Only four teams remain – three regions. Will OpTic defend its title? Or will APAC win its first?
We have our top four teams at Valorant Masters Copenhagen As we head into the live audience section of the tournament, OpTic, FunPlus Phoenix, Fnatic and Paper Rex are battling not just for a sizable part of the prize pool but also the glory.
There may be four teams still alive at Masters Copenhagen, but only one team has tasted victory before. OpTic Gaming won VCT Masters Reykjavik putting NA in the crosshairs of other regions. It is up to them to defend their title now and they are facing stiff competition from APAC and a resurgent EMEA. Here’s a quick preview of the four remaining teams and how their paths to victory at Valorant Masters Copenhagen differ from each other.
OpTic Gaming – Playing offense with their defense
As usual, OpTic’s first game started with a loss to Guild esports. The 0-2 loss was not a big surprise considering OpTic’s history of poor starts to international tournaments. The players were not worried despite their early loss and rightfully so. In their next few matches, OpTic Gaming went from strength to strength as it went undefeated, first in the group stage and later in the upper bracket. As we head into the last few days of the tournament, OpTic is a minimum of two match wins from a tournament victory and a maximum of three.
Optic FNS after the LOUD win: "It’s very difficult to have to re-adapt, re-adapt and re-adapt"
OpTic survived a LOUD scare and barely made it to the VCT Masters Copenhagen playoffs.
Yay is obviously the big factor on OpTic Gaming having been the X-factor for the team on previous occasions. The 23-year-old player is crucial to OpTic’s performance. Historically, he has been the most consistent player for the team, but it was in Copenhagen that the player had his first ‘bad’ performance. But despite Yay’s ‘bad performance’, OpTic still managed a top four placement at Copenhagen.
I am super excited cause it gives us an opportunity to win another title. I think it’s great. But as I said before, it’s another time to grow because now we’re going back and facing a much stronger EU region, provided nothing happens. They were nerfed a little bit last event. [FPX couldn’t attend and Fnatic had to play with two stand-ins.Yay on attending VCT Masters Copenhagen
Yay’s stats are usually leaps and bounds ahead of any of his other teammates in international competition. However, this time, his stats, ‘only 239.3 ACS’ is right there next to Marved. On any other player, these stats are impressive, enough to herald them as amazing players. But for Yay, a player whose consistency has helped propel OpTic to the top of the Valorant scene, these numbers look somewhat bleak. And that speaks volumes of his individual performance along with the team’s ability to enable his performance.
OpTic’s performance peaks in the later stages of tournaments. We saw that at Reykjavik and it looks very similar at Copenhagen. The team’s confidence has shown a trend of steadily rising throughout the tournaments and it often peaks towards the Grand Finals. OpTic has reached the top four without an in-form Yay, which spells doom for teams looking to counter them in the last few matches.
How far OpTic can go in the tournament will depend on how they emerge from this small break. OpTic have notoriously been famous for slow starts, does that extend to beyond breaks?
Paper Rex – Breaking ranks
Perhaps the most unpredictable team out of the final four, APAC representative Paper Rex come in with huge upset potential. Their biggest strength is that they do not have a predefined style which makes it difficult for teams to counter them. Paper Rex’s playstyle might look chaotic, but their communication is one of the cleanest at VCT Masters Copenhagen.
Paper Rex’s performance is not something surprising. They finished in the top four at VCT Masters Reykjavik, losing to the Japanese hearthrobs, Zeta Division. There’s no Zeta Division this time, but they have to face the Reykjavik winners, OpTic Gaming in the upper bracket.
Paper Rex Benkai: "As IGL I knew how important communication was when it came to molding a team together. I had a lot of emphasis on it when we go into practice"
Paper Rex Benkai spoke to Esports.gg's Rohan Samal about the team's journey and the focus on communication to elevate their performance.
Paper Rex’s playstyle is unique and that makes them a real challenge to any team aspiring to win Masters Copenhagen. With detailed mid-round calls and a playstyle that allows individual players the freedom to play their own game, it is difficult to counter Paper Rex. However, it could also be a playstyle that becomes too much and Paper Rex end up not performing to their optimal levels.
Paper Rex is the only team remaining that has two players in the tournament’s top five players. Both Jinggg and Forsaken are above 250 ACS. While Jinggg has a 1.07 K/D, Forsaken’s stats are even more impressive with a 1.25 K/D. However, for these players, it’s not just the K/D stats that make them impressive. The nature of their performance, often backed by aggressive maneuvers and dominating presence on the map makes Paper Rex a team to be fearful of.
With support from parents, it is no surprise to see the young Paper Rex players thrive on the international stage. But how far can they push APAC in Valorant, the one game where it seems APAC has a real shot at establishing itself as a dominant region.
FunPlus Phoenix – Can they prove they’re beyond EMEA?
This event is probably one of the first times that we have a full EMEA roster. The region has often been unable to field complete rosters, either due to COVID or because of the Russia-Ukraine war affecting player participation.
Things are not 100% just yet, but at least the teams were better prepared and look much stronger at Copenhagen. FunPlus Phoenix looked poised to feature stand-ins and the uncertainty over two of its players did not bode well for the region’s chances. However, both SUYGETSU and SHAO secured their visas in time and are now playing alongside the team.
With a 1.35 K/D ratio, Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks has been instrumental in FunPlux Phoenix’s performance so far.
FPX ANGE1: "We feel much more confident than we did with stand-in and it's not about Seider. It's about the chemistry on our team, when everyone knows different situations. It's easier to play for every one of us"
FPX eliminated one of the tournament favorites. They are now in the top four at VCT Masters Copenhagen.
This is an opportunity for FunPlus Phoenix to show its full potential. The roster has been one of the most dominant ones in EMEA, but it has failed to display its potential on the international stage.
They lost to DRX in the group stage and then got smashed by Fnatic in the local derby. The final few games will also take place in front of a live Copenhagen audience. Valorant Masters Copenhagen will inadvertently have an audience that cheers for the favorite EMEA team – be it Fnatic or FunPlus Phoenix.
FPX face Fnatic in their next match, so there will only be one EMEA team to cheer for. For now, FunPlus Phoenix have an opportunity to exact revenge on Fnatic and prove why they are the best EMEA team at Copenhagen.
Fnatic – It’s time for some titles
Fnatic dominated their local rivals the last time they played against each other. It wasn’t too long ago, as Fnatic sent FunPlus Phoenix down to the lower bracket in the playoffs. After getting a similar treatment from Paper Rex, however, Fnatic will now face their local rivals once more.
Fnatic look much more composed coming into this tournament. The team has had a few changes, most notably benching Magnum and signing Enzo and Alfazer. The duo have helped bring about the synergy that seemed lacking in the team the previous Masters. Suddenly Fnatic look much stronger and a contender to possibly win Copenhagen.
Derke after Fnatic decimates FPX at Masters 2 Copenhagen: "I will not consider myself to be the best Valorant player in the world until I win the event"
Derke became a One-Man Army for Fnatic in their match against FunPlus Phoenix at Masters 2 Copenhagen.
How far they can go depends on their ability to adapt to playstyles outside their region. They will face FunPlus Phoenix in their next match and assuming they win that, they will have to go up against either NA or APAC. Both regions have given them trouble in previous matches, most notably Paper Rex with its aggressive playstyle and clear understanding of Fnatic’s moves.
Things look poised for a NA vs APAC Grand finals, but with two EMEA teams in contention, it is too early to tell. EMEA might play spoilsport with an audience that will wholeheartedly support their local boys at Copenhagen.