ZETA DIVISION eliminate Fnatic and continue on at Stage 1 Masters
Provided by Riot Games.

ZETA DIVISION eliminate Fnatic and continue on at Stage 1 Masters

Fnatic, using two subsitutes, can't overcome the best of Japan

Japanese super team ZETA DIVISION eliminated Fnatic from the VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 Stage 1 Masters in Reykjavík. Now, after winning their first international game, the team will must face the Brazilian region team Ninjas in Pyjamas to reach the playoffs.

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Both teams were coming off bad losses ahead of this match, but in very different scenarios. ZETA DIVISION lost to DRX after only taking five rounds across the entire series.

Fnatic, meanwhile, came into Stage 1 Masters as a Europe, Middle East and Africa region powerhouse before losing two players. With both Andrey “BraveAF” Gorchakov and Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev out of the lineup, NiP upset Fnatic. While substitutes Enzo “Fearoth” Mestari and Joona “H1ber” Parviainen played well, but not to the level of Fnatic from VCT 2022 Stage 1 Challengers 1.

On the first map of Fracture, ZETA took advantage of Fnatic’s situation, winning rounds of all sorts. Pistols, ecos and thiftys all came ZETA’s way, with Koji “Laz” Ushida’s Chamber not giving Fnatic any space on their attack.

For example, in the final round of the first half, Fnatic planted as far into the corner of B as possible and committed an ultimate from Viper to secure the round for Fnatic. Still, they remained down 3-9 and knew they weren’t in a great position.

Even as Fnatic won a couple of rounds to make it closer, the sixteenth round was a perfect summary of the map for Fnatic. As H1ber tried to push on B site after ZETA placed the spike, he popped his ultimate and rushed in. He managed to get the rocket off, hit nobody at close range and lost a duel.

ZETA won Fracture 13-7, with both Laz and Shota “SugarZ3ro” Watanabe fragging into a big map victory for the series.

ZETA DIVISION fight tooth and nail against Fnatic

The next map, Icebox, turned into a must-win scenario if Fnatic wanted to continue fighting in Stage 1 Masters. Despite losing pistols to a zipline double from SugarZ3ro, they won the next four rounds in a row.

As Fnatic started to rack up the lead, Laz decided to win a round all by himself with an ace on defense that put ZETA back in the game. That ace woke ZETA up, as they fought to reach halftime tied at 6-6.

Fnatic proceeded to win the first two rounds of their defense, retaking the lead from ZETA DIVISION. But the closer ZETA got to 13 rounds, the more they fought back, tying things at 11-11. After hitting match point up 12-11, the series ended up in a 1v1 between Jake “Boaster” Howlett and Yuma “Dep” Hashimoto. With a Jett dash and an ultimate right click, Dep clutched it out and won the map 13-11 and the series 2-0. This is the first win for ZETA DIVISION at an international competition.

ZETA DIVISION are now set to face Ninjas in Pyjamas to see who will qualify for the playoffs.

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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.