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VALORANT: Paper Rex and LOUD drop down to the lower bracket at the VCT Masters Madrid with losses to Gen.G and Sentinels

Meanwhile, both Gen.G and Sentinels have advanced to the upper bracket finals.

Paper Rex will need to pull off a perfect Lower-bracket run to make it to the Grand Finals. (Photo: Riot Games)
Paper Rex will need to pull off a perfect Lower-bracket run to make it to the Grand Finals. (Photo: Riot Games)

The heat is on at the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Masters Madrid as the Playoffs kicked off with the Upper Bracket Semifinals on Thursday evening (21 March).

While Singaporean powerhouse Paper Rex tried their hardest to avenge their VCT Pacific Kickoff grand finals loss against Gen.G, they were still unable to defeat their South Korean rivals as they were swept in their rematch at Masters Madrid's upper bracket quarterfinals.

Paper Rex drop down to the lower bracket as a result. There, they will be facing LOUD, who got knocked down by regional rivals Sentinels.

Here's how all the action in the opening day of the Masters Madrid Playoffs went down:

Gen.G defeats Paper Rex in a clean 2-0 sweep

Paper Rex secured their berth in Masters Madrid as the second-place finishers in the VCT 2024 Pacific Kickoff, alongside the champions, Gen.G Esports from South Korea.

These two teams represented the Pacific region and were set to compete against six other teams from the Americas, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa), and China.

Masters Madrid kicked off with the Swiss Stage, where each of the eight participating teams aimed to secure two victories against teams from different regions to advance to the Playoffs.

Facing a tough start, Paper Rex faltered in their initial match against China's EDward Gaming, suffering a 1-2 defeat. Then on Monday (18 March), Paper Rex triumphed over Team Heretics with a 2-1 scoreline, marking their first victory of the Group Stage. They continued their momentum by fiercely defeating Karmine Corp 2-1 in a thrilling finale to the Group Stage.

The Singaporean squad struggled throughout the first game on their map pick, Split, with Gen.G overpowering them in the first half 8-4. The Singaporean team did their best to take a few more wins in the second half, but it was not enough, with Gen.G closing out the second half 5-4, to win the game one 13-8.

With momentum on their backs, the South Koreans led with an 8-4 advantage in the first half of the second game on Lotus. And while both teams earned even scores in the second half 5-5, Gen.G still came out on top 13-9, to win the second game and the series, defeating Paper Rex in a clean sweep.

Sentinels secure upper bracket final slot with a 2-1 win over LOUD

Sentinels had a perfect run in the Swiss Stage, stomping on Team Heretics 2-1, and breezing through Karmine Corp 2-0 to secure their Playoffs spot.

Sentinels dominated the first game on Split, taking on the first half 9-3, and giving LOUD no room to breathe 4-1 in the second half.

However, the Brazilian team fought back in the second game on Icebox, with both teams neck and neck in the first half that ended in LOUD’s favour 7-5, and Sentinels catching up in the second half 7-5, to extend the series with a tiebreaker that ended in LOUD’s favour 14-12.

In a close, third game decider on Sunset, both Sentinels and LOUD caught up with each other in the first half, where Sentinels gained the upper hand 7-5.

The North American team pushed their advantage throughout the second half. Backs against the wall, however, LOUD caught up to Sentinels 12-12 to extend the third game to overtime once again.

But the Sentinels once again outplayed LOUD to win the third game, 14-12 and win the series.

Both Gen.G and Sentinels will face each other at the Upper Bracket grand finals, where the winner will secure a grand finals slot.

Meanwhile, both Paper Rex and LOUD were relegated to the lower bracket semifinals, where they will fight for survival and a second chance to gain a grand finals slot.

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.

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