XERXIA battle nerves and mistakes in first Stage 2 Masters series
Crws XERXIA Stage 2 Masters
Provided by Riot Games.

XERXIA battle nerves and mistakes in first Stage 2 Masters series

While fighting FunPlus Phoenix close, it was too scrappy for XERXIA

XERXIA knew that they didn’t play at their best in a close 2-1 loss at the group stages of the VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 Stage 2 Masters tournament. Despite fighting a strong Europe, Middle East and Africa region team in FunPlus Phoenix, they couldn’t manage another big first win like they did at VCT 2022 Stage 1 Masters over OpTic Gaming.

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A close series on every map

When looking at how close the series was, some good things to look at are not only the map scores, but the leads at halftime. Every single map entered halftime at 7-5, twice for XERXIA and once for FPX. The first time on Bind, despite leading, FPX fought back and the teams went to overtime. Yet, some key mistakes led to the overtime and map loss on Bind. Even with that map loss, winning on Ascent 13-9 and keeping it close on a 13-10 Haven loss, the fact that XERXIA kept it that close was a boost for them continuing on in groups.

“If we can reduce our mistakes, we can make it through groups for sure,” said XERXIA player Thanamethk “Crws” Mahatthananuyut. “We had a lot of mistakes today and we still got really close. FPX punished our mistakes hard, so if we reduce them we’ll be okay.”

There were plenty of moments throughout the series that prevented one team from starting a big run over the other. For example, to start off map three on Haven, Crws took a bad situation and clutched up to win a crucial pistol round.

“When we got picked at garage, I knew the guy at B had to rotate to help,” Crws said. “I knew I had to take a better position. Since we had B, it was hard to find where the A guys where. It just happened that everyone ran into us and I hit my shots.”

Another big moment revolved around a thrifty round on Haven, where teammate Nutchaphon “sScary” Matarat hid in his own smoke at the garage doors, getting a ton of value after avoiding the enemies who walked beside him.

XERXIA’s mistakes overcome their tactics

Alas, even with those great moments, XERXIA weren’t able to overcome FPX on Haven. When it comes to all the factors, those aforementioned mistakes as well as some jitters were visible in game.

“We were hoping to do better than this, but we made a lot of mistakes,” said XERXIA player Panyawat “sushiboys” Subsiriroj. “We also had some nerves that led to the loss.”

At the four international LANS that Crws and sushiboys have been to with each other, they’ve been known to cause upsets. While they couldn’t manage it this time around, Thanachart “Surf” Rungapajaratkul on the Chamber and Jett and sushiboys on the Killjoy were constant and a thorn in FPX’s side. This was a win, but not an easy one due to the playstyle of XERXIA.

“I think Killjoy is important on supporting the rest of my team,” sushiboys said. “It’s a team tactic to play her aggressively with my team, so I can just run out and shoot.”

With this loss, XERXIA have to win their next two games to qualify for the playoff section of Stage 2 Masters. Their next opponent, Northeption, puts a some seeds of worry into XERXIA’s minds. Not only since they’re also in a win-or-go-home scenario like them, but because of the familiarity between the two teams.

“I think the teams in our group are different than previous tournaments, and it’s gonna be harder this time,” Crws said. “There’s three Asian teams and we scrim a lot with each other; [there will be] a lot of counter stratting.”

But as much as that is a problem, sushiboys thinks of it as a benefit as well.

“Personally, I don’t feel much worry since we know them well,” sushiboys said. “We should be able to beat them.”

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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.