OpTic Gaming takes revenge on The Guard in Stage 1 Masters Quarter-Finals

On Victor “Victor” Wong’s performance, OpTic Gaming defeats The Guard 2-1 in the quarter-finals of the winner of the VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 Stage 1 Masters on Friday.

The NA battle turned out to be one of the first playoff matches we saw at Stage 1 Masters. Much like at the end of NA Challengers 1, we had the experience of OpTic versus the confidence of The Guard rookies. But, OpTic had to fight for their place in the playoffs until the group stage, while The Guard were just waiting for their first opponent. This challenge of taking on a powerful, familiar team without any full team LAN experience has manifested throughout the series.

“I would have preferred to play any of the other seven teams,” Trent “Trent” Carins said. “Since we have faced them three times in our last four games. It’s a bit too much.

Icebox puts OpTic in the lead

To begin the series, The Guard’s attack on the guns was quickly countered by OpTic, specifically Victor with the Ghost. In the next round, Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker got a quick ace when The Guard tried to push to the B-site. With those two rounds, the third-round yay operator just kept the momentum going for OpTic.

When The Guard lost 0-4, they took an early timeout. In their best attack so far, three different swings ended up with Jonah “JonahP” Pulice winning a 1v2 to get his first round. After a crucial error by Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen, The Guard won their next round to build momentum.

Alas, Victor continued his great form alongside yay, both putting OpTic in a great position on the map. A clear round on the ten card was just another show of force as OpTic took the half 9-3.

With The Guard on their attack, they earned a pistol shot needed for a comeback attempt. As the rounds went on, the value of JonahP’s Omen pick continued to win rounds for The Guard. While OpTic planted the spike consistently, they also couldn’t gain any post-plants until round 16, where The Guard opted to save their guns after downing two teammates.

After their first round win on defense, Marved ducked to the opposite side and grabbed a 1v1 with The Guard’s buy round afterwards to put OpTic on the map point. With an Austin “crashes” Roberts 2kOpTic took the win over The Guard’s map pick, 13-7.

Haven brings The Guard back into contention

To start Haven, The Guard got two picks out of Icebox’s top two players in Victor and yay, leading to a pistol win. Victor tried to follow this round with an aggressive push from Neon, but it didn’t work. OpTic got the bonus round, but The Guard got the next one with a full buy, giving them the lead.

Just as he might have started to pull away from OpTic, yay and his Tour de Force won an important saver to make it 2-4. At that point, Victor won two straight rounds for OpTic, one from a rush and the other from a lucky lineout to tie it at 4-4.

After that tie, a first pick by Ha “Sayaplayer” Jung-woo on Victor leads The Guard to a thrifty and another lead, leading to an OpTic timeout. OpTic then pulls out the rare flawless saver, into the back of a smart site position Victor by B. Even with that play, a 3k from Trent “Trent” Cairns put The Guard up 7-5.

In the first two rounds of the second half, Sayaplayer’s early aggression on yay led to The Guard staying ahead. Sayaplayer, much like yay on Icebox, just kept his hot form on Haven, highlighted by a Jett dash in ultimate on C that ends the round in seconds.

After a timeout from OpTic, the team manages another thrifty win to start a potential comeback at 6-10. On the next lap, despite a good rush which initiated a final fall for OpTic. Despite a few more wins from OpTic, a Michael “neT” Bernet 4k put The Guard in the lead, 13-7. A good first map win for The Guard at an international event, on OpTic’s map pick, with Sayaplayer coming out on top with 318 ACS.

The divide sends an NA team up, an NA team down

Much like these teams’ final match in Challengers 1 and the other Masters Stage 1 match that day, this series also went down to the final map. On Fracture, a superb blind from Trent caught up with the entire OpTic team. Sayaplayer continued his form from Haven to get two wins over Marshal and helped secure the first three rounds.

The Guard took an early lead on their strong defense, using the cash to make Sayaplayer an operator. After a timeout, OpTic used a lot of ultimates but eventually won their first round at 4-1.

The next round proved crucial, as every player traded until it was a 1v1 Breach. Pujan “FNS” Mehta then made a quick weapon swap at a crucial moment to win it.

After OpTic started to make their comeback, on a 3k close range Sayaplayer, The Guard entered halftime with an 8-4 lead.

In the second half, The Guard raced to the A site back-to-back, winning to get into double figures at 10-4. Sayaplayer wasn’t slowing down, keeping his gap with Haven. However, Marved pulled out a clutch to keep OpTic in, helping them to 10-8 and forcing a timeout.

Guard was forced to save, lost a round, but finally stopped the bleeding after a long technical break, but Victor pulled OpTic straight away and OpTic tied it at 11-11. The Guard had to regain their lead on a thrifty, and simply couldn’t, putting OpTic on point for the series.

Off the back of Victor, The Guard lost a 10-4 lead to lose the map and the series to OpTic Gaming. Now, OpTic Gaming will take on DRX next while The Guard will have to take on Paper Rex in the bottom bracket.

Comments are closed.