OpTic Gaming finally defeats XERXIA Esports and qualifies for the playoffs

Thanks to intelligent team composition choices, OpTic Gaming eliminated XERXIA Esports from the VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 Stage 1 Masters and claimed their previous loss to Team APAC.

It was the third crucial meeting between these two teams in the last six months. Originally playing as Team Envy and X10 Crit, respectively, X10 picked up a surprise win when those two teams faced off at VALORANT Champions 2021. When the teams changed names and faced each other in their first match International of 2022, XERXIA has once again managed to surprise. But, this time around, OpTic redeemed themselves, beating XERXIA 2-0 to qualify for the Stage 1 Masters playoffs.

XERXIA starts slowly and OpTic capitalizes

The first map, Fracture, provided some great turns for both teams, from fast site runs to slower spins. Victor “Victor” Wong opted to use Neon, a handheld choice he developed his comfort with during NA Challengers 1.

Despite the advantage offered by Neon, Round 8 showed how good both teams were in terms of skill. XERXIA used a smart scythe along the ropes to rush and plant at B. Even with OpTic getting key picks in the fight, Thanamethk “Crws” Mahatthananuyut’s utility kept OpTic from defusing, helping XERXIA win the sleeve to climb 5-3.

OpTic fought back to try and take a halftime lead, but an excellent Guardian clutch from Panyawat “sushiboys” Subsiriroj kept things tied at 6-6. As the attack side transitioned to OpTic, they used their neon and breach to their fullest, gaining a lot of value by dashing in and blinding their opponents. This caught XERXIA off guard and their defense struggled to win a set.

On at least one occasion, XERXIA also managed to throw a trick they almost grabbed. In round 16, Itthirit “foxz” Ngamsaard first dodged a Brimstone ultimate before accidentally returning to it, losing the round and forcing a timeout. OpTic ultimately won the first map 13-9, putting the team just one map away from the playoffs.

Haven brings fast pace, quick win

The map started off strong for OpTic, which forced XERXIA into two consecutive 1v4 scenarios that they couldn’t grasp. It wasn’t until round four that Nutchaphon “sScary” Matarat snuck around the B-site and got two big Sherriff kills to earn XERXIA their first round on a peeler.

Even better, when OpTic attempted a heavy hit on site A, Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker nearly latched onto a prime operator. However, a good Killjoy ultimate held him back and allowed an easy defuse for XERXIA to tie the series together early on. But right after, OpTic picked up their pace to win two more sets in the space of just one normal set. That pace took OpTic to a 9-3 halftime lead.

Just when OpTic looked like they were in a great position to end the series, XERXIA won the first two rounds of the second half. Yet when it started to look like the 9-3 curse was real, Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen seized on a 1v2 scenario to bring the momentum back in OpTic’s favor.

OpTic Gaming secured the map 13-6 and the series 2-0, eliminating XERXIA Esports from Stage 1 Masters. That means they will face NA team The Guard in the playoffs on Thursday.

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