Masters Berlin: Group Stage Day 2 Recap
David "Miles David" Josiah
9/12/2021, 8:53:21 AM
We’re back with another recap of Masters Berlin! If you missed day 1, then make sure you read about the opening day! Day 2 has been filled with close calls and monumental comebacks. By the end of the day, every favorite that was expected to win did win out with 2-0 clean sweeps across the board. However, it’s all about the journey folks and not the destination because two out of the three matchups today ended up being surprisingly close.
The Korean juggernaut Vision Strikers found themselves fighting an unexpected uphill battle against SEA representatives Paper Rex. Team Envy, third seed of North America, had a very close call against the Brazilian Vivo Keyd. Only Gambit really came away with a clean win, stomping Crazy Raccoon in the most brutal fashion.
Let’s take a closer look at what happened.
On paper, most people expected this match up to be a white wash. After all, this was Vision Strikers. This was the Korean team that had the best players in the region under their banner. Paper Rex isn’t even the first seed of Southeast Asia. By all accounts, this should have been a stomp. Instead, Paper Rex had other plans.
Haven started out without any real drama. Vision Strikers won the pistol round and conversion after a bit of over aggression on the side of Paper Rex. The story continued with a dominating first half by Vision Strikers on what has traditionally been a very attackers’ favored map. The team had strong set plays and individual performances that really stood out. For example, Goo “Rb” Sang-Min’s amazing 3K crossfire hold with IGL Kim “stax” Gu-taek on the A-site comes to mind.
Vision Striker’s Jett main Yu “BuZz” Byung-chul wasn’t afraid to make some heart stopping plays himself.
Paper Rex, on the other hand, were able to score some round wins here and there. They managed a total of four rounds on their defensive half. Not too bad of a score line all things considered. Of course then, the SEA team suddenly came alive in the second half. Through creativity and skill, the team managed to win against the Vision Strikers’ force buy round while armed only with classics. Something clicked for the underdogs as they proceeded to tear their opponents asunder for the next four rounds. Jason “f0rsakeN” Susanto, the team’s ace player, delivered more than enough for the team to get a second wind and start fighting back.
Unfortunately for the Paper Rex boys, the lead was a bit too far to catch up to once Vision Strikers found their bearings once again. A final 4K by Kim “MaKo” Myeong-kwan on the twenty-second round sealed the deal for Vision Strikers.
In the end, the map ended 13:9 in Vision Striker’s favor.
Okay, by this point Vision Strikers had finished warming up right? There’s no way the team wouldn’t win this map. After all, Icebox is the team’s playground. They are known to be the best Icebox team in Korea. There’s absolutely no way this wouldn’t end up being a smash…
Well, it definitely started out as a smash. Unfortunately for Vision Strikers, they were on the receiving end.
The man, the myth, the Jett diff. SEA star f0rsakeN absolutely popped off. Round after round, multi-kill after multi-kill. Vision Strikers couldn’t seem to solve the problem that was this enemy Jett running rampant across the map and destroying their defenses. Teammate Khalish “d4v41” Rusyaidee wasn’t too far from filling the kill feed either. Paper Rex’s assault seemed nigh unstoppable. It was an international trial by fire for the Korean super squad and by the end of the half, they were down 9:3 and looking shattered. The last round they won came as the result of some individual heroics from stax. Vision Strikers found themselves completely backed into a corner. Paper Rex only needed four more round wins to force a game three.
Then half time came and the super team delivered.
Slowly, Vision Strikers clawed their way back bit by bloody bit. After winning the second half pistol, the Koreans went on a streak with stellar performances by BuZz, Rb, and Mako. The comeback was real. Despite Paper Rex’s dominant performance in the first half, Vision Strikers responded in kind. Ultimately, the map went the distance with a total of twenty-four rounds played by the two teams. Ultimately however, it was Vision Strikers that ended up winning the map and the series. It wasn’t clean. It wasn’t pretty. But they made it through.
In the end, the map ended 13:11 in Vision Striker’s favor.
After such a close first series, everyone was waiting in anticipation for the next. Gambit Esports who many consider to be the best team in the EMEA would be facing off against international returnees Crazy Raccoon. The Japanese-Korean mixed squad had high hopes of putting on a good performance after bowing out early in Masters 2. Unfortunately for Crazy Raccoon, Gambit came to play and they didn’t pull any punches.
There’s not much to say. Gambit was absolutely dominant throughout the map. Their teamplay, strategy, coordination, and individual performance was just so far above what Crazy Raccoon was prepared to deal with. The Japanese team simply found themselves outclassed in every way possible. The single round they were able to win on Bind was the bonus round where IGL Byeon “Munchkin” Sang-beom got himself a 3K against the inferior weapons of Gambit. After that, it was a white wash.
