Both teams will move on to the playoffs
Despite already having qualified for the playoffs, the match between Acend and FunPlus Phoenix today was an important one. The winner of this series would secure a top two finish in the EMEA Challengers group stage, a higher seed in the playoffs and ofcourse the bragging rights in the highly competitive EMEA region.
Acend picked Bind while FunPlus Phoenix went for Breeze. The final map of the series was Split. Before this series, both FunPlus Phoenix and Acend were tied at 3-1, although FunPlus Phoenix had a massive round difference. Acend took down FunPlus Phoenix in what was a very exciting series for Valorant fans. Even though Acend won, Zeek feels they were not playing at their full potential - he thinks they are playing at around 60% of their potential and one of the ways to improve is via the pistol rounds.
In the post-match interview, Aleksander "zeek" Zygmunt spoke about the team's biggest weakness right now. Despite winning the series and a strong individual performance Zeek says Acend could do with some improvements on their pistol round.
"I think our biggest weakness is we just can’t close pistol rounds. If we start winning pistol rounds, no one can match us. Except maybe Fnatic. They are the best team in the whole universe."
Acend start strong on Bind
Acend started off strong with a 5-0 start on the attacking side. The team looked extremely comfortable on its map pick of Bind, sometimes forcing the FPX players to over-rotate. But FPX still managed to claw back four rounds in the first half, narrowly avoiding the 9-3 curse.
In the second half, FPX won the first couple of rounds, but Acend had a flawless defense thereafter. Starxo and MONSTEERR put up valiant performances for Acend with ACS of 256 and 255 respectively.
The SUYGETSU show
Even though Acend won its map pick, the game was far from over. FunPlus Phoenix bounced back on Breeze with a very dominant attacking side. Acend mounted a comeback, winning six consecutive rounds in the second half. But the 9-3 lead proved too much for them to handle.
FunPlus Phoenix won Breeze with a 13-9 score, levelling the series and taking us to the decider. Dmitry "SUYGETSU" Ilyushin led FunPlus Phoenix on Breeze with 35 kills and a 402 ACS.
Acend snatch victory in nail biting finish
The decider match was Split where FPX continued its dominance. However, after losing the first few rounds, Acend’s read on the FPX playstyle led them to win seven rounds in the first half. The small lead was quickly gone as FPX and Acend went toe to toe in the final few rounds of the map of the EMEA Challengers group stage.
On some occasions, we saw FPX also get a good read on Acend’s playstyle, gambling on one site. On a few occasions, this was the right call and FPX defense stood tall. After 9-8 the two teams traded rounds, but Acend was ahead with a lead of two rounds, closing in on that precious 13. Acend took the series with a 2-1 score, winning the final map 13-10.
On the final map, Starxo was particularly impressive, mostly on the attacking side. He finished the series with 18 kills and MONSTEERR with 22 kills.
With this victory, Acend move on to the second place in the EMEA Challengers group, just behind Fnatic. The undefeated Fnatic roster will play against G2 in its final match of the group stage.