Team SMG put up a good fight against G2 Gozen at the VCT Game Changers Global Championship, but Petra “Petra” Stoker and Vivian “roxi” Schilling were too much to handle.
BRAZIL – G2 Gozen have put an end to Team SMG’s undefeated streak that lasted for over eight months, securing a 2-1 series victory over the APAC representatives (Bind 8-13, Split 14-12, Haven 13-4) in the upper semi-finals of the VCT Game Changers Championship held in São Paulo, Brazil. The nail-biting three-map series propelled G2 Gozen into the Upper Final, while Team SMG now awaits the outcome of the BBL Queens-Shopify Rebellion match in the lower bracket.
Under the leadership of Abigail “Kohaibi” Kong, Team SMG have been dominating the APAC competition since the beginning of the season. They had an impressive track record, winning 72 out of 76 maps leading up to their showdown with G2 Gozen and maintaining a streak of 35 series wins in a row. Their LAN debut kicked off with a much-needed 2-0 victory over North America’s top-seeded team, Evil Geniuses GC, featuring one of the most unconventional agent compositions ever witnessed in the VCT.
On the other hand, the reigning GC champions had an impressive track record in the domestic Game Changers EMEA competition, emerging victorious in the first two stages and securing a respectable fourth-place finish in the third and final stage, which still rightfully earned them a spot in the São Paulo event through circuit points. To kickstart their campaign in São Paulo, Petra “Petra” Stoker and her team started with a win against Team Liquid Brazil in the opening round with a convincing 2-0 victory, despite the Brazilian side pushing them to the brink of defeat in overtime during the first map on Sunset.
Team SMG came out brighter of the two sides on G2 Gozen’s map pick of Bind right from the outset on the back of their victory in the first gun round. Camille “Kamiyu” Enriquez emerged as the driving force behind their 7-5 halftime advantage while playing Brimstone. G2 Gozen faced further setbacks as Team SMG extended their lead with a victory in the second pistol round and subsequent rounds.
However, the EMEA side managed to stage a comeback, starting in Round 15 when Michaela “mimi” Lintrup secured three crucial kills during a retake. Despite that, however, it proved to be too little, too late, as Team SMG swiftly closed out the game with an impressive four-round winning streak, 13-8.
The next map on Split can be described as a game of two halves, with G2 Gozen initially performing well while playing on the defending side. Despite losing the pistol round, they made a strong comeback once the rifles came into play, dominating the middle part of the first half to go up 8-4. Vivian “roxi” Schilling stood out as a standout player for G2 Gozen, with much of their success attributed to the Cypher player’s multikills, including an impressive 1v4 clutch in Round 12, which marked the close of the first half.
However, the second half of the game was a completely different story. Although G2 Gozen won the second pistol round and the subsequent one, Team SMG managed to string together seven consecutive rounds, staging a remarkable comeback to take the lead at 11-10. Nevertheless, the EMEA side regained momentum in Round 22, thanks to Sarah “sarah” Ahmed’s Viper ult, which helped them reach match point. In a dramatic turn of events, Team SMG’s victory in the final round of regulation forced the game into overtime, where G2 Gozen eventually secured two rounds to emerge victorious after an hour of intense play.
Haven was left to decide the victor, where G2 in-game leader Petra “Petra” Stoker shocked the public with her Jett pick, marking the first time in her career she had chosen this agent. Team SMG struggled for momentum as G2 Gozen denied them a chance at consecutive rounds every step of the way, locking down an 8-4 defending half before closing it in quick fashion on the offense with five straight rounds, ending Haven 13-4 to win the match in reverse-sweep.
Cover photo courtesy of Adela Sznajder/Riot Games