XSET booked their ticket to a finals trip against OpTic with a dominating 2-0 win over 100 Thieves. We spoke to the top fragger of XSET Matthew “Cryocells” Panganiban and 100 Thieves star Derrek “Derrek” Ha after the match
For the first time in XSET’s history, they’re guaranteed a top three placement in the North America VALORANT Champions Tour and one series win away from Masters Copenhagen berth. In XSET’s best performance of the season, they dominated the talented 100 Thieves squad 2-0, snapping the aforementioned ‘fourth-place curse.’
XSET Cryo explodes for 48 kills
“I feel like we got really hard anti-strated today,” said 100 Thieves Derrek in a post-match interview. “I think the fights were going well for us on icebox and we just couldn’t get anything going once they got on a roll. I don’t think we played with each other as well as we did in the previous matches, especially in down situations. And, it doesn't help that Cryo was on a tear”
On a tear is right, as XSET Cryocells ended the set with a staggering 2.29 KD on Jett and Chamber. He continually punished 100 Thieves on defense, finding timings down the middle on Icebox and Ascent, punishing anyone who dared show mid presence. Cryo’s +8 on first kills highlights the major underlying issue within the 100 Thieves gameplan. A game plan that continually got out-read by XSET, making late round comebacks at player disadvantageous a long shot.
For Cryo, it’s a combination of the team being comfortable and experienced heading into these playoffs. “Being comfortable just playing around each other, making sure that we communicate everything, it's really important,” said Cryo post-match.
100 Thieves Derrek on XSET's map picks
Starting the day with two unexpected map choices for XSET spelled doom for a team floating their perma-ban. Yet, Cryo and XSET were surprised at the pick. “I couldn’t believe they picked Ascent into us,” said Cryo. Despite the relatively low number of games played on Ascent for XSET, it was clear that having a main Operator main holding areas by himself limited the 100 Thieves approach.
I asked Derrek if he knew the Ascent pick was a possibility, “we were half expecting it and we were kind of prepped on it,” said Derrek. ”We knew that since they were up 1-0 and there’s not a lot of footage on their Ascent, I thought they'd get creative and take a lot of high-risk, high-reward type plays. We were talking about it before we even went into the map and, yeah, Cryo was…it was just a shooting range for that guy. He was just having a game with the OP.”
Moreover, XSET picked Icebox and ran the Sage-less composition with the double molly, shock dart, and grenade combo. The utility heavy composition contained the 100 Thieves attack, limiting them to four rounds total in the second half. 100T found eight plants on Icebox, but it required a huge commitment of utility to push into sites. XSET farmed on the re-takes with constant clean executions.
Derrek imagines a new approach to the map, more aligned with XSET’s playstyle. “I think it was more on us and how we played against it,” said Derrek. “We talked about it already and were definitely going to pick our playstyle revolving around Sage-less comps in regards to actually denying the plant really heavily or saving certain until for once they get the bomb down.”
XSET and 100 Thieves moving closer to Copenhagen
With one game separating XSET from Copenhagen and three for 100 Thieves, the pressure of these matches continues to rise. XSET have been in this exact situation in the past and the win has eluded them against superior competition. However, with more experience under their belt and better form, a Masters ticket is feeling almost inevitable.
“This is my first competitive game," Cryo said. "So, this is still all new to me. And, it would mean a lot to make it to Masters.”
We talked about it already and were definitely going to pick our playstyle revolving around Sage-less comps in regards to actually denying the plant really heavily or saving certain until for once they get the bomb down
Flipping over to 100 Thieves, despite the bad loss, they remain a team that’s defied expectations all season. Falling down to losers bracket applies the pressure, but Derrek doesn’t feel it heading into the rematch against FaZe.
“It’s just business as usual,” said Derrek. “We know how good we are and I definitely think we exceeded expectations for fans and also those doubters, but as a team we know, especially with the coaching staff that we have behind us. We know how good we can be and we don't want to use the time together as an excuse anymore. We just got to put our heads down and well be a lot better”
XSET will face the World Champions OpTic Gaming for a Masters berth next week. While 100 Thieves will play an elimination match tomorrow against FaZe.
“I don’t know why we’re playing them again. The bracket is just weird. I’m just hoping that we don’t start down 3-9 every map. We’re definitely going to watch over the stuff and hope that Babybay and Dicey are off their game. And we did it once, I'm sure we can do it again”