ZETA DIVISION stay alive at Champions
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - SEPTEMBER 4: Koji "Laz" Ushida of Zeta Division reacts after a victory match against BOOM at the VALORANT Champions 2022 Istanbul Groups Stage on September 4, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

ZETA DIVISION stay alive at Champions

XQQ: 'I would say that we are about 60-70 per cent in our performance right now.'

ZETA DIVISION have staved off elimination at VALORANT Champions 2022 after beating BOOM Esports 2-1. The team from Japan continues their lower bracket run in the hopes of making playoffs.

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At 1 p.m. ET on Sept. 7, ZETA will rematch against LOUD in the last match of Group B. If they win, they will knock out the Brazilian team and advance to the playoffs. If they lose, their season ends there.

“In the last match with LOUD, there were a lot of problems with the micro play,” Hibiki “XQQ” Motoyama said in a press conference. “In the end, we had a lot of rounds that were very close, and we should’ve had the victory. So we’re trying to fix that towards the next game and prepare another strategy for the team.”

As for BOOM, they have become the first team to be sent home from Champions. The event was the international debut for BOOM, who qualified through the Asia Pacific Last Chance Qualifier.

blaZek1ng BOOM
Gary “blaZek1ng” Dastin of BOOM competes at the VALORANT Champions 2022 Istanbul Groups Stage on Sept. 4, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. | Photo by Lance Skundrich. Provided by Riot Games.

“It gives us a lot of experience playing on LAN and how to adapt faster to the game,” BOOM’s Gary “blaZek1ng” Dastin said. “We can fix the little mistakes after that because the little mistakes make such a big impact on the round.”

“All I can say is thank you so much for the support you guys give us,” Saibani “fl1pzjder” Rahmad said. “Luckily we could go to Champions to make you guys proud. I would say sorry also for everyone supporting us at Champions because we could not even go to playoffs.”

ZETA defeat BOOM at Champions

After BOOM Esports took Map 1 on Haven, it looked as though ZETA DIVISION’s year was coming to a fast close. According to ZETA, Rizkie “BerserX” Adla Kusuma’s Jett was a big part of the problem.

“The Operator was very good,” ZETA’s Rizkie “BerserX” Adla Kusuma said. “And along with that, the position of their Breach was unique, so we had a hard time to adapt. And also they had a very speedy skillset. So we were having trouble with that.”

ZETA DIVISION bounced back quickly on Pearl. The map was back and forth and it looked as though BOOM may pull away in the second half. ZETA rallied and went on a spree of rounds near the end to force Map 3.

Fracture was all ZETA — the Japanese team closed out the series with a convincing 13-2 win.

ZETA Champions
Koji “Laz” Ushida (L) and coach Hibiki “XQQ” Motoyama of ZETA DIVISION at the VALORANT Champions 2022 Istanbul Groups Stage on Sept. 4, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. | Photo by Colin Young-Wolff. Provided by Riot Games.

In spite of the win, ZETA were critical of their level of play so far at Champions.

“Compared to Masters 1, I would say that we are about 60-70 per cent in our performance right now,” XQQ said. “Mainly because of the lack of time with our current roster to prepare for the match. And also we do not have a comp that is up to date with the current meta for all maps. But again, having to compete at any international tournament is always a learning experience for us. It’s up to how much we can learn from our mistakes in each of the matches that we play.”

The biggest issue for ZETA is Tenta “TENNN” Asai’s recent return to the roster. He is still recovering from an issue that affected his eye. Even simple things like having to sit further away from his monitor are impacting his individual play.

“We only had one week to prepare once I joined back in the roster,” TENNN said. “And I was away for one whole month. So having to compete with strong teams in this event was very difficult for me. I would say I’m at 50-60 percent back in shape.”

Nonetheless, ZETA DIVISION is using their phenomenal third-place performance at Masters 1 Reykjavík earlier in the year to remind themselves that they have more to give at Champions.

“The more matches we play, we started to remember back [to] what happened in Iceland and the experience we had, where no matter what the situation is, we can win and comeback,” Tomoaki “crow” Maruoka said.

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Coby Zucker
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.