They're here to play, but for how long?
EDward Gaming played in their first international match at VALORANT Champions today against Paper Rex, which resulted in a 2-1 loss for the Chinese team.
Aggression is the name of the game for EDG. Pushing on defense and overextending on offense, EDG showed no respect to their opponents, despite their first opponents being Masters finalists. From their first game, it’s clear that Chinese VALORANT fits into the style of APAC aggression but lacks the coordination to match some of the best in the world who have mastered the style.
The bizarre tactics began in the map selection with EDG picking Pearl, the newest map in the pool that was added to replace Split at Champions. The team wouldve only had a few weeks to practice on Pearl, but since the map is new, other teams may have ignored it to focus on their core map pool, possibly giving EDG an advantage.
EDG’s star duelist, Dong Life Hao Qu, was ruled out of the first game against Paper Rex because of illness, which meant Smoggy was brought into the starting lineup. The substitute began strongly with three kills in the pistol following his aggressive KAY/O play.
But EDGs confidence may have been their downfall since players failed to trade with one another in the midround, which led to several rounds going the way of Paper Rex. EDG will need to focus on trading effectively with each player on the same page. But the team was without Life, so perhaps when he returns there will be more synergy with the roster.
While the first map resulted in a loss for EDG, on the second map, Icebox, there were moments of individual brilliance for the Chinese team, such as Sen nobody Xu Wangs critical one-vs-five clutch in the fifth round. But even this moment of brilliance could not take the team over the line against one of the best in the world. There needs to be coordination, something which Paper Rex succeeded at with their heaps of international experience.
To EDGs credit, they were methodical in their aggression with calculated lurks on the backside of their offense, which played well into the defense of Paper Rex. But this was countered by Paper Rexs ability to isolate the one-vs-one gunfights, which the Singaporean team managed to win, especially on Haven.
EDG taught Paper Rex that there were holes in their gameplay with aggression that could be matched at the highest level. But for EDG, theres more that needs to be done to get over the line against the best VALORANT teams in the world.
EDG are set to face off against the loser of Leviatán vs. Team Liquid, who are playing against each other today.