OpTic finally break through, win VALORANT Masters: Reykjavík

by Sage Datuin

OpTic Gaming have brought the VALORANT Champions Tour Masters: Reykjavík trophy back to North America after taking down Brazil’s LOUD in a dominant 3-0 performance.

For OpTic Gaming, it was a mix of different emotions. Yet, for each player their win against LOUD in the Masters: Reykjavík grand final created pure happiness within the team because of the steps taken to reach this point.

“We've been working super, super hard behind the scenes and just grinding every day, six days a week, sometimes like seven,” Austin “crashies” Roberts said. “It means the world that you know we can 3-0 the finals like that, so it is just a bunch of emotions for me.”

For in-game leader Pujan “FNS” Mehta, the hard work was validation for once that all this effort was worth it.

“It feels like we accomplished something great, and we will only gain momentum from this.” FNS said.

Growing from losses

As a former pro in Counter Strike: Global Offensive, there have been many times that FNS has applied his full effort into something for it not to work. He remembers the 3-0 loss to Gambit Esports at Masters: Berlin last year, as well as his previous losses in CS:GO and how it made him feel.

“It just feels good to have this roster get a championship because it felt earned,” FNS said during the postmatch press conference. “It felt like we were grinding enough and practicing enough and practicing enough to where we reached a championship level, so I am glad we finally won. There’s been times where I’ve worked hard and come so short. To be able to get into another grand final and not mess it up this time around shows a lot of composure on our part.”

Photo credit: Riot Games

Throughout Masters: Reykjavík, OpTic Gaming lost a couple times. However, instead of getting down on their losses, they used it as fuel to improve themselves to become better as a team.

Even through the criticism and outside noise, the team didn’t waver, because in the end, they knew that this would help the team grow.

“My teammates’ opinions matter more to me than other people, so for me it means a lot to be able to prove that we belong in the championship category,” FNS said.

This was evident by the team’s adaptations after losing to LOUD in a close 2-1 series in the upper bracket final, where Breeze was a map that the team felt held them back. Instead of letting it get to them and bringing them down, the team used that loss to fuel their preparation to learn Breeze and become better.

“We don’t play Breeze,” FNS bluntly stated. “It’s not enough that we play, so we had to literally go into a server yesterday for two hours to fix it. We earned this one.”

These losses are things that fueled Victor “Victor” Wong to step up in 2022 and become a major factor for the team.

“We know what it feels like to lose in the grand finals, and in 3-0 fashion as well,” Victor said. “That, for me, really pushed me over the edge today [to win the final].”

The OpTic Gaming name creating extra drive

Photo credit: Riot Games

For both Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker and head coach Chet “Chet” Singh, winning Masters was heightened by Envy’s recent rebrand to OpTic Gaming.

“It feels good because I used to be on OpTic in Counter Strike back in the day and I was unable to get [Optic owner Hector "H3CZ" Rodriguez] a trophy back then” Chet said. “So now that I was finally able to help do that, it feels really good to bring that to him.”

For yay, bringing a championship to OpTic Gaming had a different meaning. While yay was never part of OpTic Gaming until VALORANT, the organization is one that he gives major credit for his entire career.

“OpTic basically got me into esports,” yay admitted when asked about what this win meant to him. “I got the whole idea of esports and that professional gaming is out there through Call of Duty and OpTic. It was really what brought me to where I am in my career, so it feels pretty good to return that same favor with the organization that you start with.”

Photo credit: Riot Games

Even though the team knows they are now a championship team, they know that there is so much work that can be done to be better and stay on top. They know they can reach another level.

“In scrims, when we play here, everyone is so talented and good. Being here helped us improve a lot,” Chet explained. “I gotta hand it to EU because they are very good.”

“I feel like a bit of protocols and stuff are missing from NA teams,” Chet said. “There’s a lot of footage out there now, so I feel like a lot of teams can catch up in NA now.”

Nonetheless, OpTic Gaming can hold themselves high knowing that their curse of never winning an event has finally been broken with this win at Masters: Reykjavík. Next, they will play in the main event of Stage 2 Challengers starting May 13 as they will attempt to qualify for the next Masters.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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