T1’s revamped roster fall short of expectations at VCT LOCK//IN

Even with a gifted round after the use of an exploit, T1 couldn't come back.

The continuation of the Omega bracket today at VCT LOCK//IN already saw fans stunned by the day’s earlier match between Sentinels and Fnatic. So by the time Korea’s T1 and Brazil’s FURIA Esports took the stage, the crowd was roaring.

FURIA, another hometown favorite team of the fans in São Paulo, enters 2023 with minor changes to its roster. For the most part, its core players have stayed together, presenting a strong team with notable previous international results.

T1 is a completely different story. After leaving the North American region, the organization left its old players as well, instead deciding to field a roster of Korean superstars.

Sayaplayer and Carpe are almost household names in FPS esports, both known for their previous excellence on hitscan characters in Overwatch at the highest level. Munchkin, the team’s new in-game leader, also previously played in the Overwatch League.

On paper, this roster looks like a major force to be taken seriously. But the concern is that most of the players on T1 excel in the same role. They are all known for playing Jett. This proved to present some significant issues with the coordination of team utility and positioning in today’s match.

Even when given the gift of a free round due to an exploit used by FURIA, T1 still couldn’t turn things around. FURIA won their opening match 2-0.

Pearl proved itself as a heavy defender-sided map today. After the first half, the teams were even at 6-6, with FURIA able to net their attack rounds mostly off of dgzin’s fantastic Neon play.

The tone for both the map and the match as a whole was really set during the second half of Pearl. T1 attempted to execute onto the site and their strategies were solid, but FURIA’s retakes were just better. It was easy for the Brazilian squad to use the map’s geometry to attack T1 from all directions.

Dgzin continued to excel on Neon and top-fragged for his team with a +8 KDA. FURIA took Pearl 13-7.

As the teams moved to the snowy tundra of Icebox, the trajectory of the match seemed to be going in the same direction.

When T1 tried to enter into A site during round two, a distinct lack of communication and utility coordination left Munchkin on top of a box, blinded by his own teammate’s KAY/O flash. This allowed qck to easily take him down, and everything fell apart for T1 from there.

With their momentum, FURIA continued the strategy of pulling out an Operator for their Jett player in the third round, leaving some other teammates with just Spectres. This investment paid off as dgzin came up with picks easily.

Things started to look desperate for T1, and they were clearly struggling to regain any footing on the map. But then, suddenly, they were given a golden opportunity.

After a lengthy tech pause, officials announced that due to an illegal placement of a Killjoy molly, FURIA would be penalized. The molly in question, placed by Khalil, descends to a position on A site where it is unbreakable. This Nanoswarm placement is in the league’s rulebook as an exploit.

As a result, T1 were given an additional round to their score tally.

This extra round, which reset the score to 5-2, breathed new life into T1, at least for a moment.

Suddenly, their attacks looked a bit cleaner. Munchkin was using his Viper utility in unique and innovative ways, while Carpe planted the Spike in an unorthodox position as well. This B site take and defense was one of the best rounds T1 put up all day.

Unfortunately for the Korea-based team, this small glimmer of hope was fleeting.

Though the rounds with clear set plays were a bright spot for T1, they continued to struggle when at a player disadvantage, and coordination was still lacking.

FURIA continued to bulldoze their way through the match after regaining their balance. The Brazilian crowd cheered as FURIA took Icebox easily, 13-5.

FURIA will move on to face EMEA’s Fnatic on Feb. 27 at 2pm CT. As for T1, they’ll go back to the drawing board to try and perfect their strategies before the start of the VCT Pacific league.

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