An action-packed third day of group stage at the 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 1 Masters tournament in Reykjavík saw a second team qualify for the playoffs while two others got sent home.
In yet another day full of 2-0 sweeps, South Korea's DRX dominated Brazil's Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) to become the second group stage team to secure a spot in the playoffs after Team Liquid became the first squad to do so on Day 2.
Meanwhile, Argentina's KRÜ Esports and Europe's Fnatic were sent packing after getting swept in their elimination matches against North America's OpTic Gaming and Japan's ZETA DIVISION respectively.
Here's a recap of all the action that went down today during VCT Masters Reykjavik 2022's Day 3:
DRX 2-0 Ninjas in Pyjamas
DRX opened the Masters Reykjavík group stage by making short work of ZETA DIVISION in a clean 2-0 sweep. Meanwhile, NiP were still fresh from their victory yesterday against Fnatic, marking what might be a resurgence for Brazil's VALORANT scene internationally.
However, the South Korean squad had other plans.
On Icebox, the first map, DRX opened with a commanding lead via a short pistol round despite being on NiP's home turf. NiP managed to level out the field for the next few rounds before getting overwhelmed as DRX cruised to a 13-4 win.
The two teams took to Breeze for game two, with NiP nipping at DRX's heels after a 7-5 first half in favor of the South Koreans.
Despite this, DRX stepped up with various plays and eventually caught NiP in a fatal crossfire, claiming a 13-8 victory to secure a spot in the playoffs.
Match MVP: Kim "stax" Gu-taek
KRÜ Esports 0 – 2 OpTic Gaming
Day 3's second battle saw KRÜ Esports take on OpTic Gaming, both still recovering from their losses in Day 1's opening matches.
But as this match would mark their last chance at reaching the tournament playoffs, tensions were high in both camps.
Game one in Bind opened with KRÜ going on the offensive, but OpTic's strong play kept the Argentinians at bay.
The North American squad then bagged a 8-4 halftime lead then kept up their excellent team play in the second half to eventually take the first map with a 13-5 score.
KRÜ made a comeback in game two at Ascent and led 7-5 after the first half, though OpTic followed close behind via two consecutive clutch wins.
However, as the scores leveled out, OpTic's Puhjan "FNS" Metah, Jaccob "Yay" Whiteaker, and Jimmy "Marved" Nguyen gave their team a push in the second half to take the 13-10 win and send KRÜ Esports packing.
Match MVP: Jaccob "Yay" Whiteaker
FNATIC 0 – 2 ZETA Division
Day 3's final match was another elimination battle, this time between Fnatic and ZETA Division.
After reaching the grand finals of the 2021 VCT Stage 2 Masters, FNATIC's loss to NiP yesterday was a surprise, though many speculated that it was due to the team playing two stand-ins.
Meanwhile, ZETA were looking to recover after a speedy defeat from DRX during Day 1.
After deciding on Fracture as the first map, ZETA started aggressively to gain a 9-3 lead at the half via fast spike plants.
While Fnatic tried their best to keep up and scored four rounds after the side switch, ZETA bounced back with their best round of the tournament yet, resulting in a 13-7 win.
With Icebox as the second map, both teams were tied at 6-6 heading into halftime. Fnatic were looking to pull ahead but ZETA's defense adapted quickly to keep the scores close well into the double digits.
Finally, a crossfire left ZETA's Yuma "Dep" Hashimoto and Fnatic's Jake "Boaster" Howlett in a frantic 1v1.
The thrilling conclusion to the match saw Dep’s Jett pulling off a Blade Storm dash-in to kill Boaster and secure the Japanese team's first 2-0 win and keep their tournament hopes alive.
Match MVP: Koji "Laz" Ushida
With Day 3's results, DRX advance to the playoffs as the first seed of Group A while ZETA are off to battle NiP in the group's decider match.
Meanwhile, Group B's decider will pit OpTic Gaming against Thailand's XERXIA Esports for a much-awaited rematch following the XERXIA's dramatic victory in Day 1.
Unfortunately for Fnatic and KRÜ Esports, they were eliminated from the tournament in 11th-12th place. Both teams will take home US$10,000 and 125 circuit points in consolation.
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) April 13, 2022
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.