VCT Korea Stage 3: Playoffs Semifinals Preview
8/7/2021, 9:07:33 PM
The round of eight for VCT Korea just wrapped up and what an explosive two days it was. The top four have made it through the bracket and we’re so close to knowing who will be the Korean representatives at Masters 3: Berlin. Vision Strikers, TNL, F4Q, and DAMWON Kia have all made it through. Only one Best of three (BO3) series is separating these teams from guaranteeing themselves a showing on the international stage. The skill gap between these teams is now almost non-existent and if the last series was anything to go by, then expect some heart stopping matchups because everyone will be pulling out all the stops.
It’s do or die.
The playoffs bracket is now as follows:
So without further adieu, let’s dive in and take a quick look at the matchups for the semifinals!
For those who don’t know, let’s get some history out of the way first. The core players of TNL used to play under the banner of the Vision Strikers org with the team name Quantum Strikers before getting signed by their current organization. Since the start of the Korean VALORANT pro circuit, TNL Esports has never won a map against Vision Strikers. Now they have a chance to turn things around. Seeing the way that the team handled WGS gives us hope that they can really make this series competitive. On the other hand, this is Vision Strikers we’re talking about here. Even though both teams are coming off an 8-series win streak, VS has just been looking nigh unstoppable. They have yet to drop a single map in the tournament, never mind a series.
If TNL have been hiding any crazy strats or tactics, now would definitely be the best time to pull them out. They do have a lot of firepower to draw from along with an IGL who’s not afraid to make plays for his team. However, make no mistake, this will be the toughest challenge that the team has to overcome. This series will probably be even harder than the Grand Finals if they make it there.
Meanwhile, Vision Strikers are hungry. The number 1 team in Korea missed out on performing on the International arena after losing to NUTURN in Stage 2 of VCT. Now they arguably have an easier road to Berlin and a stronger roster that has seemingly made them much more adaptable to any circumstance. They definitely don’t want to let this chance slip by. Almost everyone is eager to see them make it to Masters 3. Anything less than 1st place would be considered a huge disappointment.
Prediction: Vision Srikers 2-0
Despite TNL’s great showing so far in the tournament, Vision Strikers just seem to be a tier above everyone else right now. That’s not to say that it’s completely doomed for TNL, but their players really have to be on point in the server if they even want a chance at advancing through to the finals.
Players to look out for: Kim “MaKo” Myeong-kwan and Goo “Rb” Sang-min for Vision Strikers. Park “exy” Geun-cheol, and Kim “Meteor” Tae-o.
After an extremely close quarter final series, DAMWON Kia emerged victorious against the defending champions NUTURN. Now they’ll be facing off against F4Q, the dream stream team of Korea. We expect this to be a very close series.
F4Q has shown a lot of change over the months: From starting out as a team of streamers looking to just make fun content, to now becoming real competitors that look like they have a shot to win it all. Their explosive playstyle makes every round look like a highlight montage. However, throughout the entire tournament, it feels as though they’ve never really been challenged. The team tore through the group stage and quarterfinals with ease using one playstyle, but now they’re going to be facing a team with the mental fortitude of steel. Two questions come to mind: What will they do if their usual antics don’t work anymore? Will they be able to adapt?
Coming into this tournament, everyone had expected DK to dominate as the supposed third best team in Korea, but instead they struggled. They dropped into the lower bracket of the main group stage and are the only team in the top 4 who entered the playoffs with the lower seed. Series after series, the team has looked better and better. No longer are they dependent on their star player. Everyone is starting to really come into their own. Not only that, they’ve also shown a strong sense of determination and will. This is a team that doesn’t give up when the going gets tough and it really showed in their quarterfinals match against NUTURN.
So what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object?
Prediction: F4Q 2-1
This series could honestly go either way. However, Damwon Kia has shown that it takes a bit of time for them to get things rolling. F4Q is definitely a team that can exploit that and snowball things to a quick victory. However, if the series ends up becoming a messy back-and-forth affair, then that may end up being favorable to DK. Despite slow starts, they’ve also shown a tremendous amount of discipline that could give them the edge in the midst of chaos.
Players to look out for: Chase “Bunny” Jun-hyuk and Yoo “FiveK” Sung-min for F4Q. Kim “t3xture” Na-ra and Kang “iNTRO” Seung-gyun.
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David "Miles David" Josiah
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