Top 5 Plays of VALORANT Champions 2022
VALORANT Champions 2022 was an electric end to the VCT season, and a showcase of what the game looks like at the highest level. LOUD took home Brazil’s first international title, but all the playoff teams delivered a tournament for the ages. With the crowd in Istanbul fueling the players, the highlights were seemingly endless. Here are our picks for five of the best plays from Champions.
It’s not every day that a pro gets gifted an ace on a silver platter, or, in Austin “crashies” Roberts’ case, strung out on a zipline. On the decider map in OpTic’s first match of the tournament against BOOM Esports, that’s exactly what happened.
In a move they quickly came to regret, BOOM chose to rotate across Fracture via the zipline through the middle of the map. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t have eyes on the other side and crashies had pushed much further forward than they had anticipated. As they crossed, it was like watching a slow-motion car wreck. Crashies gobbled up the ace and helped start OpTic’s tournament on the right foot.
Back again, crashies kicks off the top 5 with an incredible play from the Grand Finals on a retake of Breeze’s B site. With his Owl Drone providing information, OpTic decides to go for a fast retake after LOUD gets the plant down. Crashies finds the timing to get deep into site, finding one unaware before taking down two more to rip the round away from LOUD.
Though crashies had a less than stellar performance in the Grand Finals, he really stepped up time and again on Breeze as OpTic were fighting to stay afloat. He was never afraid of the moment and was a big part of what made OpTic so successful over the last two years. With his team being left out of VCT partnership for 2023, it will be fascinating to see where he and his teammates wind up.
Overtime in VALORANT is always an intense affair, doubly so when the rounds stretch on with no end in sight. So it was with DRX and FunPlus Phoenix in the opening round of the playoffs. In the single best map of the tournament, the two teams pushed it to 17-17 before DRX was able to break through.
In round 35, the odds were against DRX in the 2 vs 4 retake on Ascent’s A site. After losing the site quickly, Kim “stax” Gu-taek was quick to rotate and caught before they were prepared. Ultimately claiming three kills as he drops onto the site, stax helped swipe FPX’s map pick for DRX and delivered one of the tournament’s iconic moments as he sealed it with a kiss.
It’s hard to imagine a more pressure-filled scenario than the 24th round of a Grand Finals match. It’s also tough to picture a better response in that moment than what Erick “aspas” Santos pulled off against OpTic. With his team facing a potential 2-1 deficit against their old rivals, aspas took up an aggressive position in mid on Breeze.
Forced out by OpTic’s utility, he put Jett’s escapability to the test, dashing to safety before they could close in. From there, he started picking OpTic apart, first re-peeking into mid for an opening kill. Then, he turned his attention towards A-main where he won the Operator duel against Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker before landing the headshot on crashies with the Blade Storm. In the biggest moment of the tournament, aspas took center stage for LOUD and pushed them towards victory.
If there’s one thing DRX brought to Champions, it was a flair for the dramatic. Over and over, they were involved in the most ridiculous plays. More than any other DRX member, it was Goo “Rb” Sang-min who had a nose for the big moments. Starting with his incredible 4k against Furia in the Group Stage, he repeatedly excelled when the stakes were highest.
That continued all the way through DRX’s run to the Lower Bracket Final. After forcing a fifth map, Rb stepped up big time on Haven. Down early 3-1, DRX was faced with a 2vs4 scenario while being forced off the C site by OpTic’s Lockdown. On the retreat, Rb hit an insane spray for the double kill before taking down a third to escape with 1HP. Add in the 1v1 against yay, and you’ve got an all-time great play.
Once again, we return to the epic clash between FPX and DRX. This time it was early in the overtime saga, the first round of many to come on Ascent. After the site hit fell apart for FPX, it seemed like DRX would move to map point. As his teammates fell, Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks managed to lurk through Market and behind DRX for an easy kill before being left in a 3v1 with the clock dwindling.
Then the madness began. He was just barely able to get the plant down before stax could arrive on the rotation. From there he managed to isolate three successive 1v1s against the DRX members flooding the site. To land those shots is truly impressive. To do it in OT on the biggest stage in VALORANT is the hallmark of a superstar. FPX may not have won the tournament or even the map, but ardiis added to his legend here and throughout Champions.