After XERXIA sent OpTic to the lower bracket, OpTic got revenge by sending XERXIA home at VCT Masters Reykjavik in this new rivalry
In only three VCT Masters events, the all-time record between these two teams stands at .500 (2-2). Optic Gaming and Xerxia have met four times in group stages, with XERXIA (formerly X10) eliminating OpTic (then Envy) at Champions and now OpTic coming full circle and sending the talented Thai-based team home before playoffs.
Optic head coach spoke to the media after the match, and pointed to XERXIA’s ability to keep teams off-guard by disguising rotations.
“They’re a team that's very hard for us to read, so they forced us to play very slow. So, I'll say preparation wise, it's extremely hard to prepare for that team. They do a good job making us not know what they're doing and they manipulate rotates, similar to KRU, mostly on Ascent for KRU. I'll say, it's probably one of the toughest games that we played. Definitely, pretty hard to understand what's happening until it actually happens and their execs are pretty strong”
In the first matchup, XERXIA found greater success in the early round duels and kept explosive OpTic Operator main Jacob “Yay” Whittaker at bay. However, OpTic overhauled the game plan in the high-pressure elimination match and overwhelmed the XERXIA defense. For example, the pace of play was dramatically increased with the presence of Victor Wong on the Neon as compared to their first meeting.
The Neon Impact
For Victor, it’s his teammates setting his Neon up and precisely sending utility to enable his positioning advantage. In 40 total rounds, Victor ended with 10 First Kills (+8 in FKFD) and finished with a 13-1 kill advantage over XERXIA’s Panyawat “sushiboys” Subsiriroj, showing them targeting certain sites.
“As Neon, I rely heavily on my teammates to create space for me, it sounds weird, but we use Kay-O or Breach on some maps, but pretty much there util allows me to run in because I know they can't kill me because we're using utility on these spots”
Moreover, XERXIA weren’t expecting the pace to switch up that drastically. In the opening match, XERXIA slowed OpTic down and forced them into their playstyle. Here, OpTic controlled the map on both Fracture and Haven throughout. The site executions were strong and were able to jump on the site anchors.
“It forces us to rotate faster and try to push through smokes to help our teammates,” said XERXIA’s Thanamethkl “crws” Mahatthananuyut, ”and make more aggressive plays in a really short amount of time and it's a bit messy for us and we’re not used to how fast the Neon runs into site, so we were a bit unsure of how to deal with it properly”
"My favorite is when FNS called it we were rushing-C. He yelled it at them and we rushed-C.”
Truly, the game was lost in the map selection. XERXIA, in their first match, got favorable maps with Ascent and Icebox. In today’s match, it felt as if XERXIA got somewhat blindsided by the OpTic compositions. So much so, that Austin “crashies” Roberts told reporters that his teammate Pujan “FNS” Mehta was yelling out the play calls on Haven.
Fnatic’s story in Iceland: Two subs, ‘the Fnatic system’ and a confident Zeta Division
One of the top teams in EMEA, Fnatic could not compete at VCT Masters Reykjavik with the full roster. The team leaves Iceland without a single map victory, but can only take positives to improve from this event.
What’s Next for the XERXIA vs OpTic Rivalry?
For XERXIA, the next step is figuring out what to do with crws, who, according to him, will be stepping down at the end of the year but not immediately. He emphasized the fact that he will continue to compete in the VCT for the foreseeable future.
“If you were to look back at the champions tour, I actually thought of retiring since then but then there was a bit of internal conflict within the team, so we had to move wherever so but the thing is I still think that I might be retiring at the end of the year but not right after this tournament. I'm just going to do my best until the end of the year. If we could find a better addition to the team, I'll step down or retire, but it's definitely not about money. That has nothing to do with why I'm retiring. I just wish my teammates the best and hope that we could bring this particular group of people to a higher level