New blood, no problem.
After just a day of rest, Brazil’s fan-favorite team LOUD were ready to face their next opponent at the VCT LOCK//IN tournament in São Paulo. After taking down Gen.G on Tuesday in a closer contest than many expected, LOUD’s next opponent was EMEA’s Karmine Corp.
Today’s match seemed easier for LOUD than their match against Gen.G, even though KC stepped up significantly compared to their last match, looking more confident and creating more synergy on LAN.
However, LOUD breezed through the first two maps of the match and won 2-0, sending KC home.
The teams opened the match on Pearl, and the audience was treated to their first Harbor duel. The agent, while still not a popular pick, seems to have found a place on some compositions for certain VCT teams.
LOUD came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, winning the first four rounds handily. All throughout the first half of Pearl, KC were not able to stop LOUD from planting the spike, even on the rounds that the EMEA team managed to win. The four rounds they netted themselves at the half came from retaking site and defusing the spike.
LOUD held a huge advantage, but KC were far from giving up. Both in-game leader ScreaM and his teammates rallied to regain their footing on their defense.
Newzera in particular looked rejuvenated after the short break in the tournament schedule. He is one of several players making their international debut at LOCK//IN, and casters speculated nerves may have played a part in his initial performance in KC’s opening match. Today, he looked confident and poised.
The second half of Pearl started to give KC some more hope as they took the pistol round and a few other lucky rounds to bring themselves closer to LOUD’s tally.
Still, the teamwork of LOUD just looked better. The Brazilian team took Pearl 13-10, with fans screaming all around the arena.
Regrouping for the second map, each team rolled out with different compositions on Split in the map’s debut at LOCK//IN. LOUD opted for a double-duelist composition, putting Saadhak on Raze and aspas on Jett.
Traditionally, Jett has struggled as an agent on Split. The varying heights of the map make it difficult for her to dash into a site and clear it without getting picked off, so usually teams go with Raze as a solo duelist, like KC did today.
However, aspas didn’t let that narrative stop him. He went 11/6 on LOUD’s attack side, not quite top fragging in the lobby, but proving his Jett is as viable as ever on the map (ranked grinders should note that they are not aspas before trying this at home).
KC struggled again in their defensive half. Their economy seemed broken for much of the half, and it just felt impossible for them to come back from another 8-4 deficit at the half. They started to bring a bit of hope back for themselves on their own attack side, forcing LOUD to save some money by purchasing lighter weapons.
Unfortunately for KC…
After Saadhak wiped out half of KC with a judge, things just kept going downhill for the EMEA team. Despite an otherwise strong performance, Sh1n hit himself with his Raze ultimate while trying to take A site, and KC couldn’t recover. LOUD pushed themselves to victory, 13-8 on Split.
LOUD showed that their attacking sides are so strong, they can practically turn any map into an attacker-sided one. Even Pearl, one of the most defensive-sided maps in the game, was no problem for the Brazilians. This aggressive style that the team has become known for could continue to propel them all the way to the top of the tournament. The team has also impressed with their new lineup after losing multiple pieces of their world championship squad to other VCT Americas teams like Sentinels and MIBR.
Though the fans voted one “Screaming Fan” as the match MVP, our match MVP is Less. Through two maps today, he had a +22 KDA playing Viper. His impact on his team was incredible, enabling them to work around his utility with their aggression.
LOUD’s next match is an exciting one. They will face NRG, the team where most of the former OpTic core landed after franchising. The potential for the continuation of a heated rivalry from 2022 is off the charts.