Masters Berlin: Group Stage Day 3
9/13/2021, 8:35:30 AM
Finally the day we’ve all been waiting for. The western rivalry between NA and EU was getting very heated on social media and Day 3 is the first time the two regions would meet on the server. Could we ask for a better series of matches in Masters 3: Berlin? Before that however, there was also a scuffle between Japan and LATAM. As far as entertainment goes, we couldn’t ask for a better show. Every single series went the distance with a total of nine maps played throughout the day.
KRÜ Esports took on ZETA DIVISION and ended up taking down the Japanese Squad 2:1. Meanwhile, defending champions Sentinels had a throw down with EU challengers G2 Esports. Although SEN did end up winning the series 2:1, G2 managed to be the first team to win a map against them on LAN. Finally we saw 100 Thieves take on EMEA champions Gambit Esports in one of the most epic series of all time. The ”built for LAN” team definitely delivered with one of the best comebacks in VALORANT history.
Now without further ado, let’s take a quick look at what happened.
Before the main course is the appetizer and both Krü and Zeta definitely put on a show. The series was back and forth all things considered, but the LATAM representatives were the ones to move on to the upper bracket in the end with a 2-1 score line. At least Zeta can take comfort in the fact that they were the first Japanese team to finally score a map win for the region.
Back on Ascent for the first map of the series, Krü immediately pulled ahead with a strong attacking side that only saw their opponents take one single round. It was very reminiscent of the Gambit vs Crazy Raccoon series that happened on day 2 of the group stages. Fortunately for the Japanese fans watching, Zeta did not go down without a fight. The lead was a bit too much to overcome, but the fact that Zeta was still able to accrue seven round wins meant that they weren’t as outmatched as some would think after seeing the first half.
Everyone on Krü definitely performed, but Angelo “keznit” Mori and Joaquín Ignacio “delz1k” Espinoza Soto topped the scoreboard with twenty and nineteen frags respectively. On the other side, Koji “Laz” Ushida was the one popping heads and making a name for himself.
13:8 ended up being the final score line with Krü winning out.
The second map was Split, a first for the tournament. Zeta Division made a substitution and brought in Ryo “barce” Takebayashi to the starting line up in the place of Akatsuki “makiba” Miyamoto. It could have been the fresh start, roster change, or the momentum from the second half of the first game. Whatever the case may be, Zeta proceeded to dominate right out of the gates. The Japanese team scored seven in a row on their attacking side before Krü managed to turn things around with a streak of their own. When the sides were flipped, Zeta became unbreakable. Their defensive half saw six more round wins to close out the map in overwhelming fashion.
Laz was once again a stand out performer, but this time teammate Shogo “takej” Takemori would join him at the top of the leaderboard.
Split ended with a victorious Zeta boasting a dominant 13:5 score line.
With the win within reach, both Zeta and Krü gave it their all to win the series. Another substitution was made by Zeta, barce stepped out and makiba came back in. The first half of the game was a back and forth between the two teams. Krü ended up pulling ahead after winning the bonus round, but Zeta were quick to strike back. Keznit ended up being one of the key factors that really pulled the LATAM team ahead in the series. His Raze was nigh unstoppable and almost always good for at least a multi-kill before going down.
The half ended with a 7:5 score. It was fairly close between the two teams before Krü began to really pull ahead after winning the second pistol. From there, Krü started taking it all. Zeta could only manage two round wins before faltering to their opponents.
Nicolas “Klaus” Ferrari was a special standout, especially in the second half. Keznit and he really forced the map open again and again. Zeta just couldn’t find an answer against the aggressive duo.
With that, the map ended 13:7 in Krü’s favor. It was a close series by many accounts, but it was the Latin Americans who played better on the day.
Social media was exploding with hype for the fight between these two teams. On one side was Sentinels, the current best team in the world and on the other side was G2, a team that fell off after First Strike only to claw their way back to relevance with strong performances in VCT EMEA. The banter was back and forth, but would the games be like that as well? Or would Sentinels just steamroll past their European opponents? Well, the favorites did end up winning out but G2 definitely did not make it easy. At least at first…
Once again we make our way to Split. The battle lines were drawn and the teams were ready for war. After all, this wasn’t just about going to the next stage. Regional pride was on the line, but unfortunately for the Europeans, the first map of the series ended up being a bit of a stomp. G2 just couldn’t seem to find any headway into the map. Even when they broke their opponents’ economy, Sentinels would somehow find a way to win the following save round. For the whole map, it felt like the North Americans could simply do no wrong.
Then when it came to the second half, G2 found themselves hitting the brick wall that was Sentinel’s defense. IGL Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan was absolutely on fire with perfect reads on his G2’s plans and crisp, clean shots.
In the end, the map ended 13:6 in Sentinels’ favor.
With the first map out of the way, G2 found themselves on the backfoot. Thankfully, the team managed to steady themselves and started to punch back. Icebox was their map pick and the players were ready to show why. Cista “keloqz” Wassim and Žygimantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas came alive on the map. Redemption was at hand and G2 reached out to take it. They were dominant in the first half and were able to close things out cleanly in the second half.
