DRX were sent to the lower bracket of VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 2 Masters on Sunday after a 2-1 loss to international rival OpTic Gaming in the upper bracket semifinals.
This wasn’t an unfamiliar matchup for either team, as the South Korean and North American squads faced off at Stage 1 Masters earlier this year. But history repeated itself, with OpTic taking a reverse-sweep and making their chances of back-to-back Masters titles stronger than ever.
DRX’s expectations for this tournament were higher, but this loss puts them one series loss from elimination.
Lost but not out. @DRX_VS will continue their run in the lower bracket.#VALORANTMasters | 📺 https://t.co/MDpRTZqCFp pic.twitter.com/WJHNXRtv5o
— VALORANT Champions Tour KR (@valesports_kr) July 17, 2022
After hot start, DRX falls apart on Breeze
DRX shot out to an 11-1 half on Fracture, OpTic’s map pick, to begin the series, and the South Koreans turned that lead into a decisive Map 1 victory. When Breeze came next, a map that DRX had a lot of confidence on, OpTic instead dished out what DRX did to them on Fracture. After winning a map 13-4, DRX lost a map 13-4.
“I would say that on our defense, 80% of their attacks were to A site,” DRX player Yu “BuZz” Byung-chul said. “Their fast pushes onto that site troubled us, and we eventually adapted to it toward the end, but it was too late. It took us too long to adapt.”
“I would say there wasn’t anything unexpected and we entered Breeze with a lot of confidence, but that A site attack was a problem,” DRX coach Pyeon “termi” Seon-ho added. “All I know is that if we could’ve been better on some pistol rounds or ecos on Breeze or Bind, it would’ve been a win for us.”
Bind proves to be close, but not enough
Map 3, Bind, ended up being the closest map of the series. After going down 8-4 at the half, DRX built themselves back and tied it at 10-10.
TIE GAME!!! #VALORANTMasters
Watch live: https://t.co/io2c23bRnD pic.twitter.com/4yca2ESDp7
— VALORANT Champions Tour 🇩🇰 (@ValorantEsports) July 17, 2022
However, just as they could take the lead for the first time on the map, OpTic star Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker was there to stop it. He had himself a map, getting more first kills than the entire DRX roster combined.
Looking back on it, DRX were regretful for avoiding yay instead of focusing on getting him off the map.
“In this series we tried to stay away from yay strategically,” DRX player Kim “Zest” Gi-seok said, “but if we do face him again, we’re going to be more focused on him.”
Now, yet again, a tough loss to OpTic puts DRX in the lower bracket of Stage 2 Masters. While not out, the last time this happened, the next match was an upset loss to ZETA DIVISION. This time around, DRX don’t want to be the team that gets beat on an underdog run. They have to start one of their own, and they know one of the biggest improvements they’ve made should help them.
“I think we’re a better team than the last stage, especially with our improved map pool,” termi said. “That should put us in a better position this time around.”
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Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.