Version1 were sent packing back to North America by Fnatic on Day 4 of VCT Stage 2 Masters Iceland. However, IGL Anthony ‘vanity’ Malaspina said they weren’t disappointed with the result, soaking in all the experience they’ve got along the way.
Version1 were the surprise package of VCT Stage 2 Masters, pushing further than most people expected them to. While a lot of that came down to uncertainty around their preparation for the tournament, they still managed to blow away everyone’s expectations.
Substitute player Jamal ‘jammyz’ Bangash stepped up massively in place of Maxim ‘wippie’ Shepelev. Erik ‘penny’ Penny had the tournament of his life. The combined forces of NA’s underdogs pushed them into the top six, and were one round off securing a top three finish.
However, their dream run came to a sudden end against NUTURN and Fnatic. After pushing NUTURN to the limit, they lost their matchup against the Koreans in one of their many overtime struggles.
Then, against Fnatic, they just ran out of juice. After stumbling on Icebox after being in pole position to take the map pick, Fnatic just overpowered them on Ascent. Nikita ‘Derke’ Sirmitev was all over penny, and Version1 walked off stage to start packing their bags.
For vanity though, he’s hardly disappointed in the result. In fact, just getting here and defying expectations was enough. While even more success was so tantalizingly close, their resilience was unparalleled.
“Even with a stand-in, even with very little practice, we showed that we can take the best teams in the world to close maps, even if we didn’t manage to win a lot of them,” he said in the post-game interview.
“We went 2-2 in series throughout the tournaments so we can’t be disappointed overall, especially when we were one round away from securing top three. Someone has got to lose though, and today that was us.”
While jammyz more than filled the void for Version1, the squad did lack some polish around the edges. This was especially evident in the longer maps, which more often than not fell away from the NA squad.
“I’m not completely sure what causes us to falter in overtime,” vanity admitted. “I want to say some of it was lack of experience with our fifth and wippie is one of our more clutch players.
“Wippie is one of our more stable players, calm and clutch, he’s the pillar of our team in that regard, and we relied on him to get here, and not having him here is kind of disappointing especially because we lose all of our practice with him.”
However, with wippie or without, Version1 learned plenty to take back home to North America. The international LAN experience is an invaluable asset that could prove to be the difference maker when the Challengers 3 Finals come around with Masters Berlin on the line.
“I think the biggest thing [we learned] is the little differences between the regions. Most of the regions play the game similarly, but the little niche things they do that bring them success — that’s one of the bigger takeaways we will take from this event,” he said.
“The ability to play against international competition will benefit us in the long run. It’s not game changing, but LAN experience in this game is going to be pretty [crucial] because it’s different to anything I’ve played in the past.”
— Version1 (@version1gg) May 28, 2021
Now Version1 are looking at building on their VCT Stage 2 Masters miracle run, integrating wippie back into the squad at home, and pushing to represent NA again later in the year.
“We came here with a stand-in. People thought we were going to be dead last. We beat two of the strongest teams in the world, we played the other teams that we lost to [in] very close [games], so there’s nothing much to be disappointed with.”
VCT Stage 2 Masters Iceland continues on May 29.