In the first match of the round of 16, NRG defeated Giants Gaming 2-1 at the VALORANT Champions Tour 2023 LOCK//IN Brazil tournament. NRG had a close overtime loss to Giants on map one, but their 13-1 map win on Haven was back-breaking for their opponents.
Icebox turned out to be almost just as one-sided, as NRG stay alive in the tournament.
Backs against the wall @NRGgg fight back from a Map 1 loss to take the series and stay alive! #VCTLOCKIN pic.twitter.com/jFV3Xjh4CY
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) February 17, 2023
Lotus goes to Giants Gaming in overtime
When the match started and NRG picked Lotus as the first map, the pick gave the idea that NRG could get a strong start, unlike their previous series against KOI. It was weirdly similar, with NRG starting slow and only managing to win four rounds on their defense.
This time around, the star player across both teams was Adolfo “Fit1nho” Gallego, another player new to international LAN play. His Raze plays, aggressive and clinical, were key to getting that early lead and eventually winning the map in overtime.
“We’re all pretty confident on Lotus,” fit1nho said. “For new maps, players need to explore. We had a plan and we followed it well.”
Haven and Icebox very one-sided for NRG
However, when it came around to Haven, NRG looked like an entirely different team, especially in post-plant scenarios. They only let one map slip, heading into Icebox with a tied series and all of the momentum in their favor. Pujan “FNS” Mehta didn’t frag as he did on Lotus, but the entire NRG team stepped up in both strategy and aim.
In the battle of in-game leaders, FNS had a great first map but just barely couldn’t get the edge over Emir “rhyme” Muminovic. Looking back to what Žygimantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas mentioned after their earlier match in the tournament, FNS would be a key member to NRG’s success, and that was more the case on maps two and three. Even with the outcome, nukkye remained positive about their performance.
“We still played good,” nukkye said. “The veto was a bit of a mistake from us. We took a map but that momentum from the Haven snowball, and that became the outcome of the game.”
After taking care of business in the first round, this victory over Giants puts NRG in the top eight of the LOCK//IN tournament. After a moment of worry, players like Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks and Austin “crashies” Roberts stepped up. They won’t have a lot of time to rest though, facing their next opponent on Sunday, Feb. 19 for a top-four spot at the VCT 2023 LOCK//IN Brazil tournament.
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.