The fifth week of VCT Americas saw blowouts between teams close in the standings and close games in matchups between the top and bottom of the standings.
Both NRG Esports NRG Esports North America Rank #3 FiNESSE Pujan Mehta s0m Sam Oh crashies Austin Roberts ethos Alan Ruan ardiis Ardis Svarenieks Victor Victor Wong and 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #1 bang Sean Bezerra Cryocells Matthew Panganiban stellar Brenden McGrath Derrek Derrek Ha Asuna Peter Mazuryk came into the fifth week chasing the leaders in the league after suffering slow starts to the season. Despite NRG having a 2-3 record compared to 100T's 3-2 record, NRG actually had the higher round win differential.
The kings of Bind returned home as NRG picked the map the very first opportunity it was available in the Americas. 100T got off to a strong start following a pistol win, and they extended their lead to 5-2 off the back of a 1v4 clutch from Cryocells followed immediately by a 1v2 from Asuna .Cold as ice.
Unfortunately for 100T, they lost the rest of the rounds in the half, and NRG easily pulled away to a 13-7 victory in the second half. Aside from the clutches, 100T got completely stymied by the core roster formerly considered the best Bind team in the world by many casters.
Fracture was much of the same besides the lack of clutches. Replicating their performance against FNATIC at LOCK//IN, 100T got a single round on their defensive half, and that sole round was just an anti-bonus round. NRG cakewalked to a 13-3 win, tying both teams at 3-3 in the standings.
After a relatively quiet start to the split, crashies was the star for NRG, putting up 37 kills in just 36 rounds. Cryocells was the only member of 100T to go positive across the series.
Another battle between 3-2 and 2-3 teams took place when FURIA FURIA Brazil Rank #3 kon4n Vitor Hugo dgzin Douglas Silva mwzera Leonardo Serrati Quick Gabriel Lima Mazin Matheus Araújo Khalil Khalil Schmidt and MIBR MIBR Brazil Rank #2 jzz João Pedro heat Olavo Marcelo murizzz Murillo Tuchtenhagen RgLMeister Matheus Rodigoli frz Leandro Gomes battled to be the second best Brazilian team behind LOUD. Despite massive wins early in the split, both teams had started to slide down the standings over their most recent games.
FURIA picked Pearl, but they immediately looked cold out of the gate. MIBR stormed out to a 4-0 lead before FURIA managed to mount any resistance on defense. After gaining a foothold, FURIA began to chip away at their deficit. MIBR desperately tried to hold on with three clutches through the rest of the half, but the lead was limited to an 8-4 score that felt a lot closer.
The inability for many teams to defend the B site against the Harbor/Viper composition was apparent here as FURIA brushed past MIBR to take the lead 13-11. A late stand from MIBR was too little too late, and Mazin hit the dagger with a 1v2 clutch to help FURIA close 13-11.
After a losing downhill battle, MIBR ran out of steam on Split. They picked the map despite having never managed more than four attacking rounds with this roster, and they only got two this time. No one on the team had more than seven kills by the half. FURIA dominated the map 13-7 by the end to secure a great position in the Americas standings.Oh no…
The first match of the day between Cloud9 Cloud9 North America Rank #2 Xeppaa Erick Bach leaf Nathan Orf Zellsis Jordan Montemurro runi Dylan Cade jakee Jake Anderson and Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #21 pANcada Bryan Luna Marved Jimmy Nguyen TenZ Tyson Ngo zekken Zachary Patrone Sacy Gustavo Rossi was over almost before it began. Sentinels came into the week with high expectations after the addition of Marved to the roster became a beacon of hope. Unfortunately, that light was soon blotted out by the gathering clouds.
SEN looked strong out of the gate after winning the pistol, second round, and bonus on Lotus. However, the winds quickly shifted and C9 unleashed a downpour upon their hapless foes. A 3K from jakee in the fourth round turned into 11 rounds in a row, and C9 continued to dominate on Lotus with a 13-4 victory.
The weather only got worse from there. SEN couldn't even put up a fight in the first half of Fracture. They surrendered the first 10 rounds, and finished down 11-1 on their attack. Despite a valiant second half effort, the differential was far too large, and C9 breezed to a 13-6 win.SEN got too condensed and C9 made them pay.
With such a dominant victory, every member of C9 finished with a far higher rating than all of SEN. An abysmal 1-11 opening duel performance by zekken kept the young star from opening up games like he did in SEN's previous matchups.
