Paper Rex, ZETA DIVISION win stage 1 VCT 2022 Masters Reykjavik
A couple of matches between Paper Rex versus The Guard and ZETA DIVISION against Team Liquid on Saturday proved that this year had been the most competitive in VALORANT’s history.
In a two-map series at VCT Masters Reykjavik, The Guard lost to Paper Rex in a lower bracket match of regional top seeds. The team advanced in the competition and sent North America’s number one seed home.
The Guard matched up against Paper Rex, the first seed in Asia-Pacific, with strong expectations placed on The Guard. Since Paper Rex had little expectations heading into the match, they focused on playing with nothing to lose.
Consequently, Paper Rex appeared to be more confident facing The Guard, eventually winning the match 2-0, eliminating them. Now, Paper Rex has an extra day to prepare as they advance to the next series. Their strategy will remain the same as what has been proven successful on Saturday.
“We just need to play our game and not overthink things. We want them to play our game instead of us playing theirs,” Mindfreak said. “Even if we lose [on Monday] doing that, we do not care because now we are genuinely having so much fun.”
Paper Rex and The Guard ran the VCT Masters Reykjavik playoffs as top seeds in their respective regions. However, both teams dropped into the lower bracket after round one, falling to DRX and OpTic Gaming.
ZETA DIVISION win over Team Liquid
On the same day, ZETA DIVISION defeated Team Liquid in the first elimination game of the VCT Masters Reykjavik playoffs.
The team has been thriving in Japan’s first-ever playoffs at an international VALORANT tournament. ZETA advanced in the lower bracket of the VCT Masters Reykjavik with a 2-1 series victory over Liquid.
Initially, Liquid was more favoured going into the series. However, ZETA completely turned the tables with an incredible dominant defensive start on their map choice of Fracture.
ZETA led 8-0 at the start, forcing two Liquid timeouts before the EMEA side could get on the board with a B site execute. Liquid only managed one more strike. They trailed 10-2 at halftime.
ZETA has now won three series in the tournament so far and has taken down an EMEA team twice, after eliminating Fnatic in the group stage eliminator match. Liquid finished seventh/eighth and received 200 circuit points, a similar amount to what FPX received. They were invited at the last minute after FPX were considered unable to attend.
Despite their drawbacks, Liquid did not want to undermine ZETA’s win at VCT Masters Reykjavík.
“Even in the previous tournaments, they were always good, but I think it was always stemmed around confidence issues,” soulcas said. “They were one of the first teams we scrimmed and they were actually really good, so we knew that this tournament would be the best Japanese team at an international event.”
ZETA DIVISION began their Masters game looking overmatched, ultimately winning 2-0 over DRX from Korea. They could only find five rounds in two games of the first match and were thought to be an early-exit team.
Nonetheless, ZETA gradually became more confident and stronger in their performances since their 2-0 victory against Fnatic.