Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Guard snap losing streak, beat TSM to keep NA VCT playoff hopes alive

The Guard finally corrected course on Friday, winning a much needed series against TSM to improve to 1-2 in NA VCT Stage Two group play and keep their chances of making playoffs alive. With the win, The Guard snapped a losing streak of four straight series, and picked up their first win since defeating OpTic in the NA final of Stage One.

The Guard starts TSM’s Haven pick with another pistol round loss, having only won a single pistol in 10 tries prior to the start of this series. The reigning NA champs began to settle in thanks to a hot start from Sayaplayer, who had 10 kills in the first four rounds on Jett. TSM still managed to take a 7-5 half-time lead, but The Guard responded with a rare pistol round win on attack to jump-start their second half, and were able to take a small lead. After every successful TSM defense, The Guard answered with an overwhelming attack round to maintain their lead, eventually closing out map one 13-10.

Heading into their map pick with a 1-0 advantage, The Guard jumped out to a big lead on their attacking side of Icebox. Sayaplayer, valyn, and JonahP each notched 10+ kills in the first half en route to an 8-4 lead at half-time. The Guard made a TSM comeback more improbable by winning their third straight pistol round. TSM made it even harder on themselves after fumbling back-to-back post-plant scenarios, gifting The Guard a 13-7 victory on Icebox to close out the series.

After a dismal showing at Masters Reykjavík, The Guard looked like a shell of their former selves to start out Stage Two, losing their first two series to 100 Thieves and Ghost. The team that dominated storylines in Stage One seemingly resurfaced for the first time this stage, winning pistol rounds, executing retakes to perfection, and hitting their shots against TSM.

Both teams now sit at 1-2, but still have a chance to sneak into the NA Stage Two playoffs if they win out in the last two weeks. The Guard takes on XSET and NRG in weeks four and five, while TSM faces Ghost and XSET.

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