Thai team X10 Esports outlasted Singapore's Team SMG in a five-game thriller in the grand finals of the 2021 Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Southeast Asia Masters Stage 1 tournament on Sunday (21 March) to become Valorant's first regional champions for Southeast Asia.
X10 were one of two teams from Thailand that qualified for SEA Masters Stage 1 through the VCT Challengers events for the country. The squad made short work of Team nxl from Indonesia then KPC from Taiwan in back-to-back 2-0 sweeps to become the event's first finalists.
Meanwhile, Team SMG took the long road to meet X10 in the finals. The Singaporean team initially failed to qualify for SEA Masters Stage 1 after losing in the finals of the Challengers 3 event for Malaysia and Singapore to Timing Monster Gaming (TMG). However, TMG was disqualified on 16 March due to anti-cheat violations from one of their players, with Team SMG being awarded their spot in the event.
Despite not having ample time to prepare for SEA Masters Stage 1, Team SMG overcame NG.Black from Thailand then BOOM Esports from Indonesia to get the chance to take on X10 in the finals.
With a chance to pull off a Cinderella run, Team SMG entered the finals with confidence on their side and took the closely-contested first game of the series on Icebox 13-10. X10 quickly struck back with an excellent 13-6 showing in Bind to tie up the series 1-1.
Team SMG then came out swinging in game three on Split, finishing the first half with a dominant 11-1 round advantage. Despite that massive deficit, X10 showed the resilience that would ultimately carry them to victory in the series by stealing away seven rounds before ultimately bowing out 13-8.
X10 had their backs against the wall after the first half of game four on Ascent, as Team SMG was once again in control with a 9-3 round lead. The Thai squad's resilience carried them to victory this time, as they went on an incredible 10-1 run in the second half to force the finals to a deciding game five.
Team SMG seemed rattled after their loss in game four, as they lost control of the game that would have earned them the championship and the perfect ending to their Cinderella run. X10 sensed blood in the water in game five at Haven, as they finished the first half up 9-3 then held off a late run from Team SMG to cement themselves as the first VCT SEA Masters champions.
With their victory, X10 bagged the grand prize of US$25,000 as well as 100 VCT Circuit points to go towards qualifying for the VCT Champions tournament at the end of the year. Despite falling short of pulling off a perfect Cinderella run, Team SMG still earned US$10,000 and 50 points for their efforts.
With the conclusion of Stage 1 of VCT for Southeast Asia, X10 Esports, Team SMG, and the other teams from the region are already looking ahead towards Stage 2 of the circuit. Stage 2 will notably feature VCT Masters Reykjavik, the Valorant tournament to feature live international competition.
VCT Masters Reykjavík is scheduled from 24-30 May in Reykjavik, Iceland and will gather 10 of the best Valorant teams from around the world to fight for a spot at the Valorant Champions tournament in December.
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