Paper Rex, who came in second place at the most recent international VALORANT tournament at Masters Copenhagen, are now out of VCT Champions 2022 at the hands of Team Liquid.
The EMEA team was the last to qualify for the tournament from their region’s Last Chance Qualifier, which gave them less time to prepare and practice, especially on the newest map, Pearl. But with a 2-1 score today, Liquid have ousted the SEA team from Champions.
Liquid put on a show of teamwork on Haven. Aside from Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen’s 29 kills during the map, the EMEA team looked like a well-oiled machine. Every single other member of the team had a similar K/D and most rounds couldn’t be attributed to the work of just one player. The map went into overtime with Paper Rex looking like they might have caught the momentum enough to take it, but Liquid ended up taking the map after a whiff from Aaron “mindfreak” Leonhart in one of the overtime rounds.
Pearl went a lot faster and in favor of Paper Rex. It was their map pick, so it’s not incredibly surprising that they nearly stomped Liquid, who likely didn’t have a chance to practice it in between the end of the EMEA Last Chance Qualifier and the beginning of Champions. The map ended with a 12-4 score, which took this match to a third map on Ascent.
Ascent started out strong for Paper Rex, but after the second round, the team started faltering. Liquid took eight straight rounds from Paper Rex after that, putting them at an 8-4 scoreline going into the half. Paper Rex were able to recover somewhat, but it wasn’t enough to crush the second-place curse.
Paper Rex are considered the darlings of VALORANT esports, mostly due to Benedict “Benkai” Tan’s antics, which include making a sandwich during a press conference, wearing a dinosaur costume on stage, and coming onto the stage as if he just stepped out of bed. They’ll now miss out on the Champions playoffs after the loss to Liquid.
Liquid will move on to play against NA’s OpTic Gaming for a classic NA vs. EU match in the first round of the playoffs. That match will take place on Sept. 10.