After their 2-1 victory over Paper Rex, DRX BuZz spoke to Esports.gg’s Rohan Samal about the team’s performance, what motivates them and the VCT Masters format.
It was the first of December 2021, the start of VCT Champions Berlin, the first ever International Valorant tournament. Featuring the best teams from different regions, one would etch its name in history as the winner of the inaugural tournament. There were many favorites for this event, but there was an enigmatic respect for Vision Strikers, the best team from Korea. They were in Group D along with Fnatic, Full Sense and Cloud9. No matter which way you looked at it, Vision Strikers was the overwhelming favorite to make it out of groups and for many, to go 2-0 in the groups. Their failure to do just that is a painful motivating factor for the players today, says DRX BuZz.
The loss of Champions is a really big motivating factor for us. We've been practicing a lot and putting in a lot of efforts into scrims and practices because we want to overcome the result that we had at Champions.
Some things have changed since then. Vision Strikers joined DRX, Zest returned to the active roster. At VCT Masters Reykjavik, DRX has already moved past the first hurdle, the group stage. They are now guaranteed a top six placement, and are in the upper bracket of the playoffs.
Undefeated till now, DRX”s toughest challenge came against a team they have scrimmed several times in the past few weeks. Paper Rex, the SEA representative, posed repeated challenges to DRX, being the only team to take a map off them.
“I don't think the Reyna pick in particular was unexpected or something that changed the flow of the game” - DRX BuZz
Paper Rex brought out the first Reyna pick in the tournament, a pick Paper Rex D4V41 said was a comfort pick for Jinggg. While Reyna played a substantial role in their victory on Haven, Yu "BuZz" Byung-chul attributes their loss to a lot of individual mistakes.
"I think Haven was a map that we definitely should have won. The main factor in our loss was we made a lot of personal mistakes. I don't think the Reyna pick in particular was unexpected or something that changed the flow of the game. It's just that we allowed mistakes, allowed Reyna to carry the game and sort of Paper Rex's rounds snowball into a win."
Different regions have different playstyles, and Paper Rex is has carved a name for itself with its aggressive 'in-your-face' playstyle. The team refuses to give any space to the opponent, often dictating the pace of the game. DRX, on the other hand, is a very methodical team, with near-perfect utility usage and excellent synergy between the players.
Paper Rex’s Jason "f0rsakeN" Susanto picked yoru in the second map against DRX. The Yoru pick, although not as surprising as the Reyna, allowed Paper Rex to play even more aggressively. Using his teleport, f0rsakeN would regularly go directly on to the site, getting kills and trying to break mayhem within the enemy ranks. After a few hiccup rounds, DRX stabilized understanding and adapted to the Paper Rex playstyle.
"I think the amount of rounds we lost was caused by the fact that we made a lot of personal mistakes we shouldn't have made. So going into the next matches, I think we just have to make sure we don't repeat those mistakes. And if we don't then it will be abn easy one for us"
The Masters Reykjavik format
VCT Masters Reykjavik adopted a slightly different format compared to previous tournaments. The first seeds from the Challengers went directly to the playoffs. While this guarantees a top eight finish for the four first-seeds, it also ensures they do not have the practice when they have to play their first matches.
"I think both cases have advantages and disadvantages. For example if you start in groups you may be able to adapt to the stage and you get a little more time adapting to the stage. If you start in the playoffs you can hide some of your strats and you don't have to show the other team your game plan. If I had to pick one, I think starting in the playoffs is a little bit more advantageous."
BuZz’s opinion echoes G2 Mixwell’s who talked about a tactical advantage and a mechanical disadvantage for teams starting in playoffs.
VCT Masters has seen several upsets through the group stage as well as in the playoffs. Paper Rex took down The Guard while Zeta Division continued their Cinderella run after defeating Team Liquid. One of the favorites, DRX, will face OpTiC Gaming in their next upper bracket match. Valorant fans can catch all the action live on Twitch.