Fnatic eased into their VCT Masters 2 run with a win, but it’s going to be the team’s unique style that has top-performer Nikita ‘Derke’ Sirmitev confident in the orange-and-black’s chances down the stretch.
It took 18 or less rounds in both maps for Fnatic to put KRÜ Esports away in their 2-0 series win. Head coach Jacob ‘mini’ Harris’ offense looked really comfortable holding W into KRÜ’s defense or cleaning up hectic retakes.
Taking charge was 18-year-old Derke, who ran the tables with Jett on both maps of Haven then Icebox. In speaking with the media, he attributed Fnatic’s mindset to their dominant performance against LATAM reps, KRÜ.
Fnatic came into Masters 2 as one of the top-ranked teams. They aren’t guaranteed a win against the likes of NA’s Sentinels and fellow EU reps Team Liquid, but Derke does tip his team’s unique playstyle to be the difference maker.
In Derke’s mind, Fnatic hardly dipped into their playbook against KRÜ. During the opening pistol rounds in both games, Jake ‘Boaster’ Howlett and the rest of Fnatic were slow to trade on KRÜ’s aggression. It looked scuffed in the early rounds, but once the team got going, they couldn’t be stopped.
“I think KRÜ is a good team, they have good fundamentals, but I think we were just better,” the Finnish-Russian player said about their game against KRÜ. Fnatic barely dipped into their playbook, relying on individual skill to open up parts of the map.
They were paying their opponents too much respect in too many cases, leading to obvious mistakes, he thinks. Coupled with over-peaks and inefficient trading, Fnatic got off to a slow start in their first VCT debut.
But once they had guns in their hands, the story changed.
They’ll face @Sentinels in the next upper bracket round!
— Valorant News (@ValorINTEL) May 24, 2021
That’s when IGL Boaster was able to unlock his teammates, like Domagoj ‘Doma’ Fancev and James ‘Mistic’ Orfila, to set up for map control or push on a site.
Fnatic’s stingy crossfires and flashy retakes earned them multikills after next to shut down KRÜ’s rifles. After going down 0-2 on both maps, Fnatic would take the next 10 rounds to close down the opening halves.
Fnatic were able to handily read the LATAM Stage 2 champions. After they opened up their aggression to match passive holds and predictable angles, the series was a countdown to the inevitable.
Derke was the series MVP with a series overall 364 ACS, more than 100 ACS than the next closest player, with a 1.82 rating. He went 19/12/6 on Haven and 21/15/4 on Icebox, and proved why he’s one of the VCT Masters 2 players to watch.
Derke says he’s the best Jett at Masters 2.
It was this fast, decisive, and measured play that overwhelmed KRÜ to send them to the lower bracket, and it’s what’s going to give Fnatic the edge over tougher competition.
“I think our playstyle is very unique,” he began with a wide grin. “We are disciplined. We have very nice firepower. And our coach, mini, does a lot of work with anti-stratting, helping us… so other teams can’t keep up.”
Derke’s tame evaluation of his first international Valorant LAN performance is encouraging for Fnatic’s future prospects. But they still have a hill ahead of them.
Fnatic are on a collision course against NA’s No.1 seed.
This will be the first of two NA vs EU matchups, and we’ll see if the orange-and-black’s style can really challenge Tyson ‘TenZ’ Ngo and Sentinels.