Fnatic took down NUTURN to earn the second spot in the big match. The Korean roster exits the tournament in third place, while the grand finals begin tomorrow at 1 PM EST/7 PM CET.

One final game. Korea’s NUTURN took on Europe’s Fnatic for a spot in the VCT Masters Reykjavik grand finals against Sentinels. Both teams had shown great promise over the event. Fnatic weree on a hot streak in the lower bracket, having taken down X10 Esports, Version1, and Team Liquid, while NUTURN were coming off a one-sided loss to SEN. Questions about NUTURN’s map pool abounded, but the team had also produced riveting moments and clutches. It was also the first, and only, EU-KR matchup of Masters. Who took that final spot in tomorrow’s big match?

Image credit VALORANT Esports Korea.

Fnatic outplay NUTURN en route to Bind win

Fnatic brought us to Bind to kick off the series. Agent picks were standard for what you’d expect from both sides: Fnatic ran their Viper-Skye-Brimstone comp with Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev on Sova, and NUTURN went more standard, mixing in a Breach. To start things off, Fnatic went for B hits and positioned James “Mistic” Orfila’s Viper down long to set up postplant Snake Bites. It didn’t work on the pistol, as Jung “peri” Bum-ki managed to squeeze out a defuse, but it helped them take round 2 and set up a 4-1 lead.

Following this, though, NUTURN would get their first rifle round in crazy fashion, and continue the hectic rounds to begin catching up. While they brought it to 4-3, Fnatic would keep their momentum going. Despite good picks from NUTURN, they failed to convert, and the half ended 8-4.

Moving to attack, though, NUTURN looked much more thought out. They took the pistol round, meaning they’d one both in the map, as well as the follow-up. Knowing they needed to catch up on the scoreboard, they purchased up for round 3 and won it, making things 8-8 four rounds into the second half.

On a buy again, though, Fnatic swung the momentum back to their side. NUTURN found it impossible to push through Mistic’s Viper utility, and with Fnatic pushing and picking off players in other areas of the map, they played it to perfection. Soon the score was 12-8, and though the last round looked good for NUTURN, a massive clutch from Jake “Boaster” Howlett secured the map win.

NUTURN come back on Ascent with confident 13-8

With standard agent compositions for Ascent, Fnatic kicked things off by winning their first pistol round of the series. But some clutch plays and postplant utility brought NUTURN right back ahead. With a quick 3-1 lead, Fnatic were forced on a few ecos, and the scoreline even began to look dominant. NUTURN’s postplant play was working out wonderfully. Fnatic pulled a few rounds back, but NUTURN kept pushing, and left the half with an 8-4 lead.

A chaotic pistol win kept NUTURN out front, and despite a win from Fnatic, and nearly another thanks to some heroics from Derke, the scoreline was getting away from the European side.

Even with their backs up against the wall, though, Fnatic made some plays. A quick rifle round win forced NUTURN on an eco, making the score a doable 11-7. NUTURN put themselves on match point, but couldn’t quite finish it out just yet as Derke showed up huge again with a 4k clutch with 3 blind kills through James “Mistic” Orfila’s Viper’s Pit. Unfortunately for Fnatic, 8 rounds would be all they got, as NUTURN converted a half buy to take the map. Haven would be the destination to decide the other Masters finalist.

NUTURN’s Haven improves, but Fnatic take a comfortable win to close out the series

What better place could there be than Haven to end this series? The map that had been a thorn in NUTURN’s side all tournament long was the one they’d have to win on in order to overcome Fnatic and reach the finals. Fnatic, for their own part, were determined to not let that happen.

NUTURN made adjustments right from agent select. solo was moved over to Cypher instead of Breach, while Seo “Suggest” Jae-young went with Phoenix in place of Raze. Fnatic kicked off their attack with a quick A hit on the pistol round, but Kim “Lakia” Jong-min completely shut it down. The teams would trade rounds early, with Fnatic executing well some times but getting completely stopped on others. Lakia in particular had a massive start to the map, with 15 kills and 464 average combat score by the 9th round.

Later in the half, though, Fnatic would really begin to build up momentum. They managed to catch NUTURN off guard and made some nice B plays that NUTURN didn’t seem to know how to counter. Despite early promise, Fnatic closed the half at 8-4.

Fnatic took the pistol round win on their defense as well, and the match was looking over. The score was brought all the way to 11-4 before NUTURN finally managed to get on the board. When they did, though, they managed to string a few rounds together. But with Fnatic so close to the win, it was too much to overcome. Fnatic won the map 13-8, and the series 2-1.

With this loss, NUTURN have been eliminated from Masters in third place. Fnatic’s grand final against Sentinels kicks off tomorrow at 1 PM EST/ 7 PM CET.

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Shawn

Shawn "Germanicus" Heerema

Writer of the Month: August | Twitter: @GermanicusCVIII

A writer from Niagara, Canada, Shawn covers VALORANT and League of Legends. Previously of THESPIKE.GG, he's a fervent follower and supporter of the Asian VAL scene. And somehow, he remains convinced that PUBG is the most fun esport to watch as a spectator.