Zeta Division is the best Valorant team in Japan. The team has consistently defeated its local opponents and qualified for international events. But till the 2022 Masters Reykjavik, they had not yet won a single match in an international event. All of that changed when Koji “Laz” Ushida and Shota “SugarZ3ro” Watanabe spearheaded the Japanese roster to […]
Zeta Division is the best Valorant team in Japan. The team has consistently defeated its local opponents and qualified for international events. But till the 2022 Masters Reykjavik, they had not yet won a single match in an international event. All of that changed when Koji “Laz” Ushida and Shota “SugarZ3ro” Watanabe spearheaded the Japanese roster to a 2-0 victory over the EMEA representatives, Fnatic.
Just before Zeta’s match against Fnatic, DRX IGL Stax tweeted some words of encouragement for Zeta Division.
Confidence: The key to Zeta’s success
Coming from an under-represented region, Zeta Division came into Masters as an underdog. Not many put them in a favorable position to make it out of groups. Earlier in the tournament, Laz himself had said that one of the goals for the team is to win their first international match in Valorant.
Zeta’s confidence against Fnatic was something that was echoed by Boaster in the post-match press conference as well.
“I think they stepped up to the challenge. That was the most admirable thing. They came in and they didn’t show the same kind of fear and hesitation as previous times where more minor regions come in and play. They really stepped up and proved why they deserve to be here as well. I hope they also have a really exciting game versus NiP as well. They made full confidence plays, they were abusing our weaknesses which was taking map control I guess. They did pretty well, they traded pretty well.”
“In the first couple of rounds, we were just trying out ‘Zeta Division style’ of gameplay. We were just watching carefully how Fnatic reacted to that. After timeouts, we were able to talk amongst the team about the (Fnatic) reaction and react to it.”Zeta Laz
Zeta’s success against Fnatic came as a result of them being able to adapt to the Fnatic play style. Fielding two new players, Fnatic had a brand new composition, one that was untested in international tournaments. Zeta’s adaptability was a big reason for their victory over Boaster and co.
“Because the global bar that is set in this global competition is very high, we are very happy to achieve our first win. During our DRX matches we were not performing up to our best performance, we had small mistakes and our composition as a team was not great,” Laz said. “So we discussed the strategy afterwards within the team so we can overcome the nerves that goes into the global stage and I think we were able to fix a lot of the issues that happened”
Zeta’s first match in Iceland was a stomp. DRX crushed them in the inaugural match, but resolute as they are, Zeta took this as a learning opportunity. They adapted their playstyle, learnt from their mistakes and came back stronger against Fnatic.
“During the last match against DRX, in terms of the score, it was a bad score. But in terms of gameplay, we think it was not a bad game at all. So we did not lose confidence from that game. As mentioned we have built strategy and prepared well enough to keep up the confidence going into today’s game. –SugarZ3ro
Speaking specifically about the match against Fnatic, Zeta Laz highlighted how the EMEA team was reacting to Zeta’s playstyle.
“The match against Fnatic, we lost a couple of rounds in the beginning due to Fnatic having a totally new composition for this match. In the first couple of rounds, we were just trying out ‘Zeta division style’ of gameplay. We were just watching carefully how Fnatic reacted to that. After timeouts, we were able to talk amongst the team about the (Fnatic) reaction and react to it. So how we were able to adapt to their reaction and the strategy was, I believe, the key to the successful result that we had today,” said Zeta Laz.
Irrespective of how far they go in the tournament, Zeta Division has inspired a new generation of Valorant players in Japan. The team has received a lot of support on social media and so far, they have delivered. They have ticked the first goal, which was to win one match. The next goal is to reach the playoffs of an international event.