Fnatic were pushed to their limits today but came out on top in a grueling three-map series win over G2 Esports in their first match of the 2022 EMEA VCT Challengers One main event.
Fnatic looked like they would run away with their pick of Icebox early after jumping out to a 4-0 lead on their attacking side. But an impressive resurgence from G2’s defense via some tightly-contested rounds saw them take a 7-5 lead into halftime.
Fnatic’s new addition in Andrey “BraveAF” Gorchakov notched a triple in the pistol round to briefly halt G2’s momentum and tie the map at 7-7. Some impressive Jett plays out of Derke built the Fnatic lead before another triple from BraveAF closed out the map 13-8.
Ascent started in a similar fashion, with Fnatic taking an early lead in what turned out to be a heavily defensive-sided affair. They led 9-3 at halftime but looked to be in danger of becoming another “9-3 curse” victim when G2 won four straight rounds to start the second half. The two sides traded strings of rounds back and forth until they reached an 11-11 tie. G2 shut down a desperate anti-eco mid push from Fnatic to take an advantage before keloqz’s knifework produced a 3K in the final round to send the series to Split.
On the third map, it was G2’s time to take an early lead at the start, but the first half ended up tied 6-6 with strong showings coming from both duelists Derke (Raze) and keloqz (Jett). Derke, who had a somewhat quiet first two maps, used Raze’s utility well to force favorable fights for himself. Fnatic’s stellar fakes on attack punctuated a dominant second half for them and they closed out Split 13-8 to take the series 2-1.
It’s only the first week of group stage play, but this is a massive win for a Fnatic team that struggled tremendously in online play during VCT 2021. Known as the “LAN monsters” for their strong showings at Master Two and Champions, online play was typically a hurdle they struggled to get over. But a win against G2 today is as ideal of a start as you could hope for if you’re Fnatic.
Both VALORANT teams take on Turkey next week. Fnatic will look to improve their standing against BBL Esports while G2 face SuperMassive Blaze.