The second day of Masters: Berlin saw all three matches end in 2-0 victories for the favorites.
Vision Strikers Vision Strikers Korea Rank #1 started the day with a 2-0 victory over Paper Rex Paper Rex Asia-Pacific Rank #5 . Then Gambit Esports Gambit Esports Europe Rank #1 crushed Crazy Raccoon Crazy Raccoon Asia-Pacific Rank #4 in a 2-0 of their own. Envy Envy North America Rank #3 ended the day by surviving an electric Vivo Keyd Vivo Keyd Brazil Rank #1 squad.
The difference between each match was how close the individual maps were. Vision Strikers and Envy were pushed to the brink by their opponents. Gambit were able to sit back and relax on stage.Gambit has already made themselves comfortable on Berlin's stage.
Paper Rex entered their match against Vision Strikers with the weight of a region on their shoulders following the failure of Bren Esports, now Team Secret Team Secret Asia-Pacific Rank #1 , to make it to Berlin because of issues securing visas.
They played the titans of Korea closely in the first map, but victory remained just too far out of their grasp. Vision Strikers won Haven 13-9.
But the entirety of the SEA region finally charged up their combined energy enough to grant Paper Rex, and more specifically Paper Rex's star Jett player "f0rsaken" , to give the team a power boost heading into Icebox. The squad jumped ahead to a 6-0 lead on their attack.
Vision Strikers, however, clawed their way back into the map and eventually tied the score at 9-9 after six straight rounds wins to start the second half.
"We actually scrim a lot in our region with Paper Rex, and we realized after playing a lot of Icebox with them that they actually copy a lot of our comps and strategies when we play," Vision Strikers' in-game leader Kim "stax" Gu-taek said in the broadcast interview. "So as the team to actually develop those strategies, it was very easy for us to counter them during our attack."
Despite a strong 307 ACS performance for f0rsakeN on that map, Paper Rex were unable to respond to Vision Strikers' counterplay. Vision Strikers took the map 13-11 to close the first match of the day.
"We actually expected a little bit of an easier win, but I think Paper Rex prepared well," stax said on broadcast. "So I guess that's why we struggled a little bit."Vision Strikers ripped Paper Rex apart on the second half of Icebox.
The next match's excitement came in a very different way: in the form of Gambit's dominance.
Gambit won as many maps in the match as Crazy Raccoon won rounds. Gambit secured back-to-back 13-1 victories on Bind and Icebox to quickly advance one step closer to the playoffs phase.
The team's performance was as stunning as the match was quick. More than half of the shots Igor "Redgar" Vlasov hit in the match were headshots and the entirety of Gambit finished the match with a higher ACS than the entirety of Crazy Raccoon.Nikita "d3ffo" Sudakov doesn't need more than a pixel to land a shot.
"Some of our team members have no LAN experience, let alone international experience," CR's Park "Bazzi" Jun-ki (박준기) said after noting he and teammate Byeon "Munchkin" Sang-beom (변상범) have plenty of offline experience from their Overwatch days. "So, I think maybe the nerves got to them a little bit."
"I didn't think we'd start [the tournament] like that, but it is what it is," Gambit's Igor "Redgar" Vlasov said in the post-match broadcast interview with a shrug accompanying the last part of his sentence.
Take a rest, Ayaz "nAts" Akhmetshin, you've earned it. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
The final match of the day, however, was far closer than the last — and was even closer than the first.
Vivo Keyd jumped ahead to a 7-1 lead with their attack on the first map, Icebox, propelled by the twin firepower of Murillo "murizzz" Tuchtenhagen's Reyna and Olavo "heat" Marcelo's Jett. But then Austin "crashies" Roberts clutched out a round at 5 HP, securing his third, fourth, and fifth kills of the round while doing so. Afterwards, the broadcast asked, "Is this the turning point?"
It was.While the situation was never more than a 1v2, crashies killed three different players during the clutch thanks to the Sage resurrection.
Envy steadily brought the map back into contention after that play, forcing it into overtime by the end of the second half. After a short back-and-forth, Envy secured Icebox 15-13.
Envy got their turn at a strong start on Bind and went up 6-0 to begin their map pick. But that's when heat began his heroics. He strung together multi-kill after multi-kill to give Vivo Keyd a fighting chance, but in the end was unable to surmount Envy's strong play. The map finished 13-9.
There were 41 kills secured with the Operator across the board in the match, 22 for Envy's Jaccob "yay" Whiteaker and 19 for heat. heat held the edge in the pair's 1v1 with seven kills to five yay's five.
It felt like heat won everything but the match itself at day's end. He led the server in kills and damage, and finished +11 on first kills to first deaths. Despite the defeat, he and his Vivo Keyd teammates looked strong.
"We're still really confident and proud of our game," murizzz said after the match. "We came to play our game and be bold and we were able to do that despite our defeat. I think our mistakes were clear to us, what we did wrong. I think it'll be easy to wrap it up next time and leave with a win."
At one point during the match, the broadcast desk mentioned Vivo Keyd was the loudest team on stage yet. That's because, murizzz said, even though the team's main objective is to reach the playoffs, they also have a secondary objective in mind.
"No team is going to have more energy than us," he said. "We're always going to be the team that has the most fun on stage, be it 10-0 in favor of them or not. That was our first objective and we got that. Now we just have to maintain it, which is something we bring from Brazil, and no one will have more energy than us.”
All but one of the opening round games for the bracketed groups has been played, and five of the six teams that played today will be able to get some rest before they play their next match.
Vision Strikers next take on Acend Acend Europe Rank #2 in the winner's game of Group A, while Paper Rex will have to take on SuperMassive Blaze SuperMassive Blaze Europe Rank #7 in the group's elimination match.
Envy and Vivo Keyd will have to await the results of Group B's other opening round match, KRÜ Esports KRÜ Esports Latin America South Rank #1 vs. ZETA DIVISION ZETA DIVISION Asia-Pacific Rank #3 , to know their next opponents.
Gambit will have to take on 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #2 in the Group C winner's match. Crazy Raccoon will have to fight for survival against Havan Liberty Havan Liberty Brazil Rank #3 .
Tomorrow's matches are:
- Group B opening: KRÜ Esports KRÜ Esports Latin America South Rank #1 vs. ZETA DIVISION ZETA DIVISION Asia-Pacific Rank #3
- Group D double round-robin: Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #1 vs. G2 Esports G2 Esports Europe Rank #5
- Group C winner's: Gambit Esports Gambit Esports Europe Rank #1 vs. 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #2
No team will have to face an elimination match tomorrow. Those begin on Monday.