ZETA DIVISION take revenge on DRX with upset at Stage 1 Masters
ZETA DIVISION did the unthinkable versus DRX by taking revenge in spectacular fashion
Provided by Riot Games

ZETA DIVISION take revenge on DRX with upset at Stage 1 Masters

Japan rises to a new level

ZETA DIVISION are moving on to the lower semifinal after upsetting DRX in the VALORANT Champions VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 Stage 1 on Monday.

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Both ZETA and DRX started the tournament in the same group. ZETA looked impressive by defeating Fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas, but they soundly lost 0-2 to DRX. However, when it came time for a rematch, the Japanese team surged to victory in a dominate third map.

“For the first match against DRX, we did not perform well, but that was because DRX was playing so well and they are definitely one of the top teams,” Tenta “TENNN” Asai said. “We know ZETA DIVISION have very strong individuals, so it was a little bit of shaking off the nerves. But we believe that our potential is coming out finally and we are growing as a team throughout this tournament.”

ZETA stays frosty on Icebox

Showing a whole new side to themselves, ZETA stood much more of a chance on map one. DRX won the pistol, but ZETA repeatedly took back multiple rounds to DRX’s single wins. Come half time, DRX were down 4-8, the first time in the tournament they trailed going into the second half.

DRX surged back in the next six round, taking back the lead 10-8. The game had started slipping from the Japanese side, so they called a timeout to refocus. That gave ZETA the push they needed to claw back the next two rounds, tie up the game and destroy DRX’s economy. The next battle would determine who would approach match point with money in their pockets for the final stretch.

A flawless round put DRX in the driver’s seat, but ZETA fully bought into round 22 since winning the round was crucial. Another loss would break their economy and put DRX on match point. So, what better way to respond to a flawless round than with a flawless of their own? Following that confidence booster, ZETA simply closed out the map 13-11 in a vast improvement over their hard loss to DRX earlier in the tournament.

DRX maintains 100% win rate on Ascent

Ascent continued the neck and neck affair despite DRX being the heavy favorite. However, DRX had the advantage of a 100% win rate on the map during the 2022 season while ZETA had not played on it at all this year. So, while DRX had had plenty of practice on the map, ZETA were an unknown factor. Experience won out, as the first half went to DRX, 7-5.

ZETA kept fighting in the second half with three straight wins but lost control toward the tail end. As DRX reached a 12-9 scoreline, ZETA had to force buy and all died — but a clutch Gravity Well by ZETA’s Shota “SugarZ3ro” Watanabe pulled Byung-chul “BuZz” Yu off the defuse at the final moment.

That, however, did not pull DRX off their game, as they took the following round to win the map. DRX had taken Ascent, but they had already learned map one wasn’t a fluke.

ZETA destroy DRX on Split

ZETA came out the gates hard on Split, winning the pistol and following rounds while also shutting down DRX on their bonus with four alive. They immediately built up a comfortable economy, forcing DRX into a second save. DRX seemed rattled and lost yet another full buy to go down 0-5.

Losing that second save round, DRX managed to win a meager round, which did not phase ZETA at all. After another flawless round, TENNN launched expertly placed Paint Shells in a 1v1 to once more put DRX’s economy in shambles. DRX called yet another timeout, but ZETA simply shrugged off the attempt to kill their momentum. Kim “stax” Gu-taek did clutch out the final round of the first half for DRX, but his team had dug themselves into quite the hole.

ZETA once more proved they were here to stay in the pistol round of the second half. Koji “Laz” Ushida clutched with a 3k, resulting in a DRX force buy if they wanted to stop ZETA from going up to match point. That force buy won them a round and a subsequent flawless, but a 4-11 score line left them too far to go. ZETA won yet another round to reach match point and quickly ended it, 13-4.

ZETA did what most thought impossible, taking revenge on the team that had destroyed them earlier in the tournament. In the process, they eliminated Korea from Stage 1 Masters while bringing Japan to unprecedented territory. ZETA are on a steep upward swing and whichever team wins the contest between G2 Esports and Paper Rex will have a tough opponent ahead of them.

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Michael Kloos
Michael Kloos is a Dutch esports journalist and enthusiast with a particular like of Rocket League and VALORANT. He is also an avid fantasy/sci-fi reader and writer. He spends most of his time trying not to be in the real world.