Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Aspas steps up for LOUD in convincing win to send ZETA home from VCT Champions 2022

After Paper Rex were sent home earlier today in the Group A decider match at VCT Champions 2022, two trailblazers in their regions were set to face off for the final playoff spot from Group B.

ZETA DIVISION and LOUD have been pioneers of VALORANT in Japan and Brazil, respectively, and came into champions with some of the most dedicated fans in the tournament. These two teams faced off in one of the opening matches of Champions, which was an easy victory for LOUD.

Throughout the group stage so far, there has been a clear regional divide between the teams with success and the teams who have faltered. The teams from EMEA and APAC look weak, with the last APAC team now out of the tournament and EMEA holding only a fraction of their previous dominance. In contrast, the teams from the Americas look stronger than ever.

And today, this trend continued. LOUD stayed strong with a handy win over ZETA, defeating the Japanese team 2-0 and moving on to the playoffs. ZETA’s 2022 season ends here and the only Asian team left in the tournament is now Korea’s DRX.

Beginning on ZETA’s map pick of Bind, the team instantly locked in a double-duelist composition. These types of compositions were popular with aggressive teams early on in the VCT last year, but as of late, most meta choices have featured two controllers or two sentinels instead. Especially beginning Bind on defense, the double duelist choice was puzzling.

The scoreline at the half was fairly even at 7-5. ZETA took the pistol and the following round on their defense, then began to struggle as LOUD had the upper hand in the rifle rounds. ZETA were able to stabilize only down two rounds at the half relying on Dep’s aggressive play. It was clear that the team had a plan to use the two duelists effectively, though LOUD were often able to counter this aggression.

Aspas stepped up over and over for LOUD, easily beating TENNN in the Raze head-to-head. Though ZETA kept up a fight in a much closer map than the last time these two teams played, LOUD took Bind 13-11.

Ascent continued much in this fashion as LOUD kept pushing their momentum forward. Though ZETA took the opening pistol round again, they were never able to establish a stable economy afterwards, only taking one round at a time as they clawed their way to another 7-5 half. This time, however, the scoreline seemed much less close.

Once again, aspas took over the lobby. Once he had his hands on an Operator on defense, ZETA weren’t able to win even one attack-sided round. The flashiness of the Brazilian duelist player was unmatchable for ZETA. LOUD took Ascent 13-5 in quick fashion, and the match 2-0.

Looking forward for LOUD, the Brazilian team’s continuous thorn in their side has been NA’s OpTic, though they have been consistent against most other teams. In the post-match interview, aspas spoke highly of LOUD’s next opponent, Leviatán, saying their aggressive strategies were interesting and the team is looking forward to their opening playoff match.

LOUD will face Leviatán on Sept. 9 at 9am CT to kick off the playoff stage of the tournament.

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