Looking Back at the Best Images from VCT Masters: Tokyo

Pedro Romero
category_image Valorant
    Reading time  ~13  mins

    Stories, regardless of the subject, can be interpreted in various ways. On one hand, it can be explained through a simple feature writing piece. The emotions of a player behind a critical moment can get fleshed out to provide an immense effect on a story. Other times, a video can apply the same impact on that same time frame but with a different lens.

    Of course, the same can be said about photography. With an expert handling of a camera, photographers can capture moments in real time and use the ensuing collection of images to paint a bigger picture of how an event panned out. Sometimes, one won’t need additional context or a caption for a given image to fully understand what was going on when it was taken. Sometimes, a quick glance is enough.

    Without a doubt, Masters: Tokyo 2023 provided a flurry of memorable moments that fans will remember long after its conclusion. From the moment fans entered the Tipstar Dome to when Fnatic won the entire event, here’s a collection of the best images selected by BLIX from Masters: Tokyo. All images are credited to Riot Games.

    Group Stage

    Bolstered by ZETA DIVISION’s third place finish in Masters: Reykjavik 2022, Japan’s popularity in Valorant reached a fever pitch when Riot Games announced it would host the sole Masters event in 2023. The Tipstar Dome in Chiba Park was the setting for the first stretch of games in the group stage. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    The interior of the Tipstar Dome, though relatively similar to the main stage to Sao Paulo’s Ginásio do Ibirapuera in LOCK//IN, still provided a sufficient spectacle for the players and teams that took part in the first phase of Masters. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    One of the Japanese fans sends a warm greeting to the rest of the Valorant world through her hand drawn signs. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

    Who doesn’t like visual and lighting effects in a professional esports tournament? T1 surely didn’t as they walked up stage for one of their group stage matches. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

    Despite not playing a single international series before Masters, Attacking Soul Esports’ Zhang "hfmi0dzjc9z7" Juncheng garnered plenty of attention from his unorthodox name, which was chosen to challenge casters in pronouncing it during broadcasts. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

