ZETA DIVISION made history as they defeated Fnatic 2-0 in an elimination match at VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 1 Masters: Reykjavík to mark their first international victory.
ZETA DIVISION came into their Tuesday group stage match against Fnatic searching for their first international win at Masters: Reykjavík.
The team had been heartbroken before at Masters: Berlin in 2021, leaving the tournament with only one map win to their name. They didn’t start the event off well with a quick 2-0 loss to DRX and were thrust into the lower bracket.
But the team remained confident, and after two intense maps, they claimed their first win at the international stage and eliminated Fnatic from the competition in straight maps.
“We have been waiting and longing for this win for the longest time,” ZETA DIVISION’s Koji “Laz” Ushida said in a post-game press conference. “So to be accomplishing our goals coming into Masters, I am very proud of it and very happy.”
While ZETA DIVISION was undefeated coming into Masters, the team did not have much hype behind them. The Japanese region in VALORANT has yet to prove itself as a threat to the top dogs as teams from the island nation have only recorded one win at international events so far.
While Fnatic was down two players, one due to health concerns and the other a suspension, the European squad still gave the teams props for defeating them in straight maps and playing up to the competition.
“I think honestly, they stepped up to the challenge, I think that was the most admirable thing,” Fnatic’s in-game leader Jake “Boaster” Howlett said after the match.
“They came in and they didn’t show the kind of same fear and kind of hesitation as previous times where the more minor regions come in and play. They really stepped up and proved why they deserve to be here as well.”
ZETA DIVISION left their last international event full of regret. The only accomplishment they achieved outside of qualifying was giving Japan its first map win on an international stage.
When asked before the event what he would like to accomplish this time around on the international stage, ZETA DIVSION’s coach Hibiki “XQQ” Motoyama said he wanted his team to not leave anything on the table after they have left Reykjavík.
“I believe that the best way to compete at an international LAN is to give it our all and fight without regrets,” XQQ said. “So at least I would not like to feel any regrets this time.”
— stax (@staxVLRT) April 12, 2022
So far, the team doesn’t seem to have any regrets, but making it out of the group stage may be a tall task as they face Ninjas in Pyjamas Wednesday for the final spot in the playoff stage. At the very least, ZETA DIVSION may have proved that Japan is not a region to look down upon anymore.
“I understand that the [Japanese] region is sort of a region that gets looked down on so with this first win I feel like we have proved that wrong and would like to continue our streak into the next match,” ZETA DIVISION’s Tenta “TENNN” Asai said.