NAVI keep EMEA hopes alive after region’s lackluster start to VCT LOCK//IN

Adiós KRÜ.

After the conclusion of the Alpha bracket over the weekend, the VCT LOCK//IN Omega bracket is underway, with Latin America’s KRÜ Esports and EMEA’s Natus Vincere facing off in the first round.

Coming into the 2023 season, NAVI has been highlighted as one of the top contenders in the world, and certainly in EMEA. The team is built on the blocks of the former FPX team, of which the organization has now moved to China. The team’s former duelist player, ardiis, also switched regions and is now playing with NRG in North America.

Who better to replace ardiis, the swift Jett player, than cNed? So far, EMEA has not performed well at LOCK//IN.

KRÜ’s roster isn’t short on experience either, but the team’s members haven’t quite reached the same heights on the international stage as some of the players on NAVI. Additionally, this year’s KRÜ team features several new players who were on other teams last year, meaning they likely face more of a learning curve than the former FPX core.

As KRÜ walked out onto the stage, a notable absence was their captain, Klaus. Klaus is a long-standing member of KRÜ but wasn’t fielded in their opening roster for LOCK//IN. Melser was today’s in-game leader.

Starting off on Ascent, things were less than ideal for KRÜ. The team didn’t make any blaring mistakes or have any huge mechanical missteps, NAVI was just better.

CNed started to show hints of his 2021 form, which was exciting to see since he was unusually quiet in the 2022 season after his 2021 championship victory with Acend.

ANGE1 was ridiculous on Ascent. His strong in-game leadership was apparent as NAVI moved together as a unit. He and Zyppan topped the scoreboard despite cNed’s great performance. NAVI took Ascent easily with a dominant score of 13-5.

Moving to Lotus, the momentum looked like it was securely in NAVI’s court. KRÜ would have to rally bigtime on the game’s newest map to stand a chance at pushing the match to Pearl.

KRÜ started Lotus looking a bit more composed, and despite some early-round mistakes, they were able to get a few successful executes by playing off of the C site.

Both Raze players did great on Lotus, but especially DaveeyS. His utility usage was great, and he followed it up with clean frags to secure huge rounds for KRÜ.

It looked like Lotus was in KRÜ’s favor, the match going their way for the first time. They were able to net themselves a 9-3 half, the same scoreline which NAVI took over them on Ascent.

NAVI weren’t out of it yet, however, and they took the pistol and subsequent rounds in the second half. KRÜ were able to scrape by their first buy round, but after that, it was all downhill.

ANGE1 again proved his value as both an in-game leader and expert Omen player, utilizing his ultimate in surprising ways that caught KRÜ off guard. He also tallied a whopping 13 assists on Lotus.

The crowd in Brazil was silenced as NAVI gathered round after round for themselves, winning eight in a row to take the map and the series.

The calculated plays and coordination coming out of NAVI are miles ahead of many other rosters participating in LOCK//IN, mostly because they kept the core four members of FPX together. They are used to formulating strategies as a team, and right now it looks like cNed is slotting into the hole left by ardiis perfectly.

Moving on in the Omega bracket, NAVI will face Team Secret, the winner of today’s earlier match. The two teams will face off on Feb. 25 at 11am CT.

Latest comments
No comments yet
Why not be the first to comment?