Despite a growing VALORANT scene, Japan will be without representation at Masters Tokyo.
As far as competitive VALORANT goes, all eyes are on the three VCT leagues to see which teams will make it through to Masters Tokyo next month. Unfortunately for Japanese fans, they won’t have a hometown team to cheer on.
ZETA DIVISION, a fan-favorite team, were Japan’s last hope of representation at Masters after Detonation FocusMe failed to make it to the Pacific League playoffs. After losing to Team Secret in the first round of the playoff bracket, ZETA fell again today, this time to Korea’s T1. The final score was 2-1 across three close maps.
Related: All VALORANT teams qualified for VCT Masters Tokyo
ZETA opted to start the match on Haven, a map where they have played well in the past, though since they have played it so often, their strategies were readable for T1, who had clearly done their homework.
ZETA implemented their usual strategy of focusing on taking mid control, but T1’s Sayaplayer, known for his incredible aim, absolutely demolished ZETA in the second round of the map. His incredible ace, with a Marshal of all weapons, set the tone for the rest of the match.
Caster Paperthin described ZETA’s attack on Haven as “anemic,” as they lost eight rounds in a row to T1, eventually losing the map 13-10.
T1 chose Bind as the second map, another expected map pick after they have been innovating new strategies there in the past few weeks. Instantly, the players of T1 locked in their agents, an unorthodox composition that includes the game’s newest agent, Gekko.
Thankfully, ZETA showed that they were also prepared for this composition that had been making waves through the Pacific League and adapted accordingly. Instead of mirroring T1’s double controller, ZETA capitalized on their aggression by having two duelists and two initiators on their team. They also chose to attack first on Bind.
Unlike on Haven, where they looked underprepared and flustered, ZETAy regained a sense of control. Though the map went to overtime, they squeezed out a 14-12 victory, headlined by SugarZ3ro’s own ace.
The third map of the game was Fracture, and the two teams were clearly fatigued after two maps that already went the distance. Though this map has been another one of T1’s stomping grounds as of late, they looked less explosive in the beginning rounds and it took them a while to find their form again.
With incredible plays by Sayaplayer, they closed out the map 13-10, ending ZETA’s dreams of competing on the international stage at home.
Though ZETA have lost their chance of competing at Masters Tokyo, they may still have a chance to make an appearance at Champions Los Angeles later this year via the Pacific League’s Last Chance Qualifier. The players and staff have time to refine their strategies during the break for Masters.
T1 move on for a rematch tomorrow against Gen.G to write another chapter in the organizations’ tumultuous rivalry.