Even though Acend is less experienced than FunPlus Phenix in professional play, it proved its spirit with its semifinal series. cNed’s madness, BONECOLD’s aggressive controller play style, and koldamenta and Kiles picking up the pace when the rest of their team couldn’t secured Acend a 2-1 win in the series against FPX to go the VCT 2021 EU Masters Grand Finals.
Acend started as Defenders on the map of its choice, while FPX started with an easy win; FPX’s patient and calculated plays choked Acend. Even on a rifle round, Acend lost to FPX’s SMGs and its meticulous, cross-fire-holding, information-gathering game. The first half was handily in FPX’s lap with a 7-0 lead, right until cNed popped off on Jett with a 4K. He sparked the first flames of a comeback for Acend with his nasty Operator and Bladestorm plays, ending the half with 19 kills. The first half ended at 8-4 in FPX’s favor.
In the second half, Acend’s post-plant patience kept it gaining on FPX’s lead, but FPX’s clinical plays with Sova ult and Breach utility were too much. Kile’s post-plant Viper lineups weren’t enough to earn Acend crucial rounds as FPX led 11-6 after 17 rounds. Unafraid of quick pushes into the site for a defuse, FPX’s post-plant reads on Acend, utility usage and neat teamwork crippled Acend. BONECOLD kept his team clawing back to the top, but FPX cut his efforts short. Its slow-paced play style made Acend desperate enough to make mistakes and FPX won game one by a score of 13-7.
Acend played an Uno reverse card for game two on Ascent, playing even better than FPX did on Bind. Acend’s attack started strong with cNed’s Ace, allowing the first-round win. FPX got its first win with dimasick’s snappy headshots, securing it a growing lead till round five. cNed and BONECOLD weren’t having any of it; Acend played FPX’s Bind strategy against it, patiently holding cross-fires and angles for pick-offs. FPX almost took a win on its eco-round, but koldamenta came through with a risky clutch.
Ange1’s OPing and cNed’s whiff almost cost Acend a round, but BONECOLD came in sharp to nip FPX’s rising hopes right in the bud. FPX won the last round, but the halftime score was a solid 8-4 in Acend’s favor.
The second half had FPX trailing a five-round deficit as Acend smothered FPX’s attack. FPX capitalized on its better economy in round 15 to make it 10-5, but crumbled under the pressure from Koldamenta, BONECOLD and cNed’s insane plays. The trio was top fragged to win Acend the match 13-6 on Ascent.
The only Attacker-favored map in Valorant started with FPX winning as Attackers in a great trade-taking, post-plant setup. Both teams had Viper, but dimasick’s Sage became the backbone for FPX’s early-round victories with Zyppan coming in close on his heels to back him up. Round five had cNed on the OP, and Acend secured its first round to make the score 4-1 with koldamenta’s help. BONECOLD’s Viper ults were on point, but Shao’s insane 2v1 clutch Ace secured FPX an almost-lost round to keep them in the lead.
Acend won the last round of the half to make the score 8-4 in FPX’s favor. While cNed, BONECOLD, and koldamenta shined on Acend’s side, FPX had its phenomenal team fight executions to impress viewers.
Acend started its attack half with a close, but crisp win off Kiles’ Killjoy and cNed’s backstabs from mid. FPX’s slow approach against Acend’s similar play style proved problematic as the latter looked uncomfortable on Icebox unlike its match against NiP. Zyppan led the charts with 20-plus kills, but round 18 had cNed with crisper-than-crackers headshots to get a 4k to secure Acend a round. The very next round, Acend let FPX win an eco round with terribly sloppy plays.
Kiles and koldamenta secured Acend a crucial round to keep them in the game, winning the 21st and 22nd rounds to make the score even at 11-11.
FPX’s discipline was palpable, smothering Acend to lead 12-11. Acend was clawing in the next round to make it 12-12, going into overtime only barely. The first OT round had ACE.starxo on defense, spamming his Vandal through smoke, netting kills on Zyppan and ANGE1leading to a systematic slaughter of FPX.
The second round of OT had starxo trading his life for his team securing kills on Zyppan and ANGE1 again, but FPX quickly made it a 3v3. After a clever B-site fake by Kiles’ Viper, Acend planted the Spike on A-site, managing an amazing post-plant hold to win the series 2-1 by a score of 14-12.
FPX’s experience showed in its nearly flawless team coordination. Even so, Acend managed to prove itself the better of the two, although barely.
After handily outdoing NiP yesterday, eliminating them from the VCT 2021, Acend has also eliminated one of the best EU teams, FPX, from the VCT 2021.