No other team at the VALORANT Champions Tour Masters Copenhagen has gone over as many hurdles as FunPlus Phoenix. FPX has been dealing with travel restrictions surrounding their Russian players, as well as their Ukrainian captain, Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov, since they qualified for 2022 Masters Reykjavík.
Now FPX are finally at an international LAN at (mostly) full strength. With only one day of practice with their full lineup, they were still able to topple XERXIA in their opening match.
“You feel yourself on LAN,” ANGE1 said in a post-game interview. “You enjoy this moment a lot. It’s like high pressure moments. It’s a great experience for all the players.”
It wasn’t until Sunday that FPX learned that Andrey “Shao” Kiprsky would be playing with the team. That made their only substitute Mathias “SEIDER” Seider, who’s with them on loan from Alliance. With such a limited amount of time to teach SEIDER the team’s playbook, many considered XERXIA, a team with heaps of international experience, the favorites.
FPX were pushed hard across the three map series, but ultimately came out on top. What’s more, SEIDER held his own individually — a good sign for FPX’s prospects in Copenhagen.
“[SEIDER] is doing great,” ANGE1 said. “With the amount of [practice] time we have, he’s doing great.”
During the series, FPX struggled to shut down XERXIA’s Thanachart “Surf” Rungapajaratkul, who was able to find consistent impact on Chamber and Jett.
“Because of roster changes, our defaults are a bit sloppy,” ANGE1 said. “We can make some mistakes so [Surf] can get more kills than he should.”
Even still, FPX took Map 1 of Bind in a tight overtime. Surprisingly, it was on Ascent, FPX’s home ground, that XERXIA found their own map win to even out the score.
“I would say it’s our mistakes,” ANGE1 said about the loss on FPX’s strongest map. “They didn’t do something special, I would say.”
FPX scraped out a 13-10 win on Haven to close out the series. Now, the team advances in Group B to face off against DRX.
“DRX is a great team,” ANGE1 said. “They have good strats, good structure, they have great individual players. I’m looking forward to this match.”
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.