The Valorant meta may be shifting in Stage 2, with teams experimenting with new and more novel agent compositions.
Against DAMWON Gaming in the VCT Korea Stage 2 group stage, DRX pulled out an eye-opening zero duelist composition on Ascent. DAMWON did the same as well, raising the question of whether the pro Valorant meta could be shifting toward viable zero duelist compositions on more maps.
DRX are the undisputed kings of Korea and were considered one of the best teams at VCT Stage 1 Masters Reykjavik. Despite their 5th to 6th placing in Iceland, they had garnered notice for their impeccable team play, raw mechanical skill, and stellar utility usage.
The team is currently undefeated in VCT Korea Stage 2 Challengers, with 2-0 victories over both On Sla2ers and DAMWON in their opening week.
DRX run triple initiator, zero duelist composition on Ascent
The zero duelist composition on Ascent first gained notoriety because of 100 Thieves. The team picked no duelist agents at all against The Guard during the VCT NA Stage 1 group stage and proceeded to lose 0-13.
At the time, the lack of duelists was thought to be a mistake, because the team struggled to find opening picks and break through their opponents’ defense.
As it turns out, it may just depend on utilizing the abilities of initiators to take space and open up additional avenues of attack.
VOD reviewer Thinking Man’s Valorant broke down DRX’s game plan on Ascent in a new video, showing exactly how the Korean team was able to take the map 13-6 despite starting out on attack.
It all came down to DRX’s default setup, which involved prioritizing Mid control and maintaining presence across the map. For example, the constant pressure on Mid meant that DAMWON were not able to rule out a B hit, allowing the rest of DRX to get in place for an A execute from Short and A Main.
Kim “stax” Gu-taek on Fade also used Prowler to pressure B Main and clear out aggressive angles, further delaying any early rotation off B site.
On Round 4, DAMWON’s Park “exy” Geun-cheol shut down DRX’s A site execute with a well-timed Paranoia flash on Omen, taking down two players pushing from short.
Left in a 3v3 situation, the VCT Korea Stage 1 champions were still able to turn things around because of Yu “BuZz” Byung-chul at B Main.
He destroyed DAMWON’s Chamber Trademark trap at B and crept onto B site. The site was entirely clear, because DAMWON had already rotated players off site to A and Mid Market. With no information on where BuZz had gone, DAMWON now had to worry about BuZz flanking from defender’s spawn.
Stax used Fade’s Nightfall ultimate to create a diversion on A site, buying time for Kim “Zest” Gi-seok to rotate to B with the spike. Zest then deployed Sova’s Owl Drone to clear Market, confirming Kim “t3xture” Na-ra’s position and allowing BuZz to push to Stairs and take him down from the back.
When it was DAMWON’s turn to attack, they did the opposite and showed exactly how a team with no duelists should not play. In Round 18, the squad gathered at B Main for a fast execute, planning to take the site with brute force using KAY/O’s and Breach’s ultimates.
Unfortunately, without a Jett to dash in, they were sitting ducks for DRX as they walked out of Astra’s smoke at B entrance. DRX eventually cleaned up the entire team with over a minute still left on the clock.
After their performance over the weekend, DRX are once again the heavy favorites to take Korea’s single slot at Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen. They play their next match against World Game Star on May 29.
You can view the full VCT Korea Stage 2 Challengers group stage schedule here.