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After a long tournament, Fnatic are the VALORANT Champions Tour 2023 LOCK//IN Brazil champions, defeating LOUD in the finals 3-2. This is the best VALORANT series we’ve ever had, with LOUD almost achieving the first international reverse sweep. However, after getting an 11-3 lead on map five, Fnatic managed to win nine rounds in a row and take it to overtime to win their title.

This match was a rollercoaster from start to finish, starting with map one: Ascent.

Ascent no longer LOUD’s house

Starting on Ascent, LOUD started out keeping the game close before Fnatic started winning gun rounds and taking a significant lead. Even after a timeout, LOUD’s success on Ascent felt outclassed by Fnatic. An 8-4 lead for Fnatic led to a 13-8 map win, off the back of great performances from Leo “Leo” Jannesson and Emir “Alfajer” Beder. From the compositions LOUD provided, it threw a wrench into Fnatic’s plans, but not enough to put them down.

“They had a very weird comp on Ascent and on Fracture, from double smokes to double duelists,” coach Jacob “mini” Harris said. “We had to think more about what works and what doesn’t against it in the middle of the maps.”

It looked like the Fnatic that showed up throughout the tournament was continuing their momentum into the finals.

Fracture closer, but puts Fnatic on match point

The second map of Fracture proved to start similarly, with Fnatic on top and LOUD off-kilter at the LOCK//IN finals. While there looked to be more mistakes from the EMEA team, they still managed to clutch rounds, with Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov making some great plays on Breach. Thanks to Cauan “cauanzin” Pereira, LOUD managed a stronger first half than the last map, ending it at 6-6.

But, as it turns out, the Fnatic defense proved too strong, with Boaster stepping up on Brimstone. Fnatic rolled the second half to win the map 13-7.

Split stops a sweep

Now, LOUD were in a tough position: down 2-0 in a series, needing to reverse sweep to win. Split was the third map and a must-win for LOUD. It all began with some great plays from Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev, getting two clutch kills on 1 HP. However, those same signs of weakness we saw from Fnatic in the first half of Fracture came back for Split, with LOUD starting to get a lead. Fnatic kept it lose, but entered the half down 7-5.

Then, a pistol clutch from Matias “Saadhak” Delipetro started to build some momentum. The chance of a perfect tournament was slipping from Fnatic, thanks to key plays like a Sherrif collateral from Arthur “tuyz” Vieira. Fnatic managed to win a lot of rounds off of early kills, but their post-plants weren’t as clean as previous maps. Fnatic lost their first map of the tournament, 13-9, to extend the series.

Lotus was a better LOUD map than anticipated

The last time that Fnatic played on Lotus, they faced a team very confident on it in NAVI and still rolled them over. When they began the map against LOUD, it looked very similar. Fnatic rolled off three near-perfect rounds to start, with LOUD just managing a thrifty win to stop the bleeding. Felipe “Less” Basso prevented LOUD from losing the next couple of rounds, going on a run to win six rounds in a row to end the half up 7-5.

Yet, as stated on stream, the map is attacker-sided, with teams winning rounds 61% of the time on attack. Fnatic quickly tied the round at 7-7, but another four-kill round from less kept LOUD on top. Despite the stats, Fnatic looked lost and slow on their attack, losing it 13-8 and going to map five.

Even with it all coming down to one map, Saadhak knew LOUD were playing with house money, with a home crowd no less.

“We went even deeper than I thought we would go,” Saadhak said. “I didn’t think we would get into the finals, but being there and being here in Brazil is a lot more than we thought. We can take that experience home and improve.”

Icebox decides it all

It all came down to Icebox, a map that both teams are strong at. A flawless pistol for LOUD in the finals showed cracks in what has usually been a great defense from Fnatic on Icebox, especially at LOCK//IN. The brick wall was crumbling, with the god of Icebox Derke as the only strong performer on Fnatic. The half ended with LOUD up 9-3, with the curse as the only sign of a comeback from Fnatic.

After losing a needed pistol round, it was all over. At least, everyone thought so when LOUD led 11-3. Then, Fnatic won every single round until they were up 12-11, taking it to overtime. Off of great performances from Alfajer and Leo to bring the map back, it was up for grabs in overtime. Then, the god of Icebox returned; Derke got a collateral to win the defense side they couldn’t in the first half. Then, Alfajer cleaned up the second overtime around and the trophy was theirs.

Boaster couldn’t hold back his tears after completing the comeback, talking on stage after the series.

He explained the emotion, especially after how the final map was heading.

“I just remember the halftime on Icebox, then the 11-3 scoreline,” Boaster said. “I remember looking at the audience, chanting, and thinking that this was a sick experience. Even if we lose, I’m appreciative to be here. I did tell my teammates: ‘Get me the pistol round and we’ll win’. We lost that, so I said the same thing for the bonus round. We lost that too, so I just stayed quiet and the comeback just happened in a second. Then, on stage, I thought of people watching me from home and how proud of me they were, and I just cried.”

On top of that, Chronicle won his second international trophy, the only player in VCT history to say that so far. Even with that title, he still uses this moment to look toward the future.

“The second trophy gives me confidence, especially that we can play well regionally and internationally,” Chronicle said. “You gain a lot from losses, but in close games like this, you can take the most from. The feeling of being the only one in the game to hold two trophies is great.”

Fnatic won their first title in VALORANT history, preventing a choke to win it all against LOUD at LOCK//IN Brazil.