NRG’s Lotus pick backfires but VCT LOCK//IN favorites rally to topple Giants

NRG's surprise selection didn't go their way, but the NA favorites were relatively unpunished.

NRG’s prolific VALORANT squad opted for an audacious map pick in their second-round matchup against Giants Gaming at VCT LOCK//IN today. And while the stacked roster struggled on the game’s newest map addition, they still ended up dominating the series.

The series started out on Lotus and NRG looked lost on defense, with Giants winning A main control with ease via precise Breach and Omen blinds. NRG struggled to keep Giants from getting clean opening kills and post-plants but were able to at least salvage four defensive rounds thanks to a vital retake then a hold on C in the final two.

NRG started strong on the attack side, taking control of the C site with smart utility placements. But Giants’ retakes were key to the EMEA side, growing their lead up to 12-8. NRG held on, though, and some heroic clutches from both FNS and s0m in the final two rounds capped off a four-round run that sent the map to OT. Giants went back to their tried and true A take on attack, punishing NRG by getting into post-plant spots easily. Then, Giants successfully answered NRG’s C execute with aggression, with a Fit1nho triple punctuating a 14-12 win on Lotus for Giants.

On Haven, NRG won their first opening half pistol round of the tournament and found success executing on all three sites early on. NRG punished Giants over and over, recovering from the gut-wrenching OT loss on Haven with a dominant 11-1 attack half. A clinical pistol round from ardiis and anti-eco from NRG ended the half and the match as quickly as possible, resulting in a stunning 13-1 rout in favor of NRG.

The series turned to Icebox, the site of NRG’s furious comeback against KOI in the first round of the tournament. On defense, NRG capitalized on Giants’ lack of aggression, allowing themselves to run down the clock and shut off access to the site with their utility. Giants looked toothless on attack, only mustering three rounds in the first half, two of which were the pistol round and subsequent anti-eco.

NRG won their own pistol/anti-eco round combo before a s0m ace pushed the NRG lead to 12-3. Giants showed signs of life, catalyzed by a force buy, but a deep post-plant position for s0m on the B site brought NRG across the finish line, 13-7.

Despite losing their pick in overtime, NRG still managed to produce a decisive result, keeping NA’s winning streak at LOCK//IN alive. Of the three times so far Lotus has been picked, only one team (Cloud9) has won there after picking it.

With today’s victory, NRG now await the winner of LOUD vs. Karmine Corp.

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