Day 3 of Masters Berlin saw Japan win their first-ever map on LAN, Sentinels lose their first, and a huge 100T comeback against Gambit.
Day 3 of VALORANT Masters Berlin promised to be the biggest of the tournament so far. Things would kick off with a battle of two regional champions, Japan's ZETA DIVISION vs. LATAM's KRÜ Esports. Later on, we were promised a Sentinels-G2 rivalry matchup, and the first truly marquee international game of the event with 100 Thieves taking on Gambit. How did things turn out?
Japan wins their first-ever international map
The first match of the day at Masters Berlin ended up being quite close. Japan's first seed ZETA DIVISION took on LATAM's champions, KRÜ Esports. KRÜ started off dominant, winning the first half of Ascent 11-1. Koji "Laz" Ushida was ZETA's only saving grace, and he led them to a bit of a comeback in the second half. It wasn't enough though, and the map ended 13-8.
Map 2 was the big newsmaker. ZETA came out firing on all cylinders on Split, and never looked back en route to a 13-5 win. With Crazy Raccoon going 0-4 at Masters Reykjavik, and 0-2 against Gambit yesterday, it marks Japan's first-ever map win in international LAN VALORANT.
Ultimately, KRÜ would close it out on Bind, 13-7. They'll advance to play Envy for a spot in playoffs. However, it was the massive Japanese community that made ZETA and their achievements the focus of this match.
G2 take a map off Sentinels, but still fall
We certainly got a healthy dose of social media banter heading into the first EU-NA matchup of the tournament. But this was still Sentinels, high-flying tournament favourites, against EMEA's fourth seed.
Split was the first map, and it went solidly in favour of the North American squad. Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan put up a monstrous 369 ACS to deliver the team a 13-6 win. Icebox, however, was much different.
G2 opened up to a large lead on their attacking half. They seemed to have a read on Sentinels like no team had shown yet. Despite a mid-game comeback, G2 closed it out 13-8 to give Sentinels their first-ever map loss in international play.
Eventually, Sentinels would return things to normalcy. They dominated Haven, opening up to an 11-1 lead after the first half. G2 got something of a comeback going, but the lead was insurmountable. At 13-8, Sentinels took the win 2-1.
Speaking to Masters Berlin press after the game, G2's Žygimantas "nukkye" Chmieliauskas said Sentinels' play style made it really hard to match up against them. "When they have a snowball effect on their team, they hit amazing shots, and it's really hard to do anything against it. They just kill us all."
100 Thieves take down Gambit in the most high-stakes Masters Berlin match yet
In the final match of the day, we had 100 Thieves taking on Gambit. It was a match with huge implications - Europe's 1st seed vs. North America's second, with the winner becoming the first team in the event to advance to the playoffs. The first map, Ascent, was all Gambit. They controlled play the whole way through, dominating in a 13-5 win.
Icebox looked like more of the same. Gambit opened up to an 11-3 lead, and the series looked over. But then, the comeback began. 100 Thieves won 10 straight rounds to bring us to map 3.
While Split was relatively close, it was clear that one team was no longer in it. 100 Thieves put together a 9-3 defensive half, and despite Gambit's best efforts, kept ahead to take it home 13-10. It was a stellar comeback. With the win, 100 Thieves become the first team qualified for playoffs and will face a second seed from another group in their next match. They won't play again until Friday or Saturday.
"I just don't even know what happened," Gambit's Ayaz "nAts" Akhmetshin said on the 100T Icebox comeback. "The most important thing is that we just couldn't kill them at all. They're just coming, they're just killing us. The score was 11-3, and we just stopped killing them, I guess."
"We had some game plans going into the first map, Ascent," 100 Thieves' Spencer "Hiko" Martin detailed when asked why the series was so tense. "They kind of threw a curveball at us, changing their comp. Ascent didn't go as planned for us. Icebox obviously as well, we had a very slow start. We somehow managed to crawl back. On Ascent specifically, once we started losing rounds, it felt like we kind of got in our own heads. Gambit's a great team, and we can't take anything away from them."