It’s official: Fnatic are the lower bracket kings of the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 2 Masters in Reykjavík, Iceland.
After they were defeated by Sentinels in the Upper Bracket Quarterfinal on Day 2 of the competition, the European squad made a miracle run.
Since then, the second seed European team went on to defeat Southeast Asian representatives X10 Esports and North American squad Version1.
The European team then rallied on Day 6, defeating their regional rival, Team Liquid. Then, they sent home Korean squad NUTURN Gaming in an impressive showing during the Lower Bracket Final.
Fnatic get their revenge on Team Liquid in the Lower Bracket Semifinal
Leading up to VCT Stage 2 Masters, Fnatic lost to Team Liquid in the Grand Final of the EMEA regional qualifiers. However on Day 6 of the competition, they were able to avenge their loss by taking a clean 2-0 victory against their regional rival.
Going into the tournament, Fnatic team captain Jake “Boaster” Howlett shared during the post-game press conference that their motto throughout the event has been, “first team in, last team out,” referencing that they were the first team to play in the tournament and want to be the last team to leave it.
In Game 1 on Bind, Domagoj “Doma” Fancev and Boaster came up big for Fnatic, helping to clutch a close 13-10 victory, halting Team Liquid’s comeback attempt.
While Team Liquid showcased incredible performances from Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom and Travis “L1NK” Mendoza, Fnatic had the edge when it came to team coordination and set plays.
Martin “Magnum” Peňkov also displayed his best performance of the tournament in the final map, earning MVP honors on Ascent with a 26/16/8 KDA and a 326 ACS on Cypher.
Fnatic eliminate Korean team NUTURN Gaming
The top European squad then faced a reinvigorated team in NUTURN Gaming in the Lower Bracket Final.
The Korean squad put together a better performance overall, compared to their last match against Sentinels. After Fnatic won the first game on Bind, NUTURN Gaming answered back with a convincing 13-8 win on Ascent.
NUTURN Gaming had gained a reputation in the tournament for being the comeback kings, as they consistently lost their opening matches.
However, the turning point of the series was when Fnatic finally won a pistol round near halftime on Haven. Fnatic had always struggled in halftime pistol rounds, but Boaster’s C-site defense with Astra prevented NUTURN Gaming from gaining any momentum to make their comeback.
The daunting task of defeating Sentinels in the Grand Final
If Fnatic hopes to win the first-ever international Valorant tournament, they’ll need to find an answer against North American juggernaut, Sentinels.
Sentinels have yet to lose a single map in the tournament. Not only are they undefeated, but they’ve also dominated their opponents on their way to the Grand Final. The lone silver lining is that Fnatic is the only team that has managed to keep it close against Sentinels.
Fnatic and Sentinels previously met in the Upper Bracket Semifinals, with the North American squad winning two close games on Icebox and Haven, 13-11 and 13-10 respectively.
In Fnatic’s post-game interview after eliminating NUTURN Gaming, the Europeans believed that they’re the team with the best chance of defeating Sentinels.
“I’m looking forward to playing them again. This time, we’ll have some sort of insight into how they play and we’re not going into it blind. Also, we have some LAN stage experience now. So, we’re going to come in and we’re going to give it our all. Sentinels better watch out,” said Boaster.
James “Mistic” Orfila even went so far as to call Sentinels ‘copycats’ for using the same agent composition on Bind, after expressing his belief that Fnatic is the best team on said map.
Fnatic will face Sentinels in the Grand Final of the VCT Stage 2 Masters in Reykjavík, Iceland on May 31 at 1:00 a.m. GMT+8.