The CIS squad could do no wrong and each of the players had their moments, but special mention to Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin and Nikita “d3ffo” Sudakov. Before this tournament, people claimed he is the best Cypher in the world. Apparently, he can play Viper too. The man was surgical with the way he used utility and, despite being in a more supportive role, he was easily popping heads left, right, and center. Meanwhile d3ffo was just as deadly with the operator.
Crazy Raccoon couldn’t find an answer against Gambit and in the end, the map ended 13:1 in Gambit’s favor.
Back at Icebox, this was supposedly one of Gambit’s weaker maps. However, you wouldn’t know it by the way they performed here. Again, it was domination on all fronts. This time it was Bogdan “Sheydos” Naumov on Reyna and IGL Igor “Redgar” Vlasov on Sage who popped off. Crazy Raccoon were only able to score a single round win on this map bringing their total to a solid two for the entire series. Munchkin and his teammate Park “Bazzi” Jun-ki secured that round win off of another 3K.
Besides that, it was a massacre of nearly epic proportions. If anything, this was a statement game from Gambit. They’re here to win the tournament as the EMEA’s best and run everyone over.
In the end, the map ended 13:1 in Gambit’s favor.
After the smashing Havan Liberty received against 100T, hopes were not high for their Brazilian brethren Vivo Keyd. Team Envy is a North American team on the rise having shown extremely promising results in VCT NA even after recently bringing in two new players to the team. Their opponents on the other side of the server were the Brazilian Champions. Furia, Vikings, Sharks. These familiar teams all fell to Vivo on their path to glory. Still, the international sentiment was that this would be a very easy group for Team Envy to beat.
Well sentiment be damned because Vivo Keyd really made their opponents sweat for the win.
While Team Envy certainly isn’t the best Icebox team in North America, they can certainly play the map well. Like Vision Strikers before them, this was supposed to be an easy match. Events didn’t turn out that way though as Vivo Keyd immediately shot out of the gate with a strong lead. The Brazilians overwhelmed their North American opponents with a series of blitzkrieg-like attacks and began building momentum. Team Envy looked like they were caught with their pants down as Vivo Keyd continued to further their lead. Olavo ”heat” Marcelo was an absolute monster on the offense. His impact on Jett could be felt throughout the match. It wasn’t just him though, Vivo Keyd as a team had strong fundamentals. Trading and coordination were on point and it was beautiful to watch. At this point, Team Envy knew that they were cornered. They needed a hero.
Fortunately for them, Austin “crashies” Roberts came up clutch.
Trapped in the A site and on an eco round no less, crashies took down all five fully armed Brazilians. It was an ace clutch and it was the play of the tournament so far. That was the kind of play that could reverse a team’s fortunes and after that Team Envy started kicking into high gear. The half ended up being 8:4 with VK in the lead, but it didn’t take long for NV to start catching up. On their attackers side, the North Americans began hitting their stride. Star player Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker nicknamed “El Diablo” began forcing duels against his counterpart heat and winning. Both stars continued to go back and forth. Whoever got the first pick would usually end up winning the round for their team.
Sure enough, two consecutive rounds won by Vivo got them to twelve. It was do or die for NV, but they managed to force the first overtime of the tournament. The back and forth continued until finally NV took the map with a decisive offensive push onto the A site.
In the end, the map ended 15:13 in Team Envy’s favor.
This map was a more sorted affair for Team Envy. Having been put in a rude awakening in the last game, this time it was the North Americans who started out strong with six consecutive round wins against their Brazilian opponents. It looked like NV were done messing around and wanted to power through this quickly. IGL Pujan “FNS” Mehta was running circles around VK with his calling, often catching them off guard with unexpected lurks.
By the seventh round, however, VK started biting back. Along with heat, Gabriel “v1xen” Martins became an insurmountable wall. He held NV’s continued attacks at bay with numerous multi-kills. It was clear that Vivo Keyd were a team that weren’t gonna let themselves get run over. They were here to redeem Brazil’s performance in the last international event and their determination definitely showed in this series. The second half started going VK’s way, but NV quickly put a stop to that once they were able to fully buy. From there it was another back and forth exchange of rounds. Unfortunately for VK, their economy couldn’t sustain the war of attrition and by round 19, the Brazilians were on the backfoot. Despite having inferior weaponry, the team came up big by winning out the round on the back of Jonathan “JhoW” Glória and Lucas “ntk” Martins defeating NV with mere pistols.
That was the last round VK would get. After that, NV struck back and took three more to win the game and the series. What a series it was though. The Brazilians made it close, but in the end, the map ended 13:9 in Team Envy’s favor.
Well, day 2 is over. The favorites still won out, but the underdogs sure made it close. Well, mostly. Still, the fun is just starting. Day 3 is coming up and there are gonna be some real exciting matches heading your way soon, so make sure you don’t miss out!
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David "Miles David" Josiah
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