XSET spoke to the media in a press conference after the major upset over Masters Copenhagen champs FPX. They talked about winning the group and looking ahead to the playoffs.
North America’s XSET were one of two teams to end Masters Copenhagen 0-2 and fall out of playoffs immediately. The criticism of the players and coaches coming off their first LAN games was harsh and didn’t tell the full context for an inexperienced team. Heading into Champions, it was their opportunity to build off that initial experience, and in spectacular fashion, they did by beating the Copenhagen champs FPX 2-1 and taking the first seed of group C.
"I mean, this is a huge statement for us, like I said in the post-match interview with Mitchman, if you’re still sleeping on XSET now, why? For what reason do you have to sleep on XSET at this point, you know? we‘ve established the last two and a half years that after every tournament, we’re just going to keep getting better and better and stay consistent and we’re keeping that going. We’ve never once taken a step back and we’ve only gotten better. It just comes down to the hard work that every single one of these guys puts in and all these players, our analyst, and our assistant coach Drew. Everybody puts their heart out every day in practice to improve and become a better team and it’s really showing out there.”
XSET head coach SyykoNT
XSET's head coach Don “SyykoNT” Muir spoke with confidence in the post-game press conference on his teams' ability to improve. And the results backed up his statements, with XSET
getting higher placements in each event throughout 2022.
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
XSET’s constant improvement in 2022
Since the signing of Matthew “Cryocells” Panganiban
in the later stages of 2021, XSET has continually advanced past their previous placings. In terms of team and individual performances, the results and statistics show a team finding their play style and integrating the duelist-focused strategy well around their talented gunners.
In the statement win over FPX, XSET were better in every facet of the game. Despite the lopsided 13-4 loss on Fracture, which included FPX’s Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks dropping a 248 ADR, the team rebounded strongly on the decider map
BcJ on responding after a lopsided loss on Fracture
Where XSET’s game started to crack in the final map of the Leviatan loss at Coopenhagen
, today they eviscerated the FPX side, ending the first half of Breeze up 11-1. Initiator Brendan “BcJ” Jensen, who top-fragged for XSET with 45 kills, spoke on this team's unbreakable and forward-thinking mentality
“I think he had 30 kills in 17 rounds. We were just like, ‘let’s go make a run and then he ended with 30 kills at the end of the game. We were just like ‘next map’ and I think we’re really good at keeping the adversity between maps and especially when we’re going onto something like Breeze where we know that we’re going to be the better team just matchup-wise. They don’t play a lot of Breeze and we felt good with our fundamentals and our track record on the map, so really you got to be tough mentally as a team and I think we’re probably the toughest out of any team at this tournament so that’s why”
"So, really you got to be tough mentally as a team and I think we’re probably the toughest out of any team at this tournament so that’s why”
Furthermore, XSET’s Syyko followed up by expressing the teams' ability to move on from bad losses.
“All of our players are great at rinse and reset. We stepped outside got some fresh air, went to the restroom, got back to the desk hopped on the mic, and just got everybody pumped up and I think that’s what it comes down to maintaining that confidence and just saying ‘look, ardiis popped off last map, no big deal, Breeze is ours. Time to shut him down.’”
Identifying Issues from Copenhagen
For a team as unfairly criticized for as small sample size as two games, the win today proved that the more games on stage, the more comfortable they become. The moment was never too big for this young team and Syyko stressed how important it was to get that necessary stage experience and to calm the nerves.
“A lot of it came down to identifying issues we had in Copenhagen, mostly just comfortability and confidence on stage and we put a lot of work in the offseason to establish processes and protocols to maintain to build that up and get that comfort level a little higher. I think that we showed in the last two matches that the work has definitely paid off.”
The underdog mentality of XSET
XSET hold an underdog mentality while realizing how deep the talent and intelligence of this roster can be. For starters, Zekken and Cryo are developing into a juggernaut duo on the front lines, with BcJ and Rory “dephh” Jackson
starting to find their shot in the server. On Breeze, XSET weren’t even consistently finding the first kill (44% FBSR), but the retakes were incredibly strong with Zekken’s ability to push space off BcJ’s utility and the teams' follow-up.
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
It was the upset of the tournament so far, alongside Leviatan’s win over Paper Rex. The win places them alongside Optic as a group winner out of NA. It’s a statement for a region that was looked down upon after XSET and The Guard finished 0-4 in the 2022 Masters events.
Now, qualified for playoffs, teams won’t be looking down at them but wondering how they can possibly contain explosive players like Zekken, Cryo, and BcJ. XSET will play the winner of 100 Thieves and Fnatic in the first round of the playoffs.
Featured image courtesy of Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games