“Everyone should be careful of them [EDward Gaming]”, says Paper Rex Benkai after winning VCT Champions 2022 opening match cover image

“Everyone should be careful of them [EDward Gaming]”, says Paper Rex Benkai after winning VCT Champions 2022 opening match

Paper Rex claim victory in the first match of Valorant Champions 2022 despite a nervy showing against EDward Gaming.

Valorant Champions 2022 has officially begun, and we started off with quite the bang as Paper Rex staved off the onslaught of a highly impressive EDward Gaming performance to win their match 2 - 1. With this win Paper Rex will be moving on to the Group A Winners match where they will be facing either Leviatán or Team Liquid.

Paper Rex survive early scare against EDward Gaming

This was the first time we have seen Paper Rex play in a competitive match since they fell in the Masters 2 Grand Final to FunPlus Phoenix. Many predicted that Paper Rex would walk away the clear victors of this match before the teams got seated for the first map. Especially since EDward Gaming were starting this tournament a man down as Dong Hao "Life" Qu was forced to sit out due to illness. Leaving Smoggy to fill in for him.

"I think they [EDG] were already a team to be feared to begin with. I think all teams should be treated with that kind of respect over here and they just proved that point here. Even more so that, everyone should be careful with them."

Paper Rex IGL Benkai on EDward Gaming

Paper Rex's players got off to a pretty slow start, and though they managed to win the series, they never really played like the team we have gotten used to seeing this season. Despite the challenge they faced, particularly after they were completely decimated on their map pick Icebox 13 - 5, they still managed to rally together to close the match out on Haven; despite opting for the slightly unusual composition of Jett and Reyna on that map.

In the end it was a decent enough team performance for the APAC side, made possible by their excellent utility usage, some huge clutch moments from Aaron "mindfreak" Leonhart, and the ever-dangerous duo of Wang Jing "Jinggg" Jie and Jason "f0rsakeN" Susanto.

Pearl makes it's VCT Debut at Champions 2022

This was a matchup full of twists, and the first came out right from the start when EDG selected Pearl as their map pick. This marks the first time that Pearl has made an appearance in a VCT match this season since the map was released back in June. And the Chinese team came out guns blazing to smother Paper Rex in the early stages of the map. The raw firepower that came out from EDG was immense to the point where Paper Rex were forced to burn both of their first half timeouts after only six rounds.

Paper Rex did manage to regain some control after their second time out as they managed to tie the half at 6 - 6. But EDG were a squad on a mission in that match, and it seemed like Paper Rex were struggling to come up with an answer for their opposition; bar a couple of moments of brilliance from Jinggg and Mindfreak. IGL Benedict "Benkai" Tan admitted in his post-match interview that they were just as surprised as everybody that EDG went with Pearl. But that it ultimately didn't effect their game plan as a whole.

EDward Gaming impress in first LAN appearance

Paper Rex may have come out the victors of this match but all eyes were fixed on EDward Gaming. The Chinese team came in as relative unknowns at Champions. Given that they were squaring off against the runners-up from Masters 2, and they were playing with a substitute player, it looked as though Paper Rex were going to run away with this game on paper.

But, EDG looked like seasoned veterans from the first round of Pearl all the way to the closing stages of Haven. With EDG players Shun Zhi "Chichoo" Wan and Hao Dong "Haodong" Guo showing off their incredible clutch factor. And though he was merely a substitute for EDG, that didn't seem to stop Smoggy from running rampant at times, particularly on Icebox. Which was perfectly encapsulated when Sen Xu "Nobody" Wang picked up the first ace of the tournament.

They were a team unafraid to take on ridiculous engagements and were more than capable of clutching up in man-down situations. Unfortunately for them, the found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreline in this affair. Though they drop down into the Group A Elimination match, they have already shown us that they are capable of causing problems for whomever they end up facing.