Worth the wait: XSET stuns FPX to top group C at VALORANT Champions 2022

Playoffs secured, set thoroughly repped.

After some serious health issues hospitalized members of FPX and postponed their match against XSET, the two teams finally met in the Group C winner’s match with a playoffs spot at VALORANT Champions up for grabs.

Pearl started out as a very even match, with both sides taking rounds back and forth. BcJ and Zekken led the charge for XSET’s attack side, with Zekken using Neon to wide swing and close the distance while BcJ racked up a ton of precise kills on Fade. But FPX had a number of impressive retakes, most notably on the A site, leading to a 6-6 tie after a close first half.

XSET bolstered their lead early on defense thanks to a bonus round retake, highlighted by another big play by BcJ. The Zekken/BcJ duo continued to hunt down information and FPX attackers, giving the Copenhagen champions almost no opportunity to safely get onto sites. Cryo emerged in the final round of regulation, holding down the A site with his Operator to punctuate a dominant defensive side, taking Pearl 13-7.

FPX looked much more confident and capable on the attack side of their pick, Fracture. FPX was able to get onto sites very easily, with ardiis picking off plenty of XSET players on Chamber. XSET claimed a couple of late rounds off retakes, and almost finished with five first-half rounds, had it not been for a clutch ardiis defuse denial. FPX led 8-4 lead going into half-time.

FPX’s dominance on Fracture carried over to defense, with ardiis continuing to make exceptional plays with Chamber’s utility, including an incredible 3K with his ultimate to secure the bonus round. Ardiis was the force behind a flawless defense for FPX, who rolled over XSET on Fracture 13-4 to equal the series.

XSET started strong on defense on Breeze, making it costly for FPX just to get on site, then taking rounds via advantageous retakes, leading to a 5-1 lead before an FPX timeout. XSET’s KAY/O pick was a tremendous counter to FPX’s executes, and Cryo picked FPX apart with the Operator round after round. The rising stars of NA punished FPX, 11-1 in the first half.

A successful attacking pistol round for XSET, propelled by some ice-cold shots from Cryo, put XSET up on a mountainous 12-1 lead. FPX began to string together some defensive rounds with their backs against the wall, but a Viper and Cypher ultimate secured the final attack round for XSET, as well as the 13-5 win on Breeze and the stunning 2-1 series win.

With the victory, all four top seeds out of groups have now been determined. It’s a bright start for the Americas region, with OpTic, Leviatan, and XSET all through to playoffs already. All three EMEA teams will play their own respective do-or-die decider match, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 7.

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