VCT Masters Reykjavík Group Stage Day 1: DRX, Liquid, XERXIA start strong

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XERXIA's Thanachart
XERXIA's Thanachart "Surf" Rungapajaratkul led his team to one of the three 2-0 sweeps to open the group stage of the 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 1 Masters tournament in Reykjavík, Iceland. (Photo: Riot Games via VALORANT Esports)

The 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 1 Masters tournament is finally back in Reykjavík, Iceland, gathering 12 of the best VALORANT teams in the world to compete from 10 to 24 April for a cut of a US$675,000 prize pool.

The first day of the tournament featured the opening matches of the group stage, with all three ending in 2-0 sweeps.

South Korea's DRX opened the action in Group A by sweeping Japan's ZETA DIVISION. Meanwhile, Group B saw Europe's Team Liquid dominate Argentina's KRÜ Esports, while Southeast Asia's XERXIA made short work of North America's OpTic Gaming.

Here's how all the action in Day 1 of the 2022 VCT Masters Reykjavík went down:

Group A:

DRX 2-0 ZETA DIVISION

The VCT Masters Reykjavík Group Stage kicked off in high spirits, as South Korea’s DRX dominated Japan’s ZETA DIVISION on Icebox and Haven en route to a clean 2-0 victory.

With the momentum fueled by Kim “MaKo” Myeong-Kwan notching some 20 kills in the first half, DRX kept up their guard and adapted their playstyle the whole way through, with Zeta feeling the pressure trying to push back, to no avail.

In the end, DRX’s strategy paid off as they came out triumphant in the first match of the Stage 1 Masters.

Match MVP: Kim "MaKo" Myeong-kwan

Group B:

Team Liquid 2-0 KRÜ Esports

After a quick break, Day 1’s second match saw Argentina’s KRÜ Esports paired against the Netherlands-based Team Liquid, who started strong in the first map, Fracture.

KRÜ caught up shortly, going toe-to-toe with Liquid for the better half of the match as their scores one-upped each other.

However, Liquid were ultimately able to lean onto their strengths of being attackers and came out swinging with a clean 2-0 victory.

Backing up this teamplay were some excellent gunplay and saves from Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen and Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom, who made many of the match’s highlights.

Liquid's last encounter with KRÜ in the group stage of VALORANT Champions last December notably had similar results, with Liquid sweeping KRÜ in their opening match then going on to top their group.

Match MVP: Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom

XERXIA 2-0 OpTic Gaming

Finally, Day 1’s last match pit North America’s OpTic Gaming with Thai underdogs XERXIA Esports.

Despite the odds, the series began with XERXIA piling on OpTic for a strong start, eventually securing the opening win on Icebox after quickly finding their footing.

Both teams clawed at each other during game two in Ascent, taking turns to one-up their opponents, with OpTic’s Austin “Crashies” Roberts and XERXIA’s Thanachart “Surf” Rungapajaratkul leading their respective squads.

After a close call, however, XERXIA managed to secure the upset, finishing Day 1 with the day's third consecutive 2-0 win.

Match MVP: Thanachart "Surf" Rungapajaratkul

With Day 1's results, DRX advance to the winner's match of Group A and will await the winners of the match between Fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas. Meanwhile, ZETA DIVISION will face the loser of that match in Group A's first elimination match.

Over in Group B, Liquid will be facing XERXIA in the winner's match while KRÜ will take on OpTic in the group's first elimination match.

The VCT Masters Reykjavík begins with a double-elimination format, where eight of the tournament's 12 participating teams will start their campaigns.

The eight teams are divided into two groups of four, with all losing teams on Day 1 still having another chance to maintain their respective spots in the tournament and bounce back.

On the other hand, the winning teams will continue fighting their way to earn the top two placements in their group and advance to the playoffs.

The playoffs will see the four qualified teams from the Group Stage join 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.

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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