In what could be the closest and best VALORANT esports series so far, NA representative Version1 faced Team Liquid at the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 2 Masters Reykjavík and came out on top. According to Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro, a player on the Version1 VALORANT team, he knew that they could come in and beat them even with a stand-in player.
— Version1 (@version1gg) May 25, 2021
Version1 Beats Team Liquid VALORANT
The match was extremely close for the first two maps. Map 1 on Split went to Team Liquid in a close overtime with a round score of 16-14. Everything looked close during Map 2 on Ascent as well, although V1 barely clinched it 13-11. But it all changed with Haven on Map 3 as Version1 found their stride, winning with a score of 13-4 and beating Team Liquid.
Most of the community and even the VCT Stage 2 Masters Reykjavík casters and analysts predicted Team Liquid to win. Especially since Jamal “jammyz” Bangash is filling in for main roster player Maxim “wippie” Shepelev due to visa complications. Despite that, Version1 beat expectations and even stomped Map 3. “I know people didn’t really expect us to win or get close to winning because we have a stand-in, haven’t had much time to practice, and I think people really believe in the European scene,” Zellsis said.
“But we knew that we could come in and beat them with a stand-in.”
When asked what the biggest contributor to today’s win against Team Liquid was, Zellsis answered that it was their mentality. “We don’t get down. Even when we’re losing rounds, we’re still bringing each other up. We all know that anything can happen and we’re here with a stand-in so we’re not looking too much into it. We’re here in Iceland and we made the first VALORANT event with a stand-in.”
— Jordan Montemurro (@Zellsis) May 25, 2021
Zellsis Leads the Board
The VALORANT esports community was also surprised to see Zellsis on a different role and agent than usual. In all three games in the series, Version1’s Zellsis played Killjoy instead of his usual Phoenix. “Knowing that European teams like to heavily anti-strat and since I’m able to flex on sentinels, we pulled out the Killjoy against Team Liquid and it worked in our favor,” Zellsis explained. “We were happy that we got our first match before TL so we could run duelists and fake them out since they thought we’d do the same thing.”
In particular, Zellsis found his zone on Haven, leading the scoreboard with a kill-death-assist score of 24-10-5. “On Split, I cost my team a lot of rounds,” Zellsis said. “But on Haven, I did the same thing I was doing in scrims and it worked out. I stopped second-guessing on Killjoy. I owed my team Haven because if we lost that series, Split was 100% my fault. It was nice that I was able to take them to a win on Haven.”
— Version1 (@version1gg) May 25, 2021
VCT Stage 2 Masters Reykjavík
Most of the VALORANT esports community never expected Version1 to come this far. Seen as an underdog, many believed teams like Cloud9 or 100 Thieves would succeed more. But V1 surprised everyone when they made it to finals at the VCT Stage 2 Challengers, qualifying for the Masters Reykjavík, Iceland event.
“I think a lot of people don’t believe in us because we don’t have a really big org but Version1 is great and treats us well,” Zellsis shared his thoughts on entering as the underdog. “If we were the size of Envy or 100 Thieves, we’d have a lot of fans. Now, we’re starting to turn heads and change minds. We believe in ourselves and love our fans. If you’re a hater, we’re going to keep playing and doing what we need to do. Hopefully, you’ll come around and be a Version1 fan.”
Now, they advance to the upper bracket semifinals where they face Korean representative NUTURN Gaming. Interestingly, Zellsis is unsure what the matchup will be like, understanding that any team could win. “I think you have to take this event match by match because it’s the first international LAN and you don’t know what to expect so we’re going to take it match by match,” he shared.
Version1 surprised everyone so far through their victories over Crazy Raccoon and Team Liquid. Zellsis and V1’s next VALORANT esports match against NUTURN is on May 27 where the winner reaches the upper bracket final. Stay tuned to see which team wins VCT Stage 2 Masters Reykjavík, Iceland.
**Interview slightly edited for fluidity and clarity**
Written and interviewed by Justin Amin
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