FPX ANGE1 and teammates eliminate the reigning champs, Optic Gaming, in a quick 3-1 victory with a round differential of +11. Paper Rex will face FPX in the Masters Copenhagen Finals.
The long, arduous road for Europe's FunPlus Phoenix has been paved by trials and tribulations. Playing the first four Masters Copenhagen matches with a stand-in and being strong enough to advance past groups showed a team with unbending confidence. In every interview and press conference, FPX speaks with an unrefined cockiness, but always backs up their talk with results.
FPX one win away from VALORANT history
After sending the reigning Masters champs Optic home, winning by a map score of 3-1, FPX has moved one step away from a Masters championship. A trophy that FPX wasn't granted the ability to compete for back at Reykjavik and now are a Paper Rex best-of-five win away from earning it outright.
"If we were able to go to Iceland, I think we would've been able to show how good we are a lot sooner," said FPX ardiis. "Guess we just have to do it on our own time."
Every step of the way, FPX has dominated in 2022. With or without their full starting roster, FPX has virtually only been bested by Fnatic, but almost unbeaten with Dmitry "SUYGETSU" Ilyushin in the lineup otherwise. At Masters Copenhagen, they haven't dropped a game since his return, even eliminating Fnatic in the process.
"We've had some bad luck," said FPX head coach d00mbr0s. "Things didn't go right and at the start we had to play with a stand-in, so I think our journey to this point has been amazing and stressful, I would say. But, I’m glad, we’re all keeping our heads cool and just being that we could make it through group stage and then we got our full roster completely, we can win"
The return of Suygetsu
Moreover, FPX has a roster with a top-five player at virtually every position. Ardis "ardiis" Svarenieks said so himself in a press conference, showing how deep this team runs from top to bottom. Luckily, even without arguably their most valuable asset, Suygetsu, the team could still function at a high level.
With Suygetsu, they've been a terror for teams out of Korea, Europe, and now North America. The margin of victory has increased in each subsequent win. The team is starting to regain that level of execution we saw out of them prior to Reykjavík. With Suygetsu able to engage and win aim duels, the team has five players all playing peak VALORANT at the right time.
FPX Suygetsu stats (stats via vlr.gg)
- Agents: Killjoy, Sage, Viper
- Rounds: 242
- ACS: 215.4 (17th)
- KD: 1.23 (7th)
- KAST: 76% (6th)
- ADR: 144.6 (15th)
- KPR: 0.81 (8th)
Furthermore, no team has played as many maps or rounds as FPX at Copenhagen. In total, FPX has played 22 maps (14-8) and a ridiculous 456 rounds in a little under two weeks. Even Suygetsu who showed up in the playoffs is already at 242 rounds. In essence, FPX played a lot, but they realized how close they were to the finish line.
When asked what the experience has been like for FPX in Copenhagen, head coach Erik "d00mbr0s" Sandgren expressed his exhaustion with ardiis and Kyrylo "ANGE1" Karasov interjecting.
"Tired. Our road here has been..." said d00mbros.
"The longest one," ardiis interjected
"The maximum amount of matches. You can’t have played more than us," said ANGE1
FPX on facing Paper Rex in the Masters Copenhagen Final
At the start of the event, no one had pegged these two teams as potential finalists. FPX roster was still in limbo and Paper Rex was strictly known as the Yoru team to more casual fans.
Now with both teams with a chance to make history tomorrow, the world is forced to pay attention. In the case of FPX planning for Paper Rex, it's on them to stymie their aggressive, lurk heavy playstyle
FPX IGL ANGE1 spoke on being prepared at every moment for a Paper Rex player to sneak up and take a fight.
"Their play style is super unusual. They just take an aggressive round from each team and they’re taking it all and playing the same game. So basically, we need to prepare for any aggressive round at any point or moment and not being too surprised when someone will just run out at us at random times"
That's the Paper Rex formula. Constantly putting teams on the defense by having to account for potential flanks and pushes. Mechanically speaking, no other teams have as many proficient riflers as these two teams. The gun rounds with ANGE1's anti-stratting and Benedict "Benkai" Tan finding spots in the FPX game plan to exploit with aggression are going to be truly explosive rounds of VALORANT.
"For me, I have the feeling we will have to play perfectly as a team and play really tight together and we’re good on re-frags. That’s at least my feeling that they are a team that as long as you show some cracks, they're going to run you over, but if you can stay tight and play a good game then it's going to be a bit easier."
FPX will face Paper Rex in the finale of Masters Copenhagen Sunday, July 24th at 8am PST