XSET win their opening match in group C of Valorant Champions over XERXIA 2-0 with huge performances from Zekken and Cryocells
XSET’s first appearance on the Masters Stage ended in disappointment. The young, inexperienced roster entered the Copenhagen playoffs cold and faced the Stage 1 champions Optic and then later the dangerous Leviatan team. In the grand scheme of the VCT, it was a learning experience for XSET.
Now entering Valorant Champions, the team has a renewed focus. With more experience under their belt and the opportunity to start from group stages, it’s a chance to start fresh. And, facing Thailand’s XERXIA, they took that opportunity and ran with it.
XSET win keeps North America’s undefeated streak alive at VCT Champs
After the XSET loss to Leviatan at Copenhagen, the narrative around North America’s top seeds failing to get a win at VCT Champs was swirling. The term “one team region” was floated by prominent people in the Valorant scene. Nonetheless, North America has come out swinging at Valorant Champions, disproving the idea that Optic alone can make a run.
For starters, XSET’s win moves the region to 3-0 in the early groups portion of Champs. It was obvious that the two Duelist phenoms, Matthew “Cryocells” Panganiban and Zahcary “Zekken” Patrone, looked much more comfortable as compared to Masters Copenhagen. In quick succession, the narrative from “one team region,” could potentially turn to International juggernaut if the wins continue.
"On every single map, in every single scenario we're confident that we are able to close out these matches & get the win" says DRX's BuZz after win against 100Thieves
DRX's mental fortitude was on display once more at Champions 2022 as they overcame 100Thieves to secure their spot in the Playoffs.
Zekken and Cryocells turn up
As for the Zekken and Cryocells performance against XERXIA, it was nothing short of spectacular. In first duels, the two combined to go +17, with the team winning 65% of the opening duels. The hyper aggressiveness of Zekken on the Neon and Raze, set up by excellent team utility from the likes of BcJ and Rory “dephh” Jackson, allowed them to constantly get open sites for plants.
For example, XSET had 20 5v4 situations as opposed to XERXIA’s seven. Furthermore, XSET would convert 75% of those rounds, making the first kill that much more crucial. In BcJ’s eyes, it was a total team success and the team is at its best when they’re working to activate Cryo and Zekken to their full potential
“A lot of people look at that because it’s numbers, right? They see the Duelist and a lot of people forget about what’s going on behind the scenes. We had to mentor these kids from unsigned to being at the World Championship now, so I think they’ve come such a long way and really developed as a full player. We’ve seen it here. They’re hitting their stride, hitting their peak and that’s what XSET is all about, getting better and better and better. And obviously, we’re here to be better”XSET BCJ
Finding their form at Valorant Champions
Moreover, few teams internationally have the firepower of the two XSET Duelists. Since NA Challengers Stage 2, these two have put up otherworldly numbers with Cryo on Chamber and Zekken playing a variety of Duelist agents. If XSET continue to feel more comfortable on stage and get back to that Stage 2 Grand Finals form, they’re no longer a team to be slept on and could have serious legs towards a playoff run.
The next step for XSET is facing the Copenhagen Champions FPX. A tall order for a team finding their stride, but with it being the winners bracket, this is a grand opportunity to test themselves against the best. All eyes will be focused on whether or not Cryo and Zekken can show up again facing Adriis, Suigetsu, and Shao in the winner’s final.
XSET will face FPX on September 4th at 11 am PST