XERXIA, which would be a real treat for all Valorant fans.

Denis Alihodzic

Since: March 1, 2021

Freelance writer with a passion for gaming and esports. Loves a good old-school RPG, and enjoys spending time with his dogs.

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