For Sentinels’ part, they had decent showing but definitely weren’t playing up to par. Tyson “TenZ” Ngo on Reyna was a beast as usual, but it just wasn’t enough to carry the North Americans over the line. Whatever happened, Sentinels faltered as a team and G2 took full advantage of that. What was supposed to be a stomp ended up becoming a series as G2 found themselves pulling out a win on their map pick with a 13:8 score line.
For the first time in history, Sentinels lost a map on an International LAN.
The last map of the series was Haven, one of Sentinels’ best maps and they sure showed why. The first half was pure dominance. The North Americans scored a victory for eight out of the total twelve rounds played. Hunter “SicK” Mims went absolutely bonkers on his signature Phoenix, getting kill after kill after kill. His teammate Tenz wasn’t too far behind. Together, the two laid waste to G2’s attempted attacks. It was pure, utter dominance on Sentinel’s part. G2 was only allowed a single round win in their entire attacking side.
Then the second half happened. Like Zeta before them, G2 began mounting a comeback. After winning the pistol and force buy then losing the bonus round, the best the Europeans could hope for was overtime. They almost came close, but the lead was just too steep of a hill to climb.
In the end, Sentinels won with a 13:8 score line.
The final series of the day is a must watch.100 Thieves found themselves barely hanging on by a thread and Gambit was just about to throw the North American team off the edge. But resilience and determination won out in the end. Against all odds, 100 Thieves managed to prevail against the EMEA champions in one of the closest series of the tournament so far.
The first map ended up not going 100T’s way as Gambit stood strong in the face of their opponent’s aggressive defense. The North Americans tried to exploit Gambit’s slow playstyle by forcing them into aim duels early in the rounds. It didn’t work. The Russians held fast and stopped the aggression in its tracks. Traditionally, the EMEA champions were a strong defense oriented team with a weak attacking side. They ended their first half with a positive score line of 7:5. Nikita “d3ffo” Sudakov, despite being considered to be one of the more reserved Jett Opers, came out swinging with some extremely impressive outplays.
Once the side switch came, 100T just couldn’t find an opening. Gambit’s retakes and defenses were a thing of beauty. It was a master class of patience and fortitude from the Russians and the North Americans were simply outclassed as a team. Even Ethan “Ethan” Arnold‘s heroic efforts were not enough to turn things around.
In the end, Gambit smashed with a 13:5 score line.
With Icebox on the horizon, surely 100T would pick themselves up. This was their map pick and Gambit was known to be weaker on the map. However, again the Russians defied all expectations. Their offensive half on the map was nearly unstoppable. In addition to d3ffo running rampant, star player Bogdan “Sheydos” Naumov began stepping up as well. Gambit rampaged through 100T’s defenses. Whatever rounds the North Americans picked up were by the skin of their teeth. They simply couldn’t match their Russian opponents. Soon enough, the team found themselves staring at a six round deficit and a trip to their group’s lower bracket.
It didn’t help that Gambit won the next two rounds after the side switch.
So that was it. Gambit was two rounds away from clinching the series. 100 Thieves were on the brink. At this point, even a hero wouldn’t save them. They would need a miracle and the North Americans needed to craft that miracle themselves.
And so they did.
Round after round, 100T grinded their way back from the edge. Through grit and determination, they persevered and won ten straight rounds in a row to force match point against Gambit. The twenty-fourth round came down to the wire. If Gambit won, then the match would extend to overtime. Sure enough, the opening kills went Gambit’s way and 100T were forced into a desperate push onto the B-site. The spike was planted and the retake was on. Two went down and only Spencer “Hiko” Martin remained with low health against three Gambit members.
We could explain what happened next, but we want to let the clip speak for itself.
A 1v3 clutch to win the map for his team. 100T ended the map with a 13:11 score line and guaranteed a decider map for the series.
With their heads held high after a stunning comeback, 100T headed into Split and proceeded to lay a beat down onto Gambit. The script was flipped and it was Gambit who now found themselves facing a 9:3 score line by the end of the first half. The North Americans played their defensive half to near perfection. Hot shot young gun Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk showed a strong performance and the rest of his teammates weren’t too far behind him.
Now after that dominant showing, the question remained… could Gambit show the same amount of resilience as their opponents did in the last map?
The answer was yes.
The side change came and Gambit began scaling up the steep hill that was 100T’s lead after successfully dismantling the North American’s force buy in the fourteenth round of play. Things were tense on the North American side as the score line began to get closer. They only needed four more rounds to win, but they were hard to come by in the face of Gambit’s famously strong defense.
Yet those rounds eventually came to 100T in the most unexpected of circumstances.
The final round came down to a fully armed Gambit vs a 100T with a broken economy and a half buy. Despite the disadvantage, the North Americans powered through their opponents and ended the map with a 13:10 score line. It was an amazing series for the North Americans as they earned the right to advance to the next round of play.
Day 3 was full of exciting moments and it’s only gonna get better from here on out as teams continue to fight for the chance to get to the playoffs. Make sure you don’t miss out because Day 4 is right around the corner.
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David "Miles David" Josiah
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