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Vision Strikers are one of the favorites at VALORANT Champions, although the South Koreans’ path to victory has grown much steeper after Fnatic beat them in a three map series that came down to Fracture. Fnatic embarrassed Vision Strikers on the new map on Friday, building a huge lead in the opening rounds before winning it all.

“When we came back and took Haven we were feeling really confident,” Vision Strikers player Kim “MaKo” Myeong-kwan said after the match. “We had the momentum and had taken on a factor to close out the map.”

Vision Strikers fall to Fnatic at Champions

Fnatic opened the series by winning Icebox with a slight 13-10 lead. It was the first map where Vision Strikers player Kim “Lakia” Jong-min made an appearance. Fnatic also took the lead on Haven, but in-game leader Kim “stax” Gu-taek and company rallied to send the game to Fracture.

“Not a great day for the Strikers. A lot of post-plant mistakes I haven’t seen them make basically ever,” said KR VALORANT commentator Clint “Paperthin” Bader. “Fracture [strategies] were non-existent. But really a lot of mental mistakes, not enough timeouts at crucial times. Still a chance against C9, but not with how they looked today”

Vision Strikers at VALORANT Champions group stage
MaKo knows that he and his team will be practicing non-stop before their next match | Photo by Lance Skundrich for Riot Games

Things got out of hand quickly for Vision Strikers as Fnatic went up 7-1 on Fracture. This was Fracture’s second appearance at an official VALORANT Champions Tour event and even though Stax believed it is one of Vision Strikers’ best maps, his team looked lost while trying to navigate all of Fracture’s lanes. Fnatic, who had played on Fracture against Cloud9, seemed more experienced.

“It was the first few rounds of Fracture that we realized maybe we were overcommitting to these positions,” MaKo said. “We struggled to hold them off and that’s when we crumbled.”

MaKo added that losing the pistol round after halftime was a swing in Fnatic’s favor. A clutch that was a “small factor” led to a round loss that widened the gap they needed to close in order to win.

Stax didn’t shy away from trash talk after defeating FULL SENSE 2-0 on the first day of Champions. He said that Fnatic was “lucky” to be at Champions after they qualified because of Gambit Esports’ victory at Stage 3 Masters – Berlin. Fnatic IGL Jake “Boaster” Howlett — who is known for spicy trash talk — used it as motivation.

“I do remember that and I did tell that to the boys as a [way to] drive our force and kind of send them to bed, but I didn’t want the boys to be that focused on it,” Boaster said after the match. “It was just a kind of like, ‘hey, they think we don’t deserve to be here. Well, we are the underdogs, and we’re gonna show and prove them otherwise, and we’re gonna come out top of this group of death.'”

Fnatic are the first team to emerge from the group stage at Champions. Vision Strikers will play either FULL SENSE or Cloud9 on Dec. 6.

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