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In the first game on day two of the VALORANT Champions Tour 2023 LOCK//IN Brazil tournament, Lotus made its debut as Karmine Corp squeaked out a 2-1 win over FunPlus Phoenix. The series proved to be closer than fans expected, as the first series to go to three maps so far in the tournament. It provided a lot of highlights, from Alexandre “xms” Forté falling to death on Haven to a double Viper’s Pit on Lotus.

Lotus makes its VCT debut with Karmine Corp and FunPlus Phoenix

Despite the surprise map pick by Chinese team FunPlus Phoenix, Karmine Corp weren’t fazed as they stomped FPX on the new map.

“I kind of expected them to pick it because they wanted to surprise us,” Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom said. “With that underdog mentality, I understood why they chose it but we’re pretty good at it, I’m happy they picked it.”

When the FPX roster ended up picking that new map, a bad prediction cost them heavily.

“To be honest, we just made a lot of wrong predictions about the opponent’s pace on Lotus,” Zhang “BerLIN” Bo-lin said. “We thought they’d play faster, so when they took a lot of control of the map slowly, we didn’t have the right reads.”

Both of these teams came into the tournament with lot much known about them. Karmine Corp were known as a great talent in their respective local league in 2022, but the addition of Belgian brothers ScreaM and Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom added some star power to the roster.

Chinese VALORANT teams are a nice addition to franchising

On the other side, this FunPlus Phoenix roster is an entirely different team from the one that won an international LAN in 2022. The team mostly consists of players from the Chinese team ZHUQUE, a team that competed well against other known Chinese VALORANT teams, such as EDward Gaming.

So, while some teams in this LOCK//IN tournament can feel like a clash of titans, this match between Karmine Corp and FunPlus Phoenix was more of a determination of how good these rosters could be.

FunPlus Phoenix LOCK//IN
FunPlus Phoenix celebrate a map win at VCT 2023 LOCK//IN Brazil. | Provided by Riot Games.

ScreaM in particular knows a little bit more about Chinese teams than most, after playing a game against EDward Gaming last year. However, he thinks that FPX might edge out EDG right now.

“I played against two Chinese teams and they’re both very different styles,” ScreaM said. “EDG plays aggressively with their duelists, but FPX is really good at their macros and taking control of the map. Right now, I think they’re better than EDG.”

EDward Gaming makes their VCT 2023 debut later in this tournament, facing off against 100 Thieves.

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