VCT EU Challengers: Liquid overcome Fnatic after a legendary matchup
The VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Challengers 2 event is almost over. The second-to-last match featured Team Liquid take on Fnatic in the Lower Bracket Final. The loser would have their dreams of entering Masters Berlin shattered while the winner would live on with guaranteed qualification for EMEA Challengers Playoffs. Both teams gave it their all on the server as the best-of-five (BO5) series went all the way to the decider map Breeze.
The battle between the two European giants kicked off on Haven. Liquid saw ScreaM step away from KAY/O and back on Jett. The explosive entry onto A from Fnatic as they started off on attack but the duo of ScreaM and Jamppi were last men standing to get the clutch defuse. Liquid continued rolling on the anti-eco, but were just as effective on the first buy round to pull ahead 3:0. Finally, Fnatic managed to get up on the board after a C site execute and defensive stance from Long. A 1v3 clutch win by Jamppi put Liquid to winning ways once more, however.
A great effort from Derke to get a 3k while defending a planted Spike granted Fnatic a 3:4 deficit as we were gearing up for a tight matchup on Haven. Another great follow-up round saw Fnatic square things up. An incredible thrifty round from Liquid saw them bounce back to winning ways after a 3k from L1NK. Liquid were straight rolling from there as pressure mounted on Fnatic to close out rounds on attack. At 7:4 for Liquid, Derke stepped up big time to get the ace and put Fnatic just two points down at half-time at 7:5.
Fnatic kicked things off on the right foot as Boaster‘s men caught wind with 3 straight rounds on attack to pull ahead 9:7. Derke turned it up on Jett alongside Magnum to see Fnatic glide to a 10:7 lead. Liquid finally took a round on attack to make it 10:8. Another round went their way which pushed Fnatic to taking a timeout before Liquid gets rolling. This was of not much help as Liquid’s B site plant granted them the equalizer at 10:10.
Fnatic snugged a round back to get to 11, but was met with two brilliant rounds from Liquid to put them at match point. They did, however, shrug off the pressure and get the game to go to overtime at 12:12.
Fnatic continued rolling in OT as Derke pulled off another 3k to get his side the advantage. That was met with an equally great effort from Liquid to tie it up and send us to double OT. This time, Jamppi stepped up to get 3 with ScreaM getting the opener on defense to get them the round. Finally, at a 14:13 lead, ScreaM clutched out a 1v2 to get his side the dub.
We were back for the second map as Liquid started out on attack on Split. A phenomenal retake stride with Derke on the Raze saw Fnatic pick up the first round. Fnatic continued rolling by taking the anti-eco and the following round to initiate a Liquid timeout at a 3:0 score. This gave them one round, yet Fnatic swiftly came back to winning ways after trading the round to make it 4:1 in their favor. This was temporary as Liquid garnered two straight rounds to get close at a one-round deficit of 3:4. Following a Liquid timeout, L1NK on Breach made a great stride to get his side onto B and make Liquid eventually square the match off at 4-a-piece.
The next round turned on it’s head as another B site entry saw Magnum in a 1v2 situation, and eventually just against ScreaM. The ice-cold Fnatic player managed to get the defuse with just 00.34 seconds remaining to get Fnatic a round at long last.
Fnatic run with that action to keep pressuring Team Liquid on their attacking side. This eventually led to a successful half for them with a 8:4 lead in the half.
After side switch, FNC entered the B site after Liquid eventually decided not to go for the retake, making it 9:4 for Fnatic. Boaster‘s men continued the streak, making it a large deficit to come from for Team Liquid at 11:4. Finally, a soulcas first blood enabled Liquid to get a round on the board denying a hot Doma to continue rolling after a double kill. Fnatic punched back, however, as they were then at match point at 12:5. Liquid started to rally from that point to try and make the comeback dream come true. At a 12:7 lead for FNC, they took a timeout to talk things over. Yet to no avail as Liquid snagged two more straight rounds to get dangerously close at only a 12:9 deficit after KRYPTIX’ 3k. L1NK‘s triple kill followed, as Liquid was just two points away from tying it all up.
Fnatic’s eco on round 23 saw Liquid trail on Fnatic’s heels as they needed one more round to force overtime. Jamppi‘s aggressive OP peak put Liquid up as Fnatic took A site with Viper’s ultimate and left in a 2v3 situation. Doma emerged as the hero as he won the 1v1 against Jamppi for the victory on Split.
Bind was the third map as the BO5 encounter continued at a tie. Liquid kicked off the pistol on the attacking side and took B in rather easy manner. A 4k by Derke on retake was denied as Jamppi took him out to deny the defuse. The anti-eco went Liquid’s way as they took the two first rounds of the half. Fnatic turned it around on round 3 leaving KRYPTIX all alone to get the first full-buy round go in their favor. Derke was red hot once more on the following round to clutch a 1v2 and get the defuse to tie the matchup at 2:2.
Round trades emerged as both sides were outsmarting one another in the El Classico of European VALORANT. The battle continued at a tie of 4:4. The round trades did not cease as the two teams kept going at it with a 5:5 tie before Liquid was blown out on A site as Fnatic was up 6:5. The final round of the half saw a 2v2 scrim emerge befer L1NK was left in a 1v2 situation with the Spike planted but the duo of Doma and Derke saw FNC go up 7:5 in the half.
Liquid kicked off the second half of Bind with a bang as they snugged the pistol and the anti-eco as ScreaM got to work early in the half with the Guardian rifle tying the map at 7:7. Liquid kept the ball rolling with two straight rounds featuring a double, hearltess kill with the Judge around Hookah to catch FNC players off-guard. ScreaM and co. got themselves a nice 9:7 lead at that point to pull ahead on defense. A timeout from FNC gave the orange side some life following a 10:7 deficit.
A Doma 4k to blast himself into the B site saw him take command of the round to get his side to a 10:9 deficit. Fnatic brought themselves a tie at 10:10 but Liquid retaliated by denying Boaster a 1v2 clutch to give themselves the slight lead again. Boaster was once again left in a clutch situation, this time against L1NK. The Judge shotgun reigned supreme for L1NK to get the defuse and for Liquid to reach match point.
Jamppi closed out Bind soon after as the Finn kept his cold blooded veins under control to clutch the 1v1 and get the defuse. Another hectic match finished putting Liquid up 2-1 in maps.
Fnatic went onto Ascent as the attackers and got themselves the first round of the map to get going. They capitalized on the anti-eco but Liquid got themselves back into the match after taking the third point making it 2:1. The one round was only a momentary disruption as Mistic and co. continued rolling on attack to make it 4:1 in their own favor. Liquid finally retaliated to get their second and third rounds after a team site retake on B before blowout site entry denial on A to make it 4:3.
Fnatic then got to work to relentlessly storm the sites and deny Liquid’s retake attempts. This put up Fnatic 7:3 after the last round of the three-round streak was met with a 3k from Mistic. Fnatic continued rolling with Derke‘s odd positioning catching TL by surprise. The last round of the half, however, went Liquid’s way as Boaster could not clinch the 1v3. Still, Fnatic was up 8:4 at the half.
Derke clinched the round as a 1v2 eventually left him in a 1v1 against Jamppi. WIthout much thought, Derke stuck the defuse to clinch the pistol and see Fnatic ride away. A flawless round for Fnatic followed as Liquid had to go on the chase with a 10:4 deficit. A last-second plant from ScreaM saw a 1v1 against Boaster unfold as the Belgian hit his shot to get the insane clutch for Liquid.
At a 10:6 deficit, Boaster and co. went with a timeout to halt the mounting Liquid comeback. Liquid brushed off the timeout to snatch another round as pressure was rising over at the FNC camp. At 10:7, Fnatic finally bounced back to challenge Liquid on attack and took two straight rounds to get themselves within reach of map point at 12:7. Finally, Magnum held the final dagger as he wiped ScreaM off of the server for Fnatic to square the series at 2-2.
Breeze kicked off with yet another bang as Liquid got the upper hand at the start while Fnatic started storming the A site. That was turned around swiftly by Doma on Skye as he pulled off an ace to get his side going.
Fnatic kept the pressure up on attack, brushing off the buy rounds as if it was nothing. This put up Boaster‘s side 4:0 as Liquid were starting to trail on the decider map. Liquid finally got two rounds up on the boards to get themselves in the match on defender side. Fnatic started to push more aggressively as they stormed B site from mid and put up the Viper’s Pit to deny the retake making it 5:2 for FNC. Liquid retaliated denying Fnatic the A site to stay relatively close to their opponents in terms of score.
A fake using Killjoy’s Lockdown guaranteed Magnum and co. a solid entry onto B to trade the round and put them up 6:3 in the half. That was followed by another B-site take to extend the lead. Liquid took a timeout right after to talk things over as something needed to change.
Left in a 1v1 ScreaM stuck the defuse around pillar to grant Liquid their fourth round and still make them stay close to Fnatic’s scoreline. The final say in the half went to Fnatic as soulcas was left in a 1v3 before Magnum deleted him to put FNC up 8:4 before half switch.
It was Fnatic that emerged victorious in the pistol round on their defense side effectively putting them up 9:4. Liquid, however, got the thrifty round to show that Sheriffs can be mighty powerful on Breeze. ScreaM and co. followed up to make it 9:7 as we then got a tight match once more in the making. Next up was Jamppi stepping up as he denied Derke from getting the defuse and peek to get Liquid their 8th round.
This was quickly followed with another round for Liquid, this time to fully tie Breeze up at 9:9. Once more, the A site be welcoming for Liquid as they finally pulled ahead at 10:9. This led to another tactical timeout from Fnatic. Boaster and co. came back rejuvenated as Derke caught a nasty 3k to deny Liquid the B site. Liquid’s L1NK and Jamppi punched back with a 2v3 victory to get the Spike onto A and leave Mistic helpless. It was 11:10 for Liquid as the rollercoaster continued.
Liquid once more stunned Fnatic with a phenomenal A site execute to stun Fnatic. L1NK‘s lurk gave them the round as Liquid reached match point. The heroes of Liquid in that round were KRYPTIX and L1NK, who combined for an ace to finally seal the deal on Breeze and give Liquid the long-awaited victory against Fnatic.
Fnatic are out of the VCT Challengers 2 Main Event. Team Liquid move on to the final of the event against Vodafone Giants and book themselves a spot in the EMEA Challengers Playoffs.
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