VCT Masters Reykjavík Day 7: ZETA upset Liquid, Paper Rex send The Guard home

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ZETA DIVISION's Tenta
ZETA DIVISION's Tenta "TENNN" Asai and Paper Rex's Jason "f0rsakeN" Susanto showed out as their teams survived the first round of playoff elimination matches in Day 7 of the 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 1 Masters tournament in Reykjavík, Iceland. (Photo: Riot Games via VALORANT Esports)

Day 7 of the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 1 Masters tournament in Reykjavík, Iceland saw its first elimination phase for the playoffs.

Japanese underdogs ZETA DIVISION kept their tournament hopes alive as they upset Europe's Team Liquid, 2-1 while Singapore's Paper Rex (PRX) cut short the journey of North America’s The Guard in a 2-0 sweep.

In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap of all the action that went down during VCT Stage 1 Masters Reykjavík's Day 7.

Lower Bracket Round 1:

ZETA DIVISION 2 - 1 Team Liquid

ZETA are no strangers to going down and getting back up. Since the start of the tournament, the Japanese underdogs have continuously weathered the storm with alternating wins and losses, risking elimination each time.

Meanwhile, Team Liquid’s strong start in the tournament turned them into crowd favorites, only for Brazilian superteam LOUD to drop them in the lower brackets during Day 5's 2-1 slugfest.

ZETA and Liquid then opened their elimination match in Fracture, where an unrelenting ZETA quickly took three rounds in a row thanks to Tenta “TENNN” Asai’s performance and picks. By his side was Shota “SugarZ3ro” Watanabe, who extended their lead to four with his picks.

After a flawless round and a Triple Kill with a Shorty by SugarZ3ro, ZETA continued forward, with Liquid only getting their first win on round nine. As a result, the two teams went into halftime with ZETA leading by 10-2.

Liquid eventually showed up in the second half, thanks to a 4k and flawless round by Adil “SCreaM” Benrlitom. The team’s performance only went up from there, trimming their Japanese opponents' lead from 11-7 down to 10-2.

But after a timeout by ZETA, TENNN surprised everyone by rushing onto the site and accidentally killing himself with a bomb, right before Yuma “Dep” Hashimoto won a clutch against Dom “soulcas” Sulcas for a thrifty.

ZETA then closed things out in the next round, taking Fracture in a 13-7 victory.

The tables would turn in the second map Haven, as Liquid won an early lead off the back of Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom’s early picks. Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen quickly followed it up with a nice Quad Kill, giving Liquid the upper hand they were looking for.

In an effort to gain control of the map, ZETA’s SugarZ3ro won a clutch, swiftly followed by a Killjoy ult from Koji “Laz” Ushida.

Despite that, however, Liquid would continue to dominate the match’s latter half and would close out Haven at 13-4 to set the stage for a decider.

ZETA found comfortable footing in game three on Split, where they handily won the first few rounds. It wasn’t until round five that Liquid would get their first round win.

After some round trades followed by a three-round streak from Liquid, both teams ended the first half tied at 6-6, although ZETA went on to lead after that.

As they reached 10-6, ZETA continued clutching rounds and pushing, with Liquid catching up with a big thrifty win.

However, despite their best efforts, an amazing ace from SugarZ3ro closed the round at 13-7, letting ZETA move into the next round against one of the losers of the upper bracket semis.

Match MVP: Shota "SugarZ3ro" Watanabe

Paper Rex 2 - 0 The Guard

For the day's second elimination match, PRX faced off against The Guard.

Despite both teams automatically securing a spot in the tournament playoffs, they were immediately dropped to the lower bracket following losses to DRX and OpTic Gaming respectively.

The match kicked off on Haven, with PRX taking the first two rounds for themselves with 7 kills to boot.

The Guard responded with a round of their own right after, thanks to a 2v3 win from Trent “trent” Cairns and Ha “Sayaplayer” Jung-woo.

From there, the teams traded blows, but it was still PRX that held onto the lead.

A flawless from Sayaplayer moved The Guard up one round, but a Quad Kill clutch from Jason "f0rsakeN" Susanto swung the momentum back to PRX’s direction.

Finally, a crucial flank from Benedict “Benkai” Tan put PRX up 8-4 at halftime.

The following pistol round was also dominated by PRX, although the Guard followed it up with fast plants and great utility to secure some wins of their own and climb up to 11-7.

However, time ran out as PRX put themselves on map point just shortly after a timeout.

Luckily, the opposing team kept the battle going, as The Guard hits double digits at 12-10. But just as when things were finally looking up, fOrsakeN bagged a collateral and won PRX the map at 13-10.

For the second game on Split, PRX started strong, managing to plant very quickly after getting four picks.

However, The Guard were unfazed as a wallbang from Jonah “JonahP” Pulice resulted in a Triple Kill, putting their team in the lead for the first time today.

After a PRX timeout, the Singaporean squad bounced back with a clutch from fOrsakeN and Aaron “mindfreak” Leonhart, although a Triple Kill and thrifty from Jacob “valyn” Batio then tied the game at 4-4.

A couple more trade-offs between the two teams would push another tie at 6-6, right before halftime.

The Guard finally won their first pistol round of the series right after, only to be quickly foiled by a thrifty off of fOrsakeN’s Marshal.

A frenzy of unexpected plays from PRX followed, catching The Guard by surprise and pushing them off-balance, pushing the map at 11-7 with the former in the lead.

Sayaplayer stopped the bleeding with a 3k, although PRX would reach match point shortly thereafter.

Finally, Paper Rex finished the game at 13-8, marking a 2-0 sweep against the Guard for their first international series win.

Match MVP: Wang Jing "Jinggg" Jie

With today's results, ZETA DIVISION and Paper Rex move on to the second round of the lower bracket, where they will be facing the losers of the upper bracket semifinals.

ZETA will be pit against the loser of the match between G2 Esports and LOUD while PRX will take on the loser of the showdown between DRX and OpTic Gaming.

Meanwhile, Team Liquid and The Guard have been eliminated in 7th-8th place, with both teams taking home US$25,000 and 200 circuit points as consolation.

VCT Masters Reykjavík is now in its playoff stage. Four qualified teams from the group stage joined the four high-seeded teams in a double-elimination bracket, with all teams starting in the upper bracket.

All matches in the playoffs will be a best-of-3, except for the lower bracket finals and the grand finals, which will be best-of-5 series.

The champions of VCT Masters Reykjavík will claim the lion's share of US$200,000 out of the US$675,000 prize pool as well as 750 circuit points.

Feb has been trying to speedrun Super Mario 64 ever since he started playing video games at 11 years old. He has never succeeded, but has completed other video games in the time since. When not playing, he's usually playing music or building Gunpla.

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