OpTic eliminate ZETA, set up grand final rematch at Stage 1 Masters
OpTic Gaming has reached the VCT 2022 Masters 1 Grand Final by taking out ZETA in the lower final
Provided by Riot Games

OpTic eliminate ZETA, set up grand final rematch at Stage 1 Masters

North America's hopes stay alive

OpTic will face LOUD in a rematch for the grand final of VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 Stage 1 Masters after defeating ZETA DIVISION 3-0 in the lower final on Saturday.

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ZETA had hoped to complete the Cinderella story with a Masters win, or at least a grand finals appearance, but OpTic took up the mantle of the Wicked Stepmother and ended the fairy tale before they could put on the glass slipper. Many saw OpTic as one of the favorites to win the whole tournament, but after losing to LOUD once already, they had to climb back over ZETA for a shot at bringing glory back to North America.

A comeback on Haven

ZETA DIVISION immediately looked poised to extend their dream-like run in Reykjavík by taking five rounds in a row on Haven attack. It wasn’t until OpTic called a timeout that they started to find their own footing. ZETA managed to stay in the lead, however, and ended the first half 7-5 ahead — despite the warning OpTic had woken up to stop a stomp.

However, in the second half, ZETA simply continued where they left off. They took the pistol, the following round and OpTic’s bonus round. OpTic nearly shut ZETA down with a thrifty round after that, a cleverly placed Cosmic Divide by Shota “SugarZ3ro” Watanabe resulted in a 2k that allowed ZETA to go up 11-5. OpTic had to take another timeout.

That proved to be the right decision, as OpTic took the following two rounds, forcing ZETA into their own timeout up 11-7. But with a shaky economy and the momentum against them, OpTic began closing the gap.

With his Omen ult, Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen teleported from C-Site to A-Site, planted the spike and survived a 2v4 alongside Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker with his trusty Chamber ult. Following that, Marved decided to pop off for another round with a 3k. The OpTic play put them only one round down.

ZETA responded to OpTic’s sudden momentum with a flawless, reaching match point. ZETA then ended up in another 4v2, on the cusp of closing it out, but OpTic pulled it back yet again. Then, at 12-11, Marved proved his value to the team by clutching out a 1v1 against Yuma “Dep” Hashimoto and forcing overtime.

But while OpTic took the first OT round on defense, partially thanks to a yay 2k off the back of an unorthodox Judge pick, ZETA brought it back to 13-13 through excellent retake coordination. Yay forwent the Judge on the second OT defense round for OpTic and helped his team to match point. And finally, in the next round, as multiple players tried to bait each other out in A Short, Yay took a simple stroll onto A-Site and wreaked havoc. The map ended 15-13.

From being up 11-5, ZETA allowed OpTic to claw back into the map. OpTic remained composed and performed an excellent comeback to take the first map. Marved was the standout player with one 4k, six 3ks and four 1v1s to his name.

OpTic maintain control on Fracture

ZETA DIVISION certainly were in trouble going up against OpTic a map down on Fracture. In the upper bracket final, OpTic had destroyed LOUD on the map, 13-2. And while OpTic had lost the series following that, ZETA would need a reverse sweep if OpTic repeated that feat again.

The map started off much more balanced than the first. ZETA won the pistol, but after four rounds, the score stood tied at 2-2. ZETA threatened a thrifty after that, but OpTic proceeded to take the lead instead.

 

However, down 5-3, ZETA took back a round by buying just a single vandal. That thrifty round solved their economy and kept the score from slipping away from them. OpTic responded with a thrifty of their own, including a 4k by Victor “Victor” Wong, resulting in a 6-4 scoreline.

ZETA DIVISION didn’t just leave it at that, though. Back-to-back-to-back thrifty rounds saw the score sitting at 6-5 in favor of OpTic, who promptly took the following round and entered the second half in the lead, 7-5. The map was closer than during their match against LOUD, but everything still seemed in control.

The second half saw OpTic extend their lead. Winning their first pistol of the series, OpTic shut down ZETA’s attempts to find their footing to go up 11-5. The roles were reversed. OpTic had come back from 5-11, but ZETA could not do the same. Losing every single round after the switch, ZETA fell 13-5, bringing OpTic to match point in the best-of-3.

OpTic ends the ZETA story on Bind

The start of Bind turned out to be a struggle for the Japanese stars, who had quickly turned into fan-favorites as their Masters run progressed. Fans at the Tokyo watch party saw their team go down 1-4 at 4:30 in the morning and likely would have felt the hope slip from their hearts.

A thrifty (including a 4k by Tenta “TENNN” Asai) saw ZETA bring the score closer, which they followed up with a timeout and another round win, but Marved shut down ZETA’s attempt to equalize the score with an ace. A subsequent flawless by OpTic for a 6-3 score put the underdogs in even more trouble. The half ended at 8-4 with a loud Japanese watch party that still believed in the reverse sweep cheering for the underdogs.

OpTic sealed the deal by winning the pistol in the second half. ZETA called a timeout, but at that point, it was already too late. ZETA dreamed of a legendary comeback, but once OpTic had found their stride in map 1, there was no stopping them. Despite that, ZETA fought valiantly, keeping up with the North Americans and battling to the very end.

With a 2-1 record in groups and a lower bracket run through the likes of Team Liquid, DRX and Paper Rex, ZETA finished with a run any team could be proud of and the taste of reaching new heights for their region. ZETA exit the tournament without lifting the trophy, but they won hearts of the fans. Meanwhile, OpTic have given North American fans a new dose of hopium ahead of the rematch..

Author
Image of Michael Kloos
Michael Kloos
Michael Kloos is a Dutch esports journalist and enthusiast with a particular like of Rocket League and VALORANT. He is also an avid fantasy/sci-fi reader and writer. He spends most of his time trying not to be in the real world.