Paper Rex claimed the first win of Valorant Champions 2022, defeating EDward Gaming on Wednesday in the opening game of the tournament.
Paper Rex were previously not pleased with being paired up with the Chinese squad for the tournament opener. However, the Singaporean side’s 2-1 victory certainly indicates that such apprehension was unwarranted. Before the tournament kicked off, Benedict “Benkai” Tan, Paper Rex’s IGL, talked about how the team did not have the best experience playing against Chinese CS:GO teams.
This tournament marks EDG’s first international appearance on the Valorant Champions Tour, and although they lost, they put up an impressive show. It is also the first time a Chinese squad has participated in an international tournament.
As a result, fans showed up in their numbers, and the views of the match reached a 760,000 peak. The number is the highest recorded viewership for any VCT international tournament opening match. Due to their previous performance in matches, Paper Rex earned the title of the most aggressive Valorant team worldwide.
Despite this, EDG were undaunted and ensured that Paper Rex’s victory was a hard-fought one. EDG matched the team’s aggression and, within a few seconds into the first game, had their first kill. They were able to put up a commendable fight despite having to substitute one of their players, Qu “Life” Donghao, with Zhao “Smoggy” Zhang at the last minute after Life took ill.
The series between the two teams started when EDG picked Pearl as the opening map. The pick was the first time the map had been used in competitive play. During the course of the game, the two squads continually fought for the A Main and Mid Control, which resulted in several kills and trades.
EDG initially led the match with five straight wins. Paper Rex seemed to figure out the team’s playing style and started catching up. They won a round and kept winning until the match was tied at 5-5. The rest of the game was basically a full-on battle between the two teams, and neither were able to stay entirely in the lead.
Players from both teams also executed amazing clutches in the game. EDG player Guo “Haodong” Hao Dong was able to win a 1v2 in round five. Paper Rex’s Aaron “mindfreak” Leonhart went on to tie the game in the next round after winning a 1v3. The rest of Pearl finished with Paper Rex, winning the map by 13-11. The next map, Icebox, saw EDG secure a 13-5 win after the team overwhelmed Paper Rex in sites with their faultless trading and synchronized playing.
The last map of the series, Haven, went Paper Rex’s way, but not without some struggle. The match ended with a 13-8 win for PRX as a result of Wang “Jinggg” Jing Jie’s efforts. The 19-year-old player made use of Reyna, his signature agent, and rounded out the match with a 338 Average Combat Score (ACS) and a 25/17/5 KDA.
In a post-game interview, Paper Rex’s in-game leader, Benkai, spoke about the team’s compatibility with Reyna, explaining that they knew how and when to use it.
“Reyna is an agent that is well-suited to us as a team. When you put Reyna on a player like Jinggg, he just goes crazy with it. It is easily his best agent on the map. We don’t really care whether people say it is a bad pick or not. We know it is good; that’s why we use it,” he said.
In their next game, Paper Rex will take on Leviatán Esports on September 2 as -263.16 favorites with BetOnline. The Argentine franchise defeated Team Liquid in the other Group A opening fixture. EDG, on the other hand, will fight in the elimination match against Team Liquid.