DRX yet again fought back from a 0-2 deficit only to falter at the final hurdle.
VALORANT history was on the line today in a thrilling five-map semifinal series at VCT LOCK//IN, but a gutsy comeback from DRX finally fell short in the face of LOUD and the loud Brazil crowd.
After two maps, it looked like LOUD were going to make quick work of DRX and book a trip to the grand finals with relative ease. LOUD cruised to a win on Pearl to open the series, then built a huge lead on the attack side of DRX’s Icebox pick that the sole remaining Pacific team was unable to come back from. Erick “aspas” Santos of LOUD had series MVP honors all but secured after two dominant showings on Jett.
But DRX unexpectedly rallied on Split, a map that LOUD have won on comfortably here at the VCT LOCK//IN, but one that DRX have not played since June 2022. Despite another great game from aspas, DRX withstood LOUD’s “final boss” and dominated the defense with a superb all-around team performance.
The first round of Fracture was as close as it could possibly be, exemplified by a round in which DRX narrowly missed a critical defuse by 0.04 seconds, ending in a 6-6 tie at halftime. But the second half was definitively not close, with DRX riding the hot hands of both MaKo and BuZz on attack (namely MaKo who had a 517 average combat score) to secure a 13-7 victory.
LOUD had a strong attack side of their own in the first half of Ascent, and their 7-5 lead at halftime could have been much bigger if not for a couple of miraculous DRX retakes. Just as LOUD looked like they’d balloon their lead, a huge one-vs-three stax post-plant kept DRX closebut only for a short time. LOUD shored up their defense and locked their opponents out of sites, taking map five 13-8.
DRX have been in the position of mounting a comeback down 0-2 before, having rallied back from a two-map deficit against OpTic in the lower bracket final of Champions 2022, only to falter on the fifth map. Outside of G2 Gozen’s reverse sweep against Shopify Rebellion in the Game Changers Championship final, there has never been a reverse sweep in a five-map series at an international VCT event.
LOUD now has a chance to etch its name in history in front of a raucous home crowd. No VALORANT team has ever won two international events, let alone back-to-back tournaments. They’re guaranteed an EMEA opponent in March 4’s grand final, and a win means an extra slot for Americas at Master Tokyo later this year.