Fnatic finally get their trophy, avoid historic collapse versus LOUD in unbelievable VCT LOCK//IN final

A legendary series for the ages.
Photo by Lance Skundrich/Riot Games

History was guaranteed to be made at the conclusion of the VCT LOCK//IN grand finals between Fnatic and LOUD, but no one expected the series to go the way that it did.

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The start of the series was almost a mirror copy of Fnatic’s win versus NAVI from the day prior. Fnatic won handily on LOUD’s pick of Ascent to start the series, thanks to a standout performance from the young Leo on Sova, and a stalwart defensive effort that held stellar LOUD duelist aspas to just eight kills.

Defense was the highlight of Fnatic’s map choice of Fracture as well. After a 6-6 first half, Fnatic nearly shut out LOUD completely on the Brazilians’ attack side, only losing the bonus round in the second half and crunching LOUD’s executes time and time again.

LOUD started to rally on Split, with aspas waking up and opening up sites for LOUD to get safe plants on. Despite Fnatic’s best efforts on attack, Less stepped up with some tremendous plays, and LOUD was able to hand Fnatic their first map loss of the entire tournament.

In order to bring it all the way back, LOUD would need to find a way to win on a map they hadn’t played all tournament, Fnatic’s pick of Lotus. Despite trailing 0-3 early, LOUD managed to produce an excellent attack side, winning numerous close post-plants and taking a 7-5 lead at half-time. But their best work was on defense, using utility masterfully to wind down the clock and force desperate plays out of Fnatic, taking a second straight map by a score of 13-8.

With all the momentum in the world and the raucous home crowd behind them, LOUD waltzed onto another strong Fnatic map pick on Icebox with their best attack side of the series, exerting full control of the map and crushing the Fnatic defense with a 9-3 first half. Despite LOUD taking pistol and anti-eco, Fnatic did start to mount an unimaginable comeback, winning nine straight to take a 12-11 lead before LOUD scraped a defensive round in the final round of regulation to force overtime.

Derke delivered a tremendous defensive triple with the Operator to give Fnatic the early OT advantage, and then Fnatic crunched the B site on attack to complete the improbable Icebox comeback and avoid what would have been a historic grand finals collapse, silencing the Brazilian crowd.

For Fnatic, the long sought-after trophy is finally theirs after being a consensus top international VALORANT team for two years. Most of the roster are lifting their first trophy ever, but Chronicle wrote a little history of his own by becoming the first ever VALORANT player to win two different international VCT trophies, having lifted a trophy at Masters Berlin 2021 with Gambit. For their part, LOUD fell just short of becoming the first team to win back-to-back trophies.

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Author

Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.