Several teams that found success over the last year of NA Valorant suffered losses in week two of VCT NA: Stage 2.
Friday, May 20
LG got off to a hot start on Fracture with a 5-1 lead, however, FaZe slowly clawed back to an 11-10 advantage. The final two rounds were finally recovered by LG to take the first map 13-11.
The second map was even closer than the first. It was FaZe's turn to take an early 5-1 lead on their map pick of Icebox, and both teams traded streaks of round wins to bring the game down to the wire. This time, FaZe won the final round of regulation to force overtime, but LG managed to close out the series.
mada came alive with 29 kills in the second map to be the difference maker. It was an unusually balanced performance from both teams without a single player scoring higher than 0.8 kills per round. For reference, every single match in week one had at least one player above that line.
LG are now 2-0 and will face EG in week three to guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs. FaZe dropped to 0-2 and will have to turn their stage around if they hope to qualify.Fluid movement like this goes a long way in a closely fought game of inches.
Friday closed with a wild Ghost Gaming Ghost Gaming North America Rank #19 upset over The Guard The Guard North America Rank # . After suffering a week one loss, the defending NA champions continued their slide against the underdogs in black and white.
Ghost made a statement with a map one Haven win in which The Guard only managed a single round. Stage 1 superstar Sayaplayer was held to a measly four kills.
The statement was returned during The Guard's 9-0 start on Ascent. Ghost scraped together two rounds in the half and started the second half with a 6-0 run of their own, but it was too little too late.
Fans expecting a contentious final map were disappointed. Ghost got out to yet another fast start with a 7-1 lead on the attacking side of Fracture. The Guard managed to string together a couple rounds to stave off the blowout but were ultimately defeated 13-8.
Ghost are now 1-1 and have kept their playoff hopes alive. The Guard sit at 0-2 and are in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs just two months after winning Stage 1.
koalanoob and the rest of Ghost punished the Guard with their aggression.
Saturday, May 21
Similarly to the two matchups between these two teams in the open qualifiers, 100T picked Split as the first map. Unlike the first two maps of Split, TSM finally won it. Subroza and gMd put up 15 kills apiece on TSM's defense to take an 8-4 lead, and they fended off a comeback attempt to win 13-10.
With momentum on their side, TSM roared out to a 9-2 lead on Haven. That advantage was quickly converted into a 13-6 victory.
Aside from a 38 kill performance from Derrek , 100T struggled to find any answers against the team that has handed this iteration of the roster their only three VCT losses. Both teams have moved to 1-1 heading into week three.Great utility combinations like this weren't enough for 100T to hold back TSM.
Ascent was a streaky back and forth battle that ended in a 13-11 EG win. Despite the close game, the hero moments went almost exclusively to EG and their impressive five 4ks.
The round distribution of the first half of Icebox played out identically to Ascent. EG won the first two rounds, Sentinels won five in a row, and EG closed the half with four out of the last five rounds. A 13-10 victory gave EG the match win.
Sentinels fall to 0-2 with Masters Reykjavik winners OpTic on the docket for next week. EG sit at 1-1 and will face LG.You aren't safe to plant behind a wall as long as Reformed has a wall of his own.
Sunday, May 22
The final day of competition kicked off with a battle of North America's finest. Cloud9 Cloud9 North America Rank #4 swapped out a player after last week, but their revamped lineup fell just short of taking down OpTic Gaming OpTic Gaming North America Rank # .
Cloud9 picked Icebox and immediately put the defending international champions to the test. They won two rounds after every OpTic round in the first half and took a flawless second half to a 13-4 victory.
Uncowed by the pressure, OpTic picked Yoru on Ascent and took a 9-3 lead on their attack. They closed the map 13-5 to force a deciding map three.
Cloud9 won the first four rounds, but OpTic clawed back a 6-6 half. Another 4-0 start on the second half gave Cloud9 their final rounds of the match. OpTic won the final seven straight to maintain their undefeated record in this stage.
OpTic are tied for first place in group B with LG at 2-0 while Cloud9 fall to 1-1.
NRG picked Bind first and traded rounds evenly on their attack. Once XSET started on their own attacking half, they strung together multiple successful site executions to close the map 13-8. In-game leader dephh led the server with 20 kills.
XSET continued their attacking dominance on Split. Despite the map heavily favoring the defenders, they won six rounds in a row to take a 7-5 lead at the half. NRG won the second pistol round, but their final push was rebuffed by a stalwart XSET defense.
Every member of XSET finished with exactly one more first blood than first death over the match and are now the sole undefeated team in group A. NRG will battle Ghost in week three to help break a four way 1-1 tie.
Week three of the group stage kicks off on May 27.