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OpTic Gaming weren’t able to clinch the first seed after falling to XSET during the North American Stage 2 Challengers grand final in the VALORANT Champions Tour. Two members of OpTic, Austin “crashies” Roberts and Pujan “FNS” Mehta, were suffering from COVID-19 during the match.

In a post-match press conference, crashies said both he and FNS were coping with severe symptoms over the course of the best of five series.

“It’s pretty hard, I’m not gonna lie,” he said. “I’m, like, losing focus. Bunch of symptoms. Coughing the whole best of three [sic], having to go throw up after maps. It’s not a fun experience.”

Crashies and FNS tested positive for COVID-19 on June 23 ahead of the upper bracket final match between OpTic and XSET. In spite of having the virus, the team rallied and won the match 3-1. That result was flipped in the grand final during the rematch with XSET.

While crashies had a middle-of-the-pack performance, FNS noticeably struggled during the series. The team’s in-game leader had 100 Average Combat Score and a -41 Kill/Death across the four maps. By contrast, XSET’s players were in strong form. Zachary “zekken” Patrone had an outstanding series and, during the post-game conference, OpTic said zekken would be their choice for MVP of the series.

Fortunately for OpTic, they now have time to recover ahead of Masters Copenhagen, which runs from July 10-24. This is the second Masters event in a row that they come in as NA’s second seed.

“Obviously it sucks, we wanted the first seed, but it’s not like we haven’t been here before,” crashies said.

OpTic are experienced at international LANs, having played at the last three — two under their former tag, Team Envy. They head to Copenhagen as the reigning champs from VCT 2022: Stage 1 Masters Reykjavík. The team are already looking ahead to the event to figure out how they can become back-to-back champions.

“Historically, we’ve always been stronger when we go to LANs,” OpTic’s Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker said. “I think given the LAN environment, given people getting the time to get better, you’re going to see a much better OpTic.”