A strong start for Brazil's top team.
Day two of VCT Champions 2022 kicked off today with two of the top teams from Masters Reykjavík facing off to find redemption from Masters Copenhagen when Brazilian side LOUD took on Japan’s ZETA Division.
Both teams finished in the top three in Reykjavík but miraculously missed playing each other. LOUD reached the grand finals after direct playoff qualification and ZETA went on a miracle run through groups and the lower playoff bracket. But success was not to be replicated in Copenhagen. LOUD were eliminated during the group stage after two straight losses and ZETA didn’t even qualify after losing to Northeption in the Japan Stage Two final.
Even with those shortcomings in Stage Two, the teams did enough to qualify for Champions and were both drawn into Group B. Their first meeting started on Ascent, a clear consensus favorite for LOUD, but ZETA won a close pistol round to give themselves a much-needed start. Both teams looked a bit out of sorts early, over-peeking and overheating, but ZETA secured a small halftime lead thanks to some successful late aggression by controller SugarZero.
LOUD, however, demonstrated why Ascent is one of their favorites after switching to defense. They reversed a 7-5 deficit into an 11-7 lead, and ZETA only managed to take their first attack round thanks to a miraculous one-vs-three during an A site post-plant. But that would be their only attack round of the entire half as ZETA found almost no success against a stalwart LOUD defense.
The series switched to Fracture, with a layout that favors the kind of defensive aggression that ZETA loves. The combined ability of Neon, Raze, and Breach allowed ZETA to push up and harass LOUD before the Brazilians could get their site executes ready. But a combination of early picks and playmaking allowed LOUD to secure three vital attack rounds to close out the half, reducing the ZETA lead to just 7-5 before switching.
An exceptional 4K clutch from saadhak, including a spray through a Brimstone ult, in the first buy round jumpstarted the LOUD defensive side. Another LOUD 4K, this time from Less on Chamber in the A main hallway, increased the Brazilian lead further. ZETA stemmed the bleeding with an unlikely thrifty round, but LOUD’s fast flanks and ZETA’s inability to get trade timing paved the way for a dominant defensive half for LOUD.
LOUD secured Fracture 13-9 and the series 2-0, righting their ship’s course after getting lost in Copenhagen. With the opening victory, LOUD now have two opportunities to win just a single series to reach the playoffs at Champions, while ZETA must now win two straight.