To the surprise of many, except perhaps the players themselves, Version1 pulled off a stunning victory over Team Liquid at VCT Masters Reykjavik. Many thought Liquid, viewed as a favorite for the entire event heading into the first North America vs. Europe series, would come out victorious.
It looked like that might be the case after Liquid stole V1’s map pick of Split in overtime, but V1 responded with a dazzling display on Liquid’s pick of Ascent, where they had won 18 straight times. Their confidence unsettled, V1 picked apart Liquid 13-4 on Haven to complete the comeback. After the win, V1 IGL Anthony “vanity” Malaspina said Liquid crumbled under the pressure they put on themselves.
“We just have five people who enjoy playing with each other and who trust each other, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Vanity told Dot Esports. “I think that leads to not feeling the pressure as much. We felt that pressure in the first match, but in this match, Liquid definitely put the pressure on themselves. They said they’re the best team in the tournament, they said they should easily win. I mean, ScreaM said in the press conference that he doesn’t even know who’s in his bracket. You’re putting so much pressure on yourself and your teammates.”
Vanity says that V1 doesn’t feel the pressure because they don’t “come out and say [they’re] going to win the tournament,” despite the high expectations he says they’ve set for themselves. Pressure can lead to mistakes like the one Dom “soulcas” Sulcas made on Haven, lurking behind vanity for too long, letting the NA IGL whip around and get a back-breaking kill. Vanity rubbed salt in the wound with a cheeky wave to soulcas across the stage because when “they make a mistake like that, you just got to make them think about it.”
But according to the V1 captain, the biggest mistake Liquid made was not adapting to the current meta, specifically by not utilizing Astra as the primary controller. Liquid instead opted to use Brimstone, which confused vanity.
“I just don’t understand because Astra is such a strong agent, but the Europeans just think she’s not strong for some reason,” vanity said. “But you can literally play across the map; I can be on B and I can have impact on A. I mean ScreaM tweets this meta is rough, but you guys just aren’t playing the meta. Astra should be played on the majority of maps. You don’t need to play to meta on every map, but the fact that some of these teams refuse to run an agent that has map-wide impact doesn’t make any sense.”
With the win over Liquid, V1 is now 2-0 at VCT Masters Reykjavik, and move on to face Korean team NUTURN in the next round of the upper bracket. Vanity says NUTURN were one of the best teams they scrimmed against, and is looking forward to their match on May 27.