VCT Masters 2, Day 1: Fnatic deal with potential dark horse
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VALORANT Champions Tour Masters 2: Reykjavík kicked off Monday with Europe’s Fnatic, North America’s Version1 and South Korea’s NUTURN picking up wins on Day 1 of the first international offline event in VALORANT history.

Fnatic took down Latin America representative KRÜ Esports in the opening match of the day, followed by a closer-than-expected win for V1 over Japan’s Crazy Raccoon. Rounding out the day was a tight series between NUTURN and Sharks, with NUTURN taking a 2-1 win over the Brazilians.

Outside of the matches, the production value of the event was a level above any Masters tournament before it. The new overlay is more intricate, and the utility on the map corresponds with the color of the teams. Viewers can now differentiate one Astra star from another. But, the day was also filled with technical pauses and slight production hiccups.

Masters 2 continues Tuesday with Team Vikings vs. X10 starting at 11 a.m. ET. Here’s a look at what we learned from Monday’s games and what to expect going into the rest of VCT Masters 2.

Derke and Fnatic prove they are world-class at VCT Masters 2

The first matchup of Masters 2  ended in decisive fashion as Fnatic stomped their opponents 2-0. KRÜ Esports, only managed nine rounds across both maps as Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev, Fnatic’s newest signing, popped off on the international stage with 40 kills across both maps.

Derke had a 364 average combat score by the end of the series and put up 16 entry kills with only two entry deaths, according to The Swedish teenager was a force in Fnatic’s qualifying run, but no one knew if he could replicate the same performances on LAN against international competition. Based on his performance against KRÜ, Derke may be one of the best players to compete in the tournament so far.

Derke did not just take over the series on his own, however. Fnatic ran circles around KRÜ as their defensive setups confused the Latin Americans and caused chaos for bomb site hits and retakes. On attack, Fnatic bluffed hits and aggression on the first map, Haven, and baited rotations from KRÜ repeatedly.

KRÜ had their moments in the early rounds. They won the first two rounds on each map on both attack and defense, but could not convert those into a streak larger than two.

Fnatic go up against North American top seed Sentinels on Tuesday in the last match of the day.

Crazy Raccoon don’t fall easily

North America’s debut match was a tad tighter than fans and analysts expected. Version1 pulled out the series win 2-0 but each game went to at least 20 rounds. Both sides had impact plays as Byeon “Munchkin” Sang-beom and Erik “penny” Penny traded multikills and entries across both games. The series also came down to a few clutches as Loic “effys” Sauvageau, Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro and Yusuke “neth” Matsuda won rounds for their teams in the final seconds. Both teams had multiple one-on-one, one-on-two and one-on-three clutches.

But the series did experience the longest delay of the tournament so far as tournament officials had to remake the game to solve an issue. Version1’s Anthony “vanity” Malaspina said he was too angry to even talk about the pause in a post-game interview with Upcomer.

Munchkin ended the series as the only Crazy Raccoon player with a positive score line. Version1, on the other hand, had multiple positive kill/death/assist ratios as penny and Zellsis topped the server at 45 and 43 kills respectively.

Version1 go up against Team Liquid on Tuesday in the second series of the day.

NUTURN and Sharks put on three-game show at VCT Masters 2

The final match of the day was the only series to go to three games. NUTURN and Sharks Esports traded the first two maps as the teams showcased their strengths and weaknesses. But in the end, NUTURN took the series.

On Haven, Sharks showed their great aim and tempo as they dispensed of NUTURN 13-5. Gabriel “gaabxx” Carli, the team’s Jett player, pulled out a surprise Sage pick and put together an incredible score line. He put up 22 kills with only six deaths and a 47% headshot percentage according to NUTURN looked uncomfortable on the map, sitting back while Sharks ran at them through multiple lanes.

NUTURN returned the loss in kind on Bind and Ascent, two of there best maps. They took Bind and Ascent 13-5. Unlike Haven, Sharks’ aggression and fast tempo are exploitable on Bind and Haven and NUTURN took the advantage. They used Bind’s teleporter and their Breach utility to keep Shark’s on the back foot. On Ascent, NUTURN could dig into a bomb site and stall hits with their Skye and Sova composition. On Ascent, Sharks looked lethargic as NUTURN earned multiple flawless rounds against the Brazilians.

NUTURN continue in the upper bracket to play the winner of Verion1 vs. Team Liquid on May 26. Sharks fall to the lower bracket and will face KRÜ on the same day.

VALORANT’s first international LAN, Masters 2, continues May 25 with Team Vikings vs. X10 and the day ends with Fnatic vs. Sentinels.

Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.