Southeast Asia’s Paper Rex were crowned VALORANT’s VCT Pacific champions on May 28 after pulling back a two-map deficit in the grand final in part thanks to a particularly niche agent pick.
Paper Rex and DRX have already qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Masters after reaching Monday’s upper bracket final. Here, Paper Rex won the game in a 13-5, 13-6 scoreline to advance to the grand final, with DRX setting up a rematch after beating T1 in a five-map thriller on Saturday, May 27.
While Paper Rex was given a two-map ban advantage as the upper bracket team in the grand final, this was still likely a game that they were dreading, with DRX developing a reputation as their kryptonite over the last three years. Last weekend’s upper bracket final was the first time Paper Rex had beaten their Korean rivals in six meetings including losses at Masters Berlin in 2021 and Masters Reykjavík in 2022.
Now after finally breaking the curse, they were set to face again for the VCT Pacific trophy, $35,000 in prize money, and the top seed at the Masters Tokyo event in two weeks’ time.
After losing their own map pick, Fracture, in a fairly demoralizing 6-13 result, Paper Rex’s Russian wonder signing, Ilya “something” Petrov, pulled out a shocking agent pick on Ascent in Reyna, an agent usually avoided due to her lack of utility.
Something netted 30 kills and the best opening differential in the game yet still couldn’t win the map as it went onto triple overtime.
From here on, Paper Rex began the first high-profile VCT best-of-five reverse sweep to date in emphatic style. A 13-3 on Lotus was followed by a 13-6 by Pearl, where something had switched back to Jett. Finally, on the decider map for the VCT Pacific season, he doubled down, bringing Reyna out once again.
Paper Rex never looked in trouble as the team won the opening six rounds to an eventual 13-6 map win, and 3-2 series scoreline, to lift the VCT Pacific trophy.
In this final map, something on Reyna was the top fragger with 22 kills to just 12 deaths as well as securing the best opening differential once again. This also put something as the best overall player across the series with a plus 31 differential while playing Breach, Reyna, and Jett.
While PRX has brought Reyna out on Bind before, this was the first time in the 2023 VCT season that she had been selected on Ascent.
Even with these two lock-ins, Reyna remains the third least-played agent above Yoru and Chamber in the Pacific region with a three percent pick rate, while Reyna sits with zero picks in EMEA and America. Notably, PRX is also responsible for two of Yoru’s three picks as they like to bring out the unexpected.
With this win, Paper Rex get to skip the initial group stage portion of the Masters Tokyo event due to take place from June 11 to 25. DRX, meanwhile, will be seeded with three other of the world’s top teams in a GSL-style group, with the top two progressing into the playoffs.