NRG wants OpTic: Ethan and Hazed look to take on the best to make it to VCT Masters Copenhagen

To be the best, you gotta beat the best.

Despite already facing a grueling lower bracket run in the NA VCT Stage Two playoffs, both NRGs Ethan Arnold and James hazed Cobb want to face off against the reigning Masters Reykjavik champions in OpTic.

After their win against Ghost Gaming on Friday, the NA CS:GO veterans, and now NRG VALORANT duo spoke to Dot Esports. When asked who they’d want to match up against, both players named OpTic, but with good reason.

Some of these teams we haven’t scrimmed since before the qualifier…but weve had a lot of success against OpTic, hazed told Dot. We give them a lot of credit internally for getting us out of a slump that we were in. Id rather beat OpTic in the grand final though, since theyre my friends.

We probably match up the best against OpTic, Ethan added. I feel like everyone in the server is a CS:GO player, so its easier to understand whats happening compared to playing [against] players from other games. Theres more randomness, and those players are always more difficult to read.

In particular, Ethan mentioned that he wanted to avoid FaZe, whom he says NRG is roughly “2-15 against in scrims,” adding that they are “incredible, scary,” and certainly fit the mold of an unpredictable and hard-to-read team.

Beating OpTic is certainly a high bar to vault over, especially for an NRG team that has swung drastically between hot and cold at this stage. After adding Ethan, NRG looked almost unstoppable early on, going 8-0 in qualifiers and taking care of TSM in week one of group play. But the team went into freefall over the next three weeks, losing to XSET, Ghost, and 100T all in 2-0 fashion, never reaching double-digit rounds on any of the six maps played.

“We really tried to be diverse and meta-changing with our comp,” Hazed said when asked about the losing streak. “We tried a lot of really creative ideas. And I personally don’t think the ideas were even that bad. I think a lot of them were pretty good. We just didnt execute them that well. So now weve gone back to what works.”

Ethan added that the team was making “bad fundamental mistakes every game,” but both players acknowledged that things had swung upward since meeting up for boot camp over the past month. The upward swing arrived just in time, with NRG’s latest victories coming in pivotal do-or-die games against The Guard and Ghost. But the pressure hasn’t gotten to NRG just yet.

“[They’ve handled it] better than I would have if I was them,” Hazed said when asked about his young teammates facing pressure. “I’m lucky because I’m not really that guy that is always making everyone laugh, but we have guys that like to mess around and keep the mood light in high pressure situations.”

Whether it be OpTic or someone else, NRG awaits another opponent in an elimination series, with their next match scheduled for Sunday, June 19.

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