LOUD go to the finals, send OpTic Gaming to losers bracket
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Brazil's LOUD advance to the Masters 1 finals | Provided by Riot Games.

LOUD go to the finals, send OpTic Gaming to losers bracket

Brazil go from underdogs to Stage 1 Masters finalists

LOUD are the first grand finalists of the VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 Stage 1 Masters after defeating OpTic Gaming 2-1 on Friday.

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The match-up between LOUD and OpTic was one of achieving first-time glory vs. bringing it back. OpTic were considered one of the favorites of the tournament despite stumbling in groups, while LOUD had a mountain to climb as newcomers. That said, the Brazilians defeated their opponents easily to this point.

“For us, I think it’s a great honor,” Gustavo “Sacy” Rossi said. “Our objective is for people to respect our region. Honestly, it didn’t matter whether we reached the grand final, as long as other Brazilian teams know they can make it as far as we have.”

OpTic’s Fracture pick pays off

As the series started, OpTic immediately forced LOUD onto the back foot by winning four rounds in a row, including a 4k by Victor “Victor” Wong. LOUD made the fourth round expensive for OpTic, but could not benefit from that. A quarter of the map in, LOUD were down 0-6 and had already used a timeout. Meanwhile, OpTic were sitting on a pile of money.

Hitting the half up 10-2, OpTic put themselves in a position to succeed and take a map off the tournament favorites. In a close pistol round, Pujan “FNS” Mehta just secured the win, an important round win to finish LOUD off on Fracture.

Ending it 13-2, Fracture was an easy map for OpTic, putting them up 1-0 in the series.

LOUD fight back on Ascent

Just as LOUD needed to fight back and take control of the series, a strong pistol win looked like the LOUD of previous Stage 1 Masters games. Even with OpTic showing some fight, LOUD started to build up their first lead of the series. OpTic quickly fought back to tie the series at 3-3, with Austin “crashies” Roberts getting crucial picks. The teams continued to trade round wins, as OpTic edged out the half up 7-5.

LOUD then won the first three rounds on defence, taking the lead at 9-7. When the rounds continued to stay close, Bryan “pANcada” Luna got two important kills to put LOUD up 10-8 on a needed map win. When OpTic tried to prevent match point from LOUD, they overthought a round by failing a teleport bait strategy. That was curtains for OpTic on map two.

LOUD fought right back on Ascent, winning it 13-8 and tying the series, forcing map three.

Icebox puts LOUD in the grand finals

Much like Ascent, LOUD put themselves in a position to succeed with two strong rounds on Icebox. But also like Ascent, OpTic fought back to keep the lead small for LOUD. Just when OpTic seemed to tie the series, Felipe “Less” Basso got a big clutch to keep LOUD ahead.

Off that momentum win, LOUD built their lead to 5-1 before OpTic took their timeout. Just as LOUD seemed to run away with the map, OpTic kept their form and went into the half only down 7-5.

Yet just like the first half, LOUD won the pistol, extending their lead. As they hit nine round wins, OpTic continued to fight back to reach eight wins of their own. Just after, a big clutch from Less put LOUD into double digits. After that clutch, OpTic lost two more rounds to put LOUD on match point, up 12-8.

OpTic then won two rounds to get to double digits themselves and forced a save from their opponents just before overtime. But it didn’t matter, as LOUD defeated OpTic 13-11 and booked their spot in the finals.

OpTic will fight in the lower bracket against the winner of Paper Rex and ZETA DIVISION.

Author
Image of Michael Czar
Michael Czar
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.