How XSET want to use VCT Masters heartbreak as a lesson for Valorant Champions

Declan Mclaughlin
The entire XSET team takes a step forward at Valorant Masters
Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

XSET lost to Leviatán 2-1 in first round of the lower bracket at Valorant Champions Tour Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen. After the devastating loss in the grueling three-game series with multiple overtime rounds, XSET hope to rebound for Valorant Champions.

On series point, 12-11, for XSET in a tight game on Bind, the North American team had the Spike under control on their side of the map after Leviatán’s Marco “Melser” Amaro had teleported and died in heaven on the A site.

Jordan “AYRIN” He had predicted the play, and Melser was unaware that he had the spike with him. The adrenaline from the Masters lower bracket match made the Chilean competitor play without thinking, he later said.

“What a blunder, what a whiff,” Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson, the match’s caster, said.

The series seemed to be over at that point. With a man advantage and the spike in their possession, XSET practically had one foot in the next round of the VCT Masters tournament.

But those assumptions were dashed not even five seconds later as Francisco “kiNgg” Aravena used his Blast Packs to launch himself into heaven, kill XSET IGL Rory “dephh” Jackson, bring the spike back down to a Leviatán-controlled A site and die from fall damage.

“It was a slip from me for sure to not think that he actually could get up there and do it,” dephh said after the match. “But he hit an absolutely insane shot, like he double satcheled and one tapped me. It just sucks to lose that way.”

Leviatán sent the game into overtime and eventually won 16-14, sending the No.1 NA seed home in the first round of playoffs.

VCT masters Copenhagen was supposed to be a breakout spectacle for XSET, who had finally pushed past their top-four curse to showcase their skills on the international stage for the first time.

But in their second game, the team came out on the wrong end of a three-map slog of a series and one of the best plays in Valorant history.

Coming back from defeat

A loss like that will linger with XSET. The team had three chances to end the series, two in the second map, where Leviatán forced overtime after going down 12-10, and one in the final game.

“This is going to suck, it’s gonna suck for probably two weeks,” dephh said. “No one’s going to get over this for a while.”

It probably also doesn’t help that the team was inundated with negative messages on social media after the defeat.

XSET Valorant coach at VCT masters answering questions from media
Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
XSET will continue their VCT run at Valorant Champions.

“We’ve gotten a lot of hate already on our org’s Twitter account from a lot of the fans of Leviatán,” XSET coach Don “SyykoNT” Muir said.

But there’s at least one silver lining for XSET: Valorant Champions in September. With their qualification for Masters Copenhagen, the team also gained enough VCT circuit points to make the year-end championship.

While it might’ve been little comfort in the moment, XSET still have another chance to compete with the best in the world and show what they are worth.

“We refuse to take a loss, and let it affect us in a negative way,” SyykoNT said when asked about their team’s run compared to that of previous NA No. 1 seed, The Guard. “We only use losses as learning opportunities and that’s exactly what we’re going to do right now.”

dephh added that XSET, in their history as a team, has never fallen off or been shaken by a loss.

The Guard, after their 0-2 showing at Stage 1 Masters, went on to only win one series in Stage 2 NA Challengers.

BcJ, an esports veteran, said this tournament was just the beginning for XSET internationally and that the series showed just how well they can play on stage.

“That’s why we’re here,” he said. “We’re getting the experience on LAN, and we’re getting that rep out, and can’t be happier thinking that we came back and almost won that map and the series.”