OpTic FNS on the tech pauses after beating XSET and advancing into Upper Finals against LOUD: “We don’t need to cheat to win.”
OpTic Gaming has been the symbol of consistency in VALORANT Champions Tour. Finishing the top three at every Masters event in 2022 and reaching Upper Finals twice during that span is unprecedented. No team has experienced the same longevity of success that OpTic has this year.
In the fifth meeting between XSET and OpTic this season, the Greenwall pushed their series advantage to four games, narrowly beating XSET 2-1. The win not only secured a Finals rematch with Brazil’s LOUD but avoids the treacherous sharks of FPX and Fnatic looming in the Lower bracket.
XSET Players and Coaches question OpTic tech pauses
However, despite a back-and-forth affair with OpTic being able to turn a late-game tech pause on Pearl into a five-round win streak, the pause itself became the story.
In the post-match press conference, an aggravated XSET IGL Rory “dephh” Jackson voiced his displeasure with the extended tech pause right as XSET was gaining momentum.
"I think the only mind game that OpTic use was finding a way to tech pause during pretty big rounds. Before big rounds, it feels like every time we play those guys, there’s a tech pause. And obviously, there is a lot of things that are out of their hands or whatever but there seems to be a lot of tech pauses before big round wins. So, pretty unfortunate but pretty sucky if you’re a team that’s pretty momentum based and we want to get rolling. And, in every other round, we have to wait for thirty minutes “
The tech pause in question came in round 10 on Pearl, lasting a little short of twenty minutes. The pause happened right as XSET were coming out from a Don "SyykoNT" Muir tactical timeout. OpTic had won the last round prior to the break, but XSET won two of the last three and closed the score gap from 6-2 to 6-4.
Head coach of XSET Sykko backed up his player. He claimed that the pause felt intentional and going further saying, it happens with OpTic online and on LAN.
“That, in particular, is pretty frustrating because there’s a gap in the ruleset that needs to be addressed by Riot specifically. And, we’ll have conversations with them after the fact. It’s no different than when we play them online to when we play them here on the stage. Tech pause after it’s 12-11, tech pause after we get a lead, tech pause after I call a tac timeout to go on a 60-second spiel on what we’re about to do. And, you know, it’s intentional and in my eyes, it’s an abuse of the ruleset that should be fixed.”
OpTic Gaming’s Response
Of course, in the post-OpTic victory press conference, they had a much different perspective on the situation. Pujan "FNS" Mehta was posed the question on the specific issues wrong with Victor Wong’s computer to warrant a 20-minute stoppage.
“Vic’s (Victor) PC was glitching, like, there were micro stutters on his monitor,” said FNS post-match. ”Admins were trying to fix it and then we had to go to the bathroom, so that was a whole thing. The only tech pauses we had were related to his stutters.”
OpTic head coach Chet "Chet" Singh responded as well denying any claim that the technical pauses were intentional.
“No, there was no intention to screw them over or anything. The PC was just actually not working well. I wouldn’t allow that to happen in our games,” said Chet.
You can ask the referee as well,” said Victor, the payer who needed his desktop to get replaced. “I was playing through it. I was still stuttering and I was playing through it.“
“We don’t need to cheat to win.”
Reviewing the Riot VCT Rulebook for North America, there’s no clear ruling on how many technical pauses are allowed or their duration. It’s assumed that a technical pause will last as long as the problem persists. All equipment is pre-approved and handled by Riot, meaning no tampering. Yet, this type of situation exists in a grey area of the rule book.
The important thing to remember is the admins for Riot cleared the tech pauses. So, it’s ultimately the officials decision and not the onus of the teams.
Regardless, FNS cleared up any doubt with one line: “We don’t need to cheat to win.”
OpTic Gaming Back in the Finals
As for the match itself, two of the most talented Operator mains in VALORANT’s short history put on a show for the Istanbul crowd. Any debate around the best player is dead when Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker takes to the stage for OpTic. XSET’s Matthew “Cryocells” Panganiban was a more than worthy adversary, putting up a 1.13 KD and 138 ADR throughout the series, but yay slowly took over.
The consistency in terms of numbers is one thing for yay (1.58 KD, 155 ADR, 66% FBSR, 75% KAST). But, it’s how he imposes the dominance that elevates him to the greatest. The lurk plays on the defensive side of Pearl are one example. He knows instinctually when XSET was pushing through Art in mid, or double doors towards the B-site. He shows a complete mastery of the map, despite it being out mere months.
In the end, yay was the difference maker for OpTic in the VCT Champs 2022 upper bracket match. On top of unorthodox Phoenix, Killjoy “cringe comps,” as Syyko described them, on Haven. It was the player difference in those key moments that separated the teams. At different times, random players would step up for OpTic. But, yay was the steady hand, closing off entire areas of the map with his Chamber. Showing up round-by-dound and dealing damage.