The second match of the day was far more interesting. Preseason favorites Leviatán Leviatán Latin America South Rank #1 Tacolilla Vicente Compagnon kiNgg Francisco Aravena nzr Agustin Ibarra Mazino Roberto Rivas Shyy Fabian Usnayo came into the week with a disappointing 3-2 record, but they were still highly favored over the 1-4 Evil Geniuses Evil Geniuses North America Rank #8 Boostio Kelden Pupello ScrewFace Kyle Jensen Demon1 Max Mazanov Ethan Ethan Arnold BcJ Brendan Jensen C0M Corbin Lee Apoth Vincent Le Reformed Jeffrey Lu jawgemo Alexander Mor who had only managed a win over the winless KRÜ.
LEV got off to a great start on the defensive side of Split. Even after one of their round wins was called back after an illegal boost from Tacolilla , they still cruised to an 8-4 lead. However, the tides turned along with the half. EG won their defensive pistol and kept LEV's economy on the brink by denying LEV's repetitive late A site executes. LEV's attack stagnated, and EG took the map 13-10.
LEV took the series to Pearl on which they were undefeated. Their signature coordinated retakes had solidified their position as one of the few teams that could pull off the long range retake on the B site. They took a 4-1 lead before EG started to dial in their performance.
Taking advantage of LEV's proclivity for saving, EG battled back to a 6-6 halftime score. Unfortunately for them, six rounds proved to be an inadequate bounty for an EG team that lost 21 of their last 24 defensive rounds on Pearl. Despite losing the pistol, LEV pulled away for the 13-10 victory.
Ascent, once the famed bastion of LEV's international success, seemed to favor the LATAM superteam, but they had looked increasingly vulnerable after losing three straight attempts on the map.
After EG won their defensive pistol and follow up, LEV battled back to a 2-2 score. With the momentum of the map on the line, C0M delivered a clutch against Tacolilla which EG converted into a dominant 9-3 half.EG were insurmountable on Ascent.
With the defensive nature of Ascent, LEV weren't out of the running. They won all of the next seven rounds besides their bonus to close the gap to a single round. But their momentum sputtered out there as EG finished the upset 13-10.
New addition Demon1 continued to impress for EG, putting up a match leading 56 kills. The win kept EG in the running for a playoff slot while putting a dagger in LEV's hopes of a top-two seed.
The final match of the week was not supposed to be this climatic. A matchup between the currently undefeated back-to-back international finalists LOUD LOUD Brazil Rank #1 aspas Erick Santos saadhak Matias Delipetro Less Felipe de Loyola tuyz Arthur Andrade cauanzin Cauan Pereira and the winless KRÜ Esports KRÜ Esports Latin America South Rank #2 keznit Angelo Mori NagZ Juan Pablo Lopez Klaus Nicolas Ferrari Melser Marco Eliot Machuca Amaro DaveeyS Santiago Galvis Ruiz axeddy Carlos Alberto experimenting with lineups was supposed to be a stomp. Instead it was the closest match all week.
LOUD looked comfortable on the attacking half of Pearl. A combined 30 kills and a perfect 7-0 first blood record between Less and aspas made it feel like the reigning world champions were going to cruise to an easy victory.
KRÜ managed to secure four rounds in the half, and it proved to be enough against a LOUD defense that did not replicate their 12-0 performance against EG in the previous week. KRÜ won the pistol, and ended the map in dominant fashion by stringing together seven rounds in a row for the 13-10 score. KRÜ threw their sixth man axeddy into the lineup and he delivered with the highest rating in the map.
After suffering map losses to MIBR, C9, SEN, and EG, LOUD were no strangers to adversity. KRÜ picked Ascent despite it being the map LOUD were considered the best in the world on in 2022, and they immediately showed why.
LOUD's stars struggled to get off the ground against KRÜ's Ascent defense. LOUD still managed to salvage four rounds in the half, and they almost got a fifth if it wasn't for NagZ pulling off a clutch against Less in the final round.
Despite winning the pistol, LOUD's defensive anchorings were uprooted early in the second half. Down 11-7, the Brazilians finally found their rhythm and began to rattle off rounds toward the comeback. In a bizarre play, one of KRÜ's last chances to stave off disaster came when they abandoned the spike towards A while looking to pivot into an open B site. They took the site, but Melser lurked and died mid instead of grabbing the spike with his Omen ultimate, and LOUD pounced on mistakes to take the map 13-11.
LOUD continued their six-round win streak on Ascent and won their first seven rounds on Split. With their backs against the wall, KRÜ upped their game. They finally dealt with LOUD's double duelist aggression to take four rounds in the half.The most dominant player in the Americas continued his reign.
KRÜ kept up the pressure in the second half, and won several dynamic attacking rounds to tie the game at nine rounds apiece. LOUD finally put their foot down to win 13-10, but for the fourth time in six games, they were given a scare by a team at the bottom of the standings.
Despite a paltry 9-34 combined K-D from saadhak and tuyz on Pearl, LOUD as a team eventually outfragged KRÜ.