The third day of Valorant Champions saw OpTic Gaming OpTic Gaming North America Rank #1 become the second team to confirm a spot in playoffs, following a 2-1 victory over their rival LOUD LOUD Brazil Rank #1 .
Before that, group D played both their opening matches. DRX DRX Korea Rank #1 defeated FURIA FURIA Brazil Rank #3 after an incredible comeback on the first map. On the other side, 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #3 proved their worth by taking down FNATIC FNATIC Europe Rank #2 in a 2-1.
(Photo: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
After missing out on both Masters events in 2022, FURIA FURIA Brazil Rank #3 made their return to the international stage, having attended Champions in 2021 previously. Since then, the FURIA roster has been largely unchanged, and they would test their metal against a veteran DRX DRX Korea Rank #1 squad. DRX have always been a feared opponent in the group stage, and they are on home turf in opening matches like these.
FURIA got the ball rolling on Ascent, opening with a 5-0 lead and prompting a DRX timeout. Even after this, FURIA continued to shut the Koreans' offenses down, and it took DRX until round nine to finally get on the board. They would pick up two more rounds, but FURIA still held a strong 9-3 lead come halftime.
Two rounds from FURIA in the second half got the Brazilians up to a tally of 11. DRX managed to win their bonus, but the subsequent round got FURIA to map point. However, DRX wouldn't go out with a whimper, and they shut down six match points in a row. At a scoreline of 12-10, FURIA used their final timeout, but DRX could not be stopped, and they pulled the game to overtime.
FURIA finally managed to break their opponent's streak in round 25, taking the first map point of overtime. However, a quick flash and dash play in mid allowed BuZz to pick up a 4K in the following round, tying the score back up at 13 apiece. DRX got their first map point in round 27, but FURIA responded in kind and tied the map back up.
Round 29 saw DRX overwhelm the B site to take another map point. FURIA attempted a similar B-site execute, but they were halted at the door, and DRX finally wrapped up their monumental comeback. From a 12-4 deficit, the Koreans held their nerve and took the first map in a 16-14 overtime.
“I think midway through the map, you could see we were ready to give up,” stax said afterwards. “We were ready to move on to map two and three and then take those maps. But I think maybe that mentality change is what pushed us over and allowed us to win without feeling burdened by the pressure.”Down 12-4? No problem, Rb 's got you covered for OT.
A revitalized DRX opened with a fury on their own Haven pick, taking the first five rounds on the trot. With a thrifty in round six, FURIA got their first round on the board, but two more rounds from DRX got the Koreans to a 7-1 lead. FURIA had a small resurgence and took three rounds in a row, but the final round went DRX's way, putting the halftime score at 8-4.
A crucial pistol round allowed DRX to take double digits. They even managed to win their bonus round, prompting a FURIA timeout at 11-4. However, DRX took a flawless round to put themselves on match point, which meant the Brazilians were tasked with mounting a comeback of similar proportions to their opponent's on the previous map. It was not to be, and DRX wrapped up the series with a 13-4 win.Rb makes regular frags look like eco frags.
With this result, DRX maintain their record of being the most successful team in opening matches: Across five international tournaments, they've never dropped a single map in their first group stage match, although FURIA made them work for it on Ascent. While DRX advance to the winners match, FURIA face elimination in the lower bracket, and they turned their attention to the next match to see who they would battle against down there.
“[The lower bracket] is not something we're not used to,” Mazin said. “We're experienced with it, like in LCQ, where we managed to qualify. I believe the whole team has the ability to reset very well, so we're aiming to bring the best game that we can to the next match.”
In a classic tale of NA versus EMEA, the powerhouse of FNATIC FNATIC Europe Rank #2 matched up against the reformed 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #3 . FNATIC has flirted with the top step in VCT on several occasions, and they would be a challenging opponent for 100 Thieves to get their first-match jitters out. Additionally, 100 Thieves were playing from an isolated LAN facility, meaning FNATIC were the only team playing this opening match on the event stage.
The match started on Pearl, the latest map to join Valorant's competitive rotation. 100 Thieves drew first blood and took the first two rounds. FNATIC picked up the bonus, but another two rounds got the North Americans up to 4-1. After a timeout, FNATIC found more success and tied the map up with three rounds in a row. Two rounds each in the tail end of the half established a 6-6 deadlock at halftime.
100 Thieves took the pistol to gain a two-round lead, and the teams continued to trade blows. FNATIC took two rounds, which 100 Thieves responded to with three rounds in a row. FNATIC got within one by winning two more rounds, but 100 Thieves dealt them a coup de grâce, and a final pair of rounds wrapped up a 13-10 victory for the North Americans.I don't think that's how you're supposed to use that gun…
Bind was 100 Thieves' map pick, but their opponents got off to a flying start. FNATIC took the first two rounds, and after giving up the bonus, found four more rounds in a row to take an early 6-1 lead. A timeout helped 100 Thieves get their second round, but they still struggled to breach the FNATIC defense. With the final two rounds of the half, 100 Thieves recovered slightly to put the scoreline at 8-4.
FNATIC extended their lead in the first two rounds of the second half. 100 Thieves kept pace with their opponents throughout the half, but matching FNATIC's blows would not be enough to erase their deficit. FNATIC achieved map point in round 19, and despite a 100T timeout, they closed out a 13-7 in the following round.Will leveled up in Istanbul, putting up his best stats since May.
Derrek kicked off the deciding Haven map with an ace on the pistol round, allowing his team to take the first three rounds. An early FNATIC timeout yielded them no initial results, as 100T extended their lead to 5-0. In round six, FNATIC started mounting a response, and five rounds in a row tied the game right back up. A round each meant the teams would be even again at halftime.
100T took the pistol in the second half, and they made a breakaway off the back of a successful bonus round. FNATIC managed to stop the bleeding and get on the board after a round 16 timeout, but it proved to be the only remaining round FNATIC would win, as 100T stampeded to a 13-7 victory.Who says you can't be creative with Chamber's TP's?
Taking down a top four team from Copenhagen and one of EMEA's top dogs sends a statement to the rest of the field that 100 Thieves are a real force at Champions.
“[This result] gives us a lot of confidence,” Will said. “Fnatic is a really tough opponent to play against, I have a lot of respect for everyone on that team, they're really talented and good at their roles. I think what this means for us is that we're able to punch back at any team. As long as we are communicating and doing all of our fundamentals, we can make up for the lack of practice with work ethic.”
Generally, Will is not 100T's star player who puts up big numbers, but that is exactly what he did today, clocking in 300 ACS and 178 ADR across the series. On the other side, Alfajer was not far behind him, leading the charge for his team with 278 ACS.
“I think that's all you could want from your duelist player,” Boaster said. “He played well, he had some really big rounds, big clutches as well. Just disappointing to be losing when a player is playing like that. I think he'd love to perform in front of his home crowd. We've got two games and we need these two wins in order to do it, so that's what we're going to focus on, and hopefully we do it.”
A winners bracket match between LOUD LOUD Brazil Rank #1 and OpTic Gaming OpTic Gaming North America Rank #1 closed out the day, and these two top teams entered the match already with a storied history together. The fated matchup had gone OpTic's way twice before, including the grand final of Masters Reykjavik. Now in the fourth installment of the Green Derby, a playoff spot at Champions was on the line.
“When you keep on playing a team, you get a really good understanding of what they do, how the players play and what decisions they make,” yay said. “It becomes more of a mind game at that point.”
LOUD opened the scoring on Breeze by winning the first two rounds. OpTic picked up the bonus round, but LOUD quickly started mopping up rounds. In a comprehensive beatdown, LOUD picked up all remaining nine rounds and put up a nearly insurmountable 11-1 lead at halftime.
A critical pistol round went OpTic's way to keep themselves in the map. They managed to extend this into a four-round streak, prompting a LOUD timeout at 11-5. OpTic started to put on the pressure with two more rounds, but LOUD managed to recoup in round 19 and get to match point. With a win in the following round, LOUD finally wrapped up their map pick at 13-7.Even with three players, LOUD were easily able to wipe out OpTic on the retake.
Two vastly different agent compositions clashed on Fracture, with Chamber being the only common denominator. Two frags from yay's Chamber facilitated a pistol round win and allowed OpTic to take the first two rounds. LOUD rebounded with force, taking the next five rounds on the trot. Unlike Breeze, OpTic didn't crack in the face of a loss streak, and they managed to tie the game back up at five apiece. Both teams picked up one more round, which set the halftime score at 6-6.
LOUD took the lead with the first two rounds of the second half, before OpTic took the bonus. Another two rounds got the Brazilians to double digits and put OpTic's economy in dire straits. However, off the back of a thrifty, OpTic found three rounds back to tie the score at 10-10. With another two rounds, OpTic got to match point, and a crucial 2K in round 23 from crashies shut down any chance LOUD had of winning the map. With OpTic taking Fracture 13-10, the series would be decided on Pearl.In a 2v4, ‘yay kill everyone' is often your best available strategy.
LOUD drew first blood on map three with the opening two rounds, but OpTic took the early lead by winning the next five rounds. A third LOUD win in round eight was just a blip, and OpTic cruised further into the lead by winning the next four rounds, finishing the half with a 9-3 lead.
OpTic further stamped their authority on Pearl by winning the pistol round of the second half. With such a big deficit, LOUD were forced to buy up, but didn't manage to convert. Armed with just odds and ends, LOUD could do nothing to regain their footing, and OpTic won the last two remaining rounds to close out a runaway 13-3.
“Throughout our bootcamp, we thought we understood [Pearl],” LOUD's coach bzkA said post-match. “Maybe we still do. We had the same composition as OpTic without ever seeing them play. I think we are on the same page about how the map should work, but there were so many details that we missed in this match. We had a few important rounds that we lost, so many little situations that cost us the game.”Marved shut down LOUD's final hope of coming back on Pearl.
Having bested their rival once again, OpTic became the second team to secure a spot in the playoffs, and they would be cheered on by the Turkish fans in the Volkswagen Arena.
“To me it's just crazy that you get to go out and have people watch you play your passion,” yay said. “I never thought when I was younger I'd be sitting in front of a computer with thousands of awesome spectators all around me, especially ones that want to see me succeed. It's a surreal feeling, and I can't wait to see all the fans in Turkey, it's going to be incredible.”
Six teams will grace the Champions stage tomorrow as group play rages on. Group D kicks off with its first two matches, while DRX and 100 Thieves will duke it out for the third playoff spot.
Tomorrow's matches are: