Despite a strong effort from Heretics, EG held them off.
The third day of the VCT LOCK//IN tournament started off with a big match between two highly-experienced teams.
North America’s Evil Geniuses are led by their head coach, former CS:GO pro and VALORANT analyst, potter. The current team is composed of the original EG core plus a few offseason additions, including former XSET player and in-game leader BcJ. Though they haven’t been dubbed a “super-team” in the same way as fellow North American squad Cloud9, this roster is still highly anticipated.
EG faced off against Team Heretics, one of the teams predicted to be very strong out of EMEA, today. Led by the experienced Spanish star m1xwell, the roster is rounded out by several other high-caliber players, including former VCT champion Zeek.
Despite all of the experience flooding the stage from these two rosters, North America continued to hold their heads high after C9’s dominant victory over Paper Rex yesterday. EG cleaned up Heretics 2-0 today and sent them home from Brazil.
On this third day of the tournament, the trend continued of every team so far choosing to ban Split, a map recently reworked after some time out of the VALORANT competitive rotation.
Instead, the two teams started off on Pearl, again favoring one of the game’s newer maps.
Turkish squad BBL opted to play Yoru on Pearl yesterday, and to most fans’ surprise, EG followed suit today. Ethan locked in Yoru, leaving everyone in anticipation of what the agent had to offer on this map.
Unfortunately for EG, the first half of Pearl was the keloqz show. Heretics’ duelist player was everywhere on the map, dashing around with confidence and excelling on Jett even in a defensive role. He netted himself a 20/6 KDA after the first half.
Despite this outright dominance of the lobby, the game overall was incredibly even. EG kept up on their defense even with their attack-oriented composition, and the teams were deadlocked at 6-6 before changing sides.
Heretics’ strategy seemed to continue to revolve around keloqz, who was clearly having an excellent day. But this started to backfire. They used the Jett in their composition as what casters referred to as the “sacrificial lamb,” essentially describing keloqz running in, getting info, getting a kill, and then dying.
Unfortunately for Heretics, this strategy backfired and keloqz wasn’t able to be as effective as they likely would have hoped. In the end, Ethan actually ended up top fragging over keloqz despite that incredible first half. He proved, to the delight of Yoru mains around the world, that the agent is truly viable. EG won Pearl 13-8.
As the teams transitioned to Ascent, a huge compositional switch for Heretics came through. M1xwell, usually known as a player who excels in supportive roles, locked in KAY/O, while Zeek, who is known as a pioneer on that agent from his 2021 play, locked in Killjoy.
This role switch seemed uncharacteristic at first, but once the map started, it was clear that Heretics actually were trying to play KAY/O in more of a supportive role this time. And things worked out at the start of the map.
But then, EG dug their heels in. After those first four rounds, Heretics struggled to get any momentum at all, especially on their defensive side.
A few lucky rounds ended up going their way, but the second half of Ascent was all about EG. In clean fashion, EG went on to win Ascent with an identical scoreline of 13-8.
EG will move on in the VCT LOCK//IN Alpha bracket to face the winner of MIBG vs. Talon Esports, happening later today. EG’s next match is on Feb. 18 at 2pm CT.