OpTic bring Valorant crown back to NA with VCT triumph

OpTic Gaming lifting the Valorant Masters trophy.Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

OpTic Gaming defeated LOUD 3-0 in the Valorant Champions Tour Stage 1 Masters Reykjavík grand final and put North America back into the conversation as the best region in the world.

The ability to win a Masters-level Valorant there had been with the OpTic squad for a while, according to the team’s in-game leader, Pujan ‘FNS’ Mehta. Their previous runs to the top were marred with issues, with the team running into the brick wall of Gambit Esports in the Masters Berlin final and then seeing a positive test cut bring their Valorant Champions appearance to an early end.

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“It just feels good to have this roster get a championship because it felt earned, it felt earned for a while, and it felt like we were grinding enough and practicing enough to where we’ve reached a championship level,” FNS said in a post-match press conference. “So I’m glad that we finally won.”

In OpTic’s previous trip to an international Valorant grand final, they were emphatically swept by Gambit – a result that weighed on the team’s mind, according to Victor “Victor” Wong. But instead of letting that fuel doubt or create extra pressure, Victor used it as motivation to lift the trophy.

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“We know what it feels like lose in the grand finals, in 3-0 fashion too so for me, that helped me push it over the edge today,” Victor said.

OpTic cement their place at the top of NA

As a team, OpTic personify a certain grind mentality. They practice and try to improve six to seven days a week, according to their coach, Chet “Chet” Singh.

But despite their incredible effort, the Green Wall has never quite generated the same hype as Sentinels or some of the newer talented squads in North America outside of their run at Masters Berlin, which was then tarnished by their Champions appearance.

Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Victor has grinded with the team since 2020 and finally has a trophy to his name

That seems to have changed with OpTic finally lifting a trophy at a LAN event.

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“100 percent, we’re definitely the best,” OpTic’s Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen said when asked if his team is now the best in their region. “And I’m sure a lot of people know it. It’s very difficult to beat us and I think we’re more difficult to beat than any other North American team.”

OpTic’s journey to the final

OpTic faced arguably more adversity at this event than at any tournament before. From losing their first match to Xerxia Esports, and the fallout that followed thanks to their coach’s reaction, to their multiple comeback map wins against The Guard, DRX and ZETA DIVSION.

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At times, the squad needed individual heroics from certain members to stay in the tournament, like a multi-kill round from Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker, a stellar Neon showing from Victor or a record-breaking performance from Marved.

Marved's back as he walk on stage.Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Marved was one of OpTic’s top performers, setting the single map kill record at the event

But those roadblocks did not deter the team, who went into the finals with the same mindset they do every game.

“Every tournament feels different, so it doesn’t really feel similar at all,” Marved said the day before their finals matchup. “We definitely had a different path towards this finals, so it just feels different.

“We’re just going to treat it like any other scrim or game.”

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When asked what the win meant to them, many of the OpTic players said they felt joy in bringing the historic esports organization its first Valorant trophy, especially one that felt like it was over a year in the making.

“All our hard work pays off and we finally have the trophy that was long overdue,” Marved said.