Day four of Valorant Champions had teams fighting for their stay in the competition. ZETA DIVISION ZETA DIVISION Japan Rank #1 are set to face LOUD LOUD Brazil Rank #1 in the decider match for their group after they sent the first team, BOOM Esports BOOM Esports Asia-Pacific Rank #3 , on their way home.
The first series of the day was between a pair of Asian underdogs: BOOM Esports and ZETA DIVISION. It started on BOOM's map pick, which was Haven. ZETA hinted they had new strategies planned out for the map, as SugarZ3ro picked Omen instead of his usual smoker, Astra.
The first pistol round went BOOM's way, but their challengers built an early lead by winning the following five rounds. The APAC team called a timeout once down 5-1, followed by a longer tech pause which wound up breaking ZETA's momentum. BOOM took advantage of said break and managed to keep the Japanese team from extending their lead for the remainder of the half, which eventually ended 8-4 in ZETA's favor.Beware of Laz 's scope - it's unlikely you'll survive it.
The Indonesian team tried to catch up on the defender side, but victory slowly became increasingly out of their reach as their opponents inched closer to the finish line. In a desperate attempt to stop ZETA from finishing the map, BOOM called a timeout while down 11-6 and promptly won the next round. The Japanese team called for their own pair of timeouts in each of the following two rounds to come up with a final plan to finish the map.
But the timeouts helped their enemies instead as BOOM put together round after round en route to evening out the score 11-11. BOOM then finished the comeback with a seventh consecutive round to win the map 13-11.blaZek1ng closed the distance with a 3K for his team.
ZETA picked Pearl for the next map, marking the first time either team would play the map in a tournament. The map started the same as Haven with BOOM taking the pistol — making it three out of three pistol rounds they had won to this point — and ZETA rebounding to build an early lead. In an attempt to stop the momentum a little earlier this time, BOOM called a timeout while down 4-1. The result remained the same as Haven with the scoreboard at 8-4 in ZETA's favor before the side swap.
The Indonesian team made yet another pistol round theirs on the attacker side and started turning the tides with a better understanding of the Japanese squad. Both teams went toe-to-toe towards the finish line, but in the end ZETA closed out the map 13-11 thanks to an ace from Laz.No better way to end a map.
After back-to-back 13-11 maps, the series was set to end on Fracture, where both teams mirrored each other in agent picks. The pistol round went in favor of BOOM once again, but Fracture started slightly differently than Haven and Pearl had. This time, BOOM was able to convert their pistol win into another round, but ZETA then responded as they had in the other maps and built their usual lead. Their enemies tried to hit the breaks early with a timeout at 4-2 — but the pause served BOOM no use.Laz clutches the round despite the odds against him.
The Japanese squad's momentum was unabated, which resulted in BOOM burning their second timeout in the first half. Although the Indonesian squad was down 7-2, they had faced the same deficit on Haven just before making a comeback that won them the map.
Neither timeout from the APAC side stopped ZETA's momentum as they strung together 10 rounds in a row before halftime rang in. The second half was only the beginning of the end — BOOM failed to win any more rounds, regardless of what they tried. ZETA ended the map and the match with their 13th consecutive round to take Fracture 13-2 and the series 2-1.
“We didn't do anything particularly special. All we did is, as usual, look back at our mistakes [from the LOUD match] and we tried to fix it and tried to prepare for this opponent,” Sugarz3ro explained during his post-match broadcast interview. “We never give up during our matches, we always are planning to win and once we get the momentum back we are able to win the matches. So I'm really happy that we could get on the roll.”
The second series of the day was to be another elimination match, this one between EMEA's Team Liquid and China's international newcomers, EDward Gaming. The match started off with an early surprise on Bind when Team Liquid put Jamppi on Sage -— an agent he had never played at an event before now — instead of his usual Chamber pick.
EDward Gaming started off their map pick on the attacking side with a flashy 4K from ZmjjKK . But the EMEA squad didn't waste a second to trade blows with their opponents. The early rivalry forced the Chinese team into a timeout only five rounds in while Liquid led 3-2.The first round was a fiery start to the map.
Said timeout helped EDG come up with some insane plays, such as a clutch from CHICHOO utilizing an Astra pull and an ace from ZmjjKK. Their heroics led to the European team calling a timeout for themselves in an effort to regain control of the match. They managed to regain their composure and carried on a four-point lead by the time the side swap arrived.ZmjjKK shines with an ace.
EDward Gaming's default plays weren't enough to rattle their opponents, who eventually built a strong lead at 10-4. No matter what plan the Chinese team came up with, Liquid did a great job anti-stratting their enemies. Even another timeout at round 17 didn't break the momentum, and the match ultimately ended up a 13-5 affair in favor of the EMEA squad.
Team Liquid revealed yet another surprise when the teams went to the agent select screen for Breeze. They put ScreaM on Phoenix, even though his latest plays on Jett were incredible. He picked Phoenix on Ascent when Team Liquid played against Leviatán earlier in the tournament; XERXIA is the only other team to have picked Phoenix during Champions, having played the agent on Fracture.
“I think since the update Phoenix had a pretty big buff. I feel like people don't recognise it as they should. Today, I didn't have my best game with Phoenix, but still I really enjoy this agent — I think it's a really good duelist to play,” ScreaM said when asked about the unexpected pick. “I don't play Operator, so it's good for me as well. And yeah, it's a comfortable pick basically.”
The second map started off close once again. EDward Gaming began their attack by winning the pistol round and the round that followed, but Liquid swiftly caught up. Both teams traded rounds in a fierce head-to-head throughout the first half, even after the Chinese side attempted to put the momentum in their favor with a timeout.Liquid's swift wins left EDG looking uncoordinated.
The back and forth ended up 7-5 for Team Liquid by the time the teams entered halftime. EDward Gaming kicked off the second half by winning the pistol, setting the stage for a nailbiter of a map. Nivera replied to said round with a 3K thrifty to keep his team ahead of their opponents. A showdown for the lead ensued and the Chinese team eventually managed to claw their way to a 12-10 lead.An impossible shot won EDward Gaming the round.
Liquid refused to simply give up their map pick and came up with a final plan after they called a timeout while down 12-11. The European squad successfully forced the map into overtime and snatched the win 14-12, winning the series 2-0 and securing their stay at Champions.
ScreaM assured they have more to prove: “I think the first game [versus Leviatán] we played really bad, that was not our level. Also losing all the pistols, losing all the bonus rounds, the momentum wasn't there,” ScreaM said after the match. “So getting this win today feels very good, the boys are very happy and I am very proud. So yeah, we're gonna try to qualify for playoffs.”
Tomorrow's games will eliminate two more teams from the tournament, and will end off with the final winner's match of the group stage.
The following matches are: