FunPlus Phoenix survived a marathon series against Gambit today to improve their EMEA VCT Challengers One record to 2-0. The lengthy series lasted over three and a half hours and went to overtime twice before FPX finally secured the upset.
FPX looked poised to steal away Gambit’s pick of Fracture with a relentless attacking side in the first half. They won eight straight rounds thanks to tremendous Jett play from ardiis, who notched five multi-kill rounds in a row during that streak. FPX’s 9-3 lead at halftime grew to 12-3 before Gambit went on a nuclear streak of their own, putting nine straight attacking rounds together with no room for error.
After an attack-driven regulation, overtime turned into a defensive affair with both sides trading defensive wins through three OT periods. Finally, FPX took an attacking round in OT when Shao narrowly held off a one-vs-three retake by sheydos. And in the next round, Shao got two vital kills while solo defending A to shut down the Gambit push and secure a 17-15 win for FPX.
The series then turned to Bind, where both teams surprisingly passed on selecting Sova, a typical favorite for both squads. This time, it was Gambit’s turn to take a huge lead, with a 10-2 lead built up on defense thanks to some big plays made by Chronicle on Brimstone. Gambit didn’t let FPX back into the map at all, with Chronicle delivering a critical 3K in the final round to finish FPX off on Bind, 13-6.
On Icebox, FPX started on defense and found some early success by surrendering site control to Gambit before punishing them on retakes. Gambit responded by waiting until nearly the end of rounds to keep FPX guessing, but FPX relied heavily on the Sage wall to secure defuses and an 8-4 lead at halftime. Gambit’s stellar defense on Icebox resurfaced, though, playing a more aggressive style that netted early kills and put FPX plants under extreme stress. Gambit reached 12 rounds first, but FPX rallied to send Icebox to overtime as well.
FPX took the first lead by punishing the Gambit plant, making their own retake relatively easy. On attack, they won the trade battle to force deff0 into a one-vs-three retake and there was nothing Gambit’s Jett star could do to stop FPX from taking the map 14-12.
After a solid performance against Liquid last week, Gambit looked a little shakier against FPX in this series, showing some defensive struggles on Fracture and some offensive woes on Icebox. But they still showed FPX and VALORANT fans why they’re so hard to beat, which makes FPX’s win even more impressive.
Gambit move to 1-1 and face another CIS counterpart next week in Na’Vi. FPX are now 2-0 and they take on LDN UTD next.