Fnatic are the VCT LOCK//IN São Paulo champions

Fnatic are the VCT LOCK//IN São Paulo champions

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Image credit: Riot Games

Fnatic kickstarts its 2023 season off with a bang.

After three weeks of the VCT LOCK//IN, it was Fnatic who came out on top in a thrilling 3-2 grand final series against LOUD. Playing in front of their home crowd, it was LOUD who lost the first two maps to Fnatic before rallying back to tie the score at 2-2. Sadly, it wasn’t enough as Fnatic managed to win the fifth and final map in overtime.

The first two maps on Ascent and Fracture went Fnatic’s way as the team managed to keep LOUD at bay. After a dominant performance in the first map, LOUD went into Fracture with renewed optimism, going 6-6 in the first half. Unfortunately, it was Fnatic who took the second half despite losing the bonus round.

With their backs against the ropes, LOUD rallied during the third map on Split, edging out tight wins in both halves of the map. While Fnatic did try their best to mount a comeback to seal a 3-0 win, LOUD had something else to say with their terrific defence in game three. LOUD’s win on Split was also Fnatic’s first map loss in the entire tournament.

Lotus was Fnatic’s choice in game four, which was LOUD’s first time on the map in the tournament as well. And even after going down 0-3 in the first half, LOUD managed to take the game by the scruff of the neck to make it 7-5 by the end of the half. They also managed extremely well on defence, forcing Fnatic to make rushed and desperate plays to try and salvage the game, which ended in LOUD’s favour at 13-8.

In the final game of the grand finals, LOUD was able to charge towards a 9-3 lead in the first half of Icebox, which was a map that Fnatic picked as well. But what many in attendance did not foresee was Fnatic being able to come back in the second half, winning nine straight rounds to bring the score to 12-11 in the final round. LOUD ensured it would go to overtime with a critical defensive round win. But overtime was where Fnatic shined the brightest, being able to overcome LOUD’s aggression with three quick kills to give them an advantage in OT before securing the bag with conviction.

And with that win, Fnatic has cemented itself as one of the best teams in the EMEA as well as the rest of the world. That win also puts the EMEA in the spotlight, something it isn’t used to, especially in VALORANT. This is also Fnatic’s first-ever international trophy with the team coming close on numerous occasions over the years.

With four-fifths of the team hosting their first-ever trophy, only Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov has the bragging rights of being the first professional VALORANT player to win two different VCT trophies. His first came during his time with Gambit Esports, which won the VCT Stage 3 Masters in Berlin last year.

As for LOUD, they almost came through to creating history themselves as the first team to win back-to-back championships. Sadly, the team came up short when it mattered most. Even after having its opening match postponed due to several members falling ill, LOUD still managed to put on a show for its home crowd.

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