OpTic Gaming was primed to be the first team in Valorant Champions Tour history to win back-to-back Masters titles, but their run ended at third place in Copenhagen.
While the team, and by extension North America, might be disappointed with the result, OpTic managed a top three finish with some clear factors against them.
The Green Wall, right after their championship run at VCT Stage 1 Masters, came back to North America looking like they hadn’t missed a beat.
They dispensed of their regional competition with ease in the group stage and then only lost one map en route to Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen qualification.
But behind those wins, OpTic was starting to feel the wear and tear of competing in tournaments consecutively while making deep runs every time.
“It’s always something in terms of the schedule where we have to play, basically, every single day and if we’re not playing, we have to practice in order to get and stay ahead of the meta,” OpTic’s IGL Pujan “FNS” Mehta said in a press conference early on at Masters Copenhagen.
“It’s not easy to consistently be able to do that.”
FNS also revealed during the event that he and his team have only had about a week or two of downtime since January.
It’s tough at the top
As the top team coming into the event, OpTic had a lot of eyes on them. From fans and analysts watching for a potential double championship run, or an eventual fall from grace, to other teams dissecting their strategies, OpTic had to constantly reinvent themselves to keep maintain their winning ways.
“It’s very easy when you’re the No. 1 team to kind of have everybody watch you at the same time,” FNS said after OpTic’s loss to FunPlus Phoenix. “So there was a slight disadvantage there. But that’s fine and all just as long as we potentially could have had time but we just didn’t. So there was no reinventing on our end.”
But even with little time to iterate on their success, OpTic still managed to keep with their winning ways, breaking through the group stage after a, classic, opening loss to Guild Esports.
What really may have stymied their potential at winning this event was their overall underwhelming play according to FNS.
“There’s a lot of games that we easily could have lost, that we kind of scraped by that I feel, at our best, we should be able to win cleanly,” the OpTic IGL said.
Individually most of the OpTic players played well, with Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker and Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen showing up in the top 10 at Valorant Masters in Average Combat Score, Kills/Deaths ratio, and Kill/Assist/Survive/Trade percentage.
But overall, outside of some great individual performances, OpTic was not playing on the same level they were at Iceland.
Reinvention and a taking a break
Now, OpTic Gaming may have something that can help them improve and raise their ceiling for Valorant Champions in September, a break.
With the tournament more than a month away, and the team losing out before the Grand Final, the teams should have enough time to recuperate and hit the server again to iterate on their playstyle.
While they won’t be able to get the month-long break that FNS said he wants after their loss to FPX, it’ll be more time than they had between the Iceland and Denmark tournaments.
If this tournament run, where they defeated DRX, XSET, LOUD, and KRÜ Esports, is OpTic at the end of their rope, then Valorant Champions teams should be nervous about what they can do in Turkey.
“I think if we had new stuff or maybe more new stuff, things would have been a little bit different but yeah, I think we were a little burnt out,” FNS said.