A day full of upsets in the VCT Stage Three: Challengers One open qualifier capped off with one more, as Dark Zero knocked out FaZe Clan in the round of 32 to end the action-packed Friday.
This was DarkZero’s first tournament since entering VALORANT just a week prior, when they signed the core of the Kooky Koalas roster, and rounded it out with former NRG and Immortals player Yannick “KOLER” Blanchette. In their first two matches, they defeated and Night Raid and CoT to book a spot against the dangerous FaZe Clan team. FaZe was sporting a new look since bringing in Hunter “BabyJ” Schline, after Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen departed on loan to Team Envy.
Similarly to the Noble upset against TSM, the underdog struck first on the favorite’s map pick, as DZ stole Ascent away from FaZe Clan after two periods of overtime. FaZe at one point had a 10-7 lead on defense, but even a 31-kill performance from Corey Nigra couldn’t slow down the DZ comeback. Again like the other series, the favorite rallied in the second map with a stomping, as FaZe cleaned up Haven 13-4. DZ led 4-1 early in the map before FaZe proceeded to win 12 straight rounds through half-time to even the series.
While Noble dominated TSM in the final map to complete their upset, Icebox was a much closer, back-and-forth affair between FaZe and DarkZero. DZ started out in control before FaZe went on a run to close the half, only for DZ to go on their own run to start the next half. It was another server-leading kill count for Corey with 22, but again it wasn’t enough as DZ pushed through via an all-around team performance.
For the DarkZero players, they have a chance to reach the Challengers One main event in their first tournament under their new banner. Previously while playing as Kooky Koalas, they reached Challengers Three in Stage One as the only unsigned team to do so, but were quickly dispatched by Luminosity and Gen.G. With a win on Saturday over XSET, they could punch their ticket back to Challengers.
FaZe go back to the drawing board, but aren’t out of the running for the Challengers Playoffs, Masters, or Champions just yet. There’s still another open qualifier for another Challengers event, but if they have any hopes of reaching any of those events, they’ll have to push through. They’ve now fallen short in three straight VCT open qualifiers.