Valorant Champions 2022: Many surprises in the semifinals

The quarterfinals of Valorant Champions 2022 saw North America shine, with OpTiC Gaming and XSET being the only two... Fragster | 14. September 2022

The quarterfinals of Valorant Champions 2022 saw North America shine, with OpTiC Gaming and XSET being the only two teams to go unbeaten. Meanwhile, the two EMEA teams that are still in the competition — Fnatic and FunPlus Phoenix — made it through the first round of the lower bracket.

Upper bracket

DRX vs. LOUD (0-2)

DRX are considered to be one of the strongest teams in the competition, so the South Korean team was expected to win here. In reality, LOUD’s Felipe “Less” de Loyola made short work of it, amassing 41 kills across two maps for his team. As has been noted many times before, the Sentinel main is the determining factor in whether or not LOUD can beat their opponents. This time, he shone across the board, getting both maps for his team — 13-11 on Breeze and 13-06 on Haven.

OpTic Gaming vs. XSET (2-1)

While it is OpTic who usually win a duel with XSET, since the last Masters, XSET have improved significantly and so anything was possible in this clash. Indeed, the first two maps of the faceoff had a very curious course. On Haven, OpTic went for a particularly defensive strategy with two Sentinels, but then only managed to defend four rounds and still won the map 13-9 thanks to Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker’s individual effort.

The following Ascent was similar. OpTic started in attack, chose three initiators and got only three rounds in attack. This time, however, XSET were able to punish their opponent and win the map 13-11.

OpTic abandoned the creative strategies on Pearl, showed sovereignty and won the attack 8-4. The second half remained exciting, and in the end, OpTic prevailed and closed the map quickly with a 13-8 scoreline.


Lower bracket

XSET vs. FunPlus Phoenix

In the group stage, XSET prevailed against FPX, however, there was talk of an upset. This time around, it was exciting all along the line, as all three maps were close to their respective overtimes. The first Pearl went to XSET at 13-11, with a lot of high-quality gameplay to see.

On Bind, on the other hand, we saw some tactical differences between the teams. FPX relied on the Fade/Raze combo while XSET relied on Matthew “Cryocells” Panganiban’s Chamber. But this time he couldn’t prevail, lost many opening duels and so it was FPX who won the map 13-11.

The decider in this game was Ascent. The biggest meta-tech divergence were FPX with Sage instead of Killjoy. This choice paid off, especially towards the end of the game. At least two of the last three rounds played were decided by a late-seeded Sage Wand, allowing FPX to secure the final map.

DRX vs. FNATIC (2-1)

This game was an absolute top match. You could say the early final. It was all the more tragic that one of these teams was eliminated from the tournament after this match. Every other team has banned Icebox against FNC so far. DRX did not do this and were penalized for it. Fnatic showcased their strategy with three Sentinels and took seven rounds in attack. The remaining five rounds of defense with this defensive formation was then only a matter of form and so Icebox ended 13-7 for Fnatic.

DRX almost went down on Ascent the way they did on the previous map. During the first half, they only won three rounds. In the second half, Kim “MaKo” Myeong-Gwan and Kim “stax” Gu-Taek helped DRX to win 14-12.

Fnatic shouldn’t have allowed this comeback because DRX clearly outperformed them on Fracture. Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev gave up eight opening hits to DRX’s Goo “Rb” Sang-Min and Yu “BuZz” Byung-Chul, making it impossible for Fnatic to win the map. In the end, DRX deservedly left the field as the winner with a score of 14-9. 

Header: Riot Games