In an intense battle for the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Pacific title, Southeast Asia’s Paper Rex exhibited an impressive comeback, overturning a two-map deficit to emerge as the champions. The team’s victory was partly attributed to a clever agent pick, showcasing their strategic prowess and resilience. With their win, Paper Rex secured their spot in the upcoming Tokyo Masters, adding to their already remarkable journey in the tournament.
The VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Pacific witnessed a thrilling showdown as Paper Rex, hailing from Southeast Asia, triumphed over their adversaries to claim the coveted title. In a display of resilience and tactical brilliance, Paper Rex executed a remarkable comeback from a two-map deficit.
One of the key factors behind their success was an unconventional agent pick that caught their opponents off guard. This victory not only solidified Paper Rex’s dominance in the Pacific region but also secured their place in the prestigious Tokyo Masters.
Before the grand final clash, both Paper Rex and DRX had already secured their positions in the upper bracket final, guaranteeing them a spot in the highly anticipated Tokyo Masters. Paper Rex showcased their dominance in the tournament by convincingly defeating DRX with a scoreline of 13-5 and 13-6, securing their place in the grand final. Meanwhile, DRX set up a rematch after a nail-biting five-map thriller against T1 on May 27.
Despite enjoying a two-map advantage as the upper bracket team in the grand final, Paper Rex faced a formidable challenge in the form of
DRX, their long-standing nemesis. Over the past three years, DRX had proven to be Paper Rex’s kryptonite, consistently defeating them in previous encounters, including losses at the prestigious Masters Berlin in 2021 and Masters Reykjavík in 2022. The upper bracket final of the VCT Pacific marked a turning point for Paper Rex as they finally broke the curse and emerged victorious against their Korean rivals.
The Grand Final Showdown
With the curse lifted, Paper Rex prepared for an intense showdown against DRX in the grand final. The stakes were high, with the VCT Pacific trophy, a substantial prize of $35,000, and the top seed at the Masters Tokyo event on the line. However, the road to victory was not without obstacles. Paper Rex faced an initial setback as they lost their map pick, Fracture, in a demoralizing 6-13 defeat. It was at this crucial moment that Ilya “something” Petrov, the Russian prodigy of Paper Rex, made a surprising agent pick on Ascent.
Ilya Petrov’s decision to select Reyna as the agent for Ascent proved to be a game-changer. Reyna is an agent known for her lack of utility and is often avoided in competitive play. However, Petrov’s expertise and confidence in utilizing Reyna’s unique abilities set him apart. Despite the challenges, Petrov showcased exceptional skill, securing 30 kills and maintaining the best opening differential in the game. The map went into triple overtime, intensifying the battle between the two teams.
Following the nail-biting triple overtime, Paper Rex unleashed a remarkable comeback, staging the first high-profile VCT best-of-five reverse sweep to date. Their resurgence began with a dominant 13-3 victory on Lotus, followed by a convincing 13-6 win on Pearl. Petrov, showcasing his versatility, switched back to Jett, a decision that proved fruitful for Paper Rex. The team’s determination and teamwork were evident as they secured six consecutive rounds in the decider map, ultimately winning with a comfortable 13-6 scoreline. This triumph resulted in a 3-2 series scoreline and the lifting of the VCT Pacific trophy.
Throughout the grand final, Ilya Petrov stood out as a key player for Paper Rex. In the final map, Petrov emerged as the top fragger, accumulating an impressive 22 kills with only 12 deaths. His outstanding performance is also reflected in his remarkable opening differential. Petrov’s versatility was on display as he showcased his skills on three different agents: Breach, Reyna, and Jett. His consistent excellence throughout the tournament earned him recognition as the best overall player, with a remarkable plus 31 differential.
The inclusion of Reyna in Paper Rex’s strategy was a notable aspect of their gameplay. While Reyna is relatively less played in the Pacific region, ranking third in terms of least-played agents, Paper Rex’s strategic decisions showcased their willingness to explore unconventional strategies. Their choice to select Reyna on Ascent marked the first instance of her inclusion in the 2023 VCT season. Paper Rex’s innovative approach to agent selection and their knack for surprising their opponents have established them as a team willing to push boundaries.
With their impressive victory in the VCT Pacific, Paper Rex gained a significant advantage in the upcoming Tokyo Masters event. As a result of their win, they earned the privilege of bypassing the initial group stage, which will be held from June 11 to 25. This advantageous position allows them more time to prepare and strategize for the later stages of the tournament.
On the other hand, DRX, along with three other top teams from around the world, will be seeded in a GSL-style group. This means that DRX will have to navigate through a challenging group stage, where only the top two teams will advance to the playoffs.