North American Valorant fans are rejoicing after OpTic Gaming rolled over the competition in the Stage 1 Masters. They weren’t necessarily considered the strongest contender to win it all, the main reason being that they came into the tournament as North America’s 2nd seed. Back in late March, they got taken down by The Guard in a very close series in the NA Challengers 1 grand final. OpTic had one of the best runs we’ve seen so far this year in the Valorant Champions Tour circuit and we’ll go over how they achieved this.
Let’s take a look at how they started the season back in North America. They were invited to the North American Stage 1 Challengers and didn’t have to play through the qualifiers because Team Envy transferred their roster to OpTic Gaming. In the beginning, they weren’t doing that great and finished the group stage in 2nd place, two games behind 1st place team Version1. Then unexpectedly, OpTic managed to go all the way through the winners’ bracket without dropping a single series and actually beating The Guard in the semifinals. But in the grand finals, they fell short and couldn’t secure the series even though it was extremely close and they were just a couple of rounds away from winning the whole thing.
Fast forward a couple of weeks to the opening of Stage 1 Masters which was held in Reykjavík on April 10 for two weeks. OpTic’s performance wasn’t that brilliant during the group stage where they got taken down by Thailand’s Xerxia in an upset. They proceeded to win against KRU Esports and won the rematch against Xerxia, getting them out of the group stage. Now OpTic would go on to play against The Guard in the first round of the winners’ bracket and got a chance to win the NA Challengers grand finals rematch. This time OpTic pulled a victory in a quite convincing manner and would have to face Korea’s DRX in the next round of the playoffs.
The next couple of rounds is where the magic happened for OpTic Gaming. They had to face Brazil’s LOUD who were one of the tournament favorites and OpTic Gaming couldn’t find the means to secure the series even after they rolled over LOUD in the first map of the match. The North American squad had to wait for the winner of ZETA DIVISION vs Paper Rex to see who they would face, and it was the Japanese team that came out on top. OpTic completely dominated ZETA DIVISION winning three maps in a row and now had to play one more time against LOUD to win the tournament.
OpTic Gaming managed to do something completely unexpected and stomped LOUD in the grand finals, they didn’t drop a single map. That’s how North America won the first international event of the year in the Valorant season. It’s going to be interesting to see how OpTic performs in the upcoming North American tournaments to measure how strong the rest of the region is.