In the first series of the Omega bracket of the VALORANT Champions Tour 2023 LOCK//IN Brazil tournament, Team Secret swept Team Liquid 2-0. An early upset in the second half of the tournament, Team Liquid looked lost on their attack halves, leading to two relatively one-sided maps. Team Secret, much like Talon Esports earlier in the tournament, had an extremely well-played defense and held back the firepower that Team Liquid signed in the off-season.
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) February 22, 2023
Team Secret holds nothing back in their win
As soon as the game started, Team Secret was playing as if their lives were on the line. Any mistake that Team Liquid made on Icebox was quickly exploited by the encompassing defence of Team Secret. Out of all the players on this roster, three were veteran players known for their time on Team Secret.
However, with two relatively recent additions making their international LAN debut at this LOCK//IN tournament, there were some worries. After the first half of Icebox ended at 10-2, those worries were dead and gone.
“It felt good that the two younger players are performing,” Jessie “JessieVash” Cristy Cuyco said. “The three veterans on our team shared that experience with them, and I think they feel that they’ve been part of the team from day one. There’s no pressure on them.”
Despite the fact that most fans put Team Liquid as the victor in predictions, Team Secret were confident heading into this series. Not only because they had more team experience, but JessieVash also threw some shade at their opponents and their time streaming that could’ve been spent practicing.
“This was the result we were expecting, even though 90% of the people watching thought we would lose,” JessieVash said. “I think we’re a better team, especially since they’ve only been playing together for a short time. For me, seeing their players stream a lot, I feel like they’re just kids; so easy to read.”
Another EMEA team leaves early at LOCK//IN
For Team Liquid, despite all the talent on their roster, the team looked lost on their attack halves. There were highlights, mostly from Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin and Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen. But, they couldn’t manage a comeback on either Icebox or Fracture. In the end, it wasn’t the side that was the issue, it was something larger that held Team Liquid back.
“Honestly, I don’t think it’s an attack or defence issue, our starts were too slow,” head coach Emil “eMIL” Sandgren said. “We have issues as a team that we need to iron out. Our main issues today came out of communication problems.”
With all the recently formed teams at the LOCK//IN tournament, communication and synergy between teammates matters, and Team Liquid didn’t show that against Team Secret. Plus, with the single-elimination format, one bad series is all you need to be an audience member. The talent remains tantalizing for Team Liquid, but we’ll have to wait and see what they can bring regionally.