OpTic Gaming are the first North American team to secure a spot at VCT Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen in July.
The team took down a hopeful XSET team 3-1 in the upper bracket final in the VCT NA Stage 2 Challengers playoffs, booking their ticket straight to Denmark.
The result was all the more impressive because several team members had been battling COVID-19, including in-game leader Pujan “FNS” Mehta and Austin “crashies” Roberts.
Star player Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker also thought that he might have caught the coronavirus, but the team persevered and still took the series decisively.
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OpTic Gaming defy COVID-19 to defeat XSET
OpTic at first looked like they might be in trouble this series, losing their first map pick of Haven 13-7.
However, the team’s experience and composure was on full display. They did not waver during the next three maps, taking Icebox, Ascent, and Breeze to close out the match.
Yay, in particular, showed why he is probably the world’s best player on Chamber. The 23-year-old was phenomenal on Icebox, topping the server that map with an eye-watering 34 kills, including an ace in Round 2. His next teammate, Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen, had half that number at just 17 kills.
XSET hit back on Ascent, where things looked dangerous for OpTic after the first half. FNS and his men started off slow with a lackluster 3-9 attacking half, but they dug deep in the second half with an impeccable defense that netted them 10 rounds.
The final map, Breeze, was a lopsided result in OpTic’s favor. The reigning Masters Reykjavik 2022 champions took the map 13-6, with Victor “Victor” Wong on Jett. Despite heroics from XSET’s Matthew “Cryocells” Panganiban on the Operator, XSET were not able to hold back The Green Wall.
OpTic showed stunning resilience in the best-of-five series, playing through the symptoms of COVID-19. “COVID was hitting our guys hard,” yay said on Twitter after the match. “FNS was saying shit like ‘I can’t breathe’ mid round. Actually insane he and crashies were able to still perform.”
OpTic are clearly still the team to beat in North America — they will be looking to defend their championship title in Copenhagen next month and have already secured a spot at Valorant Champions in September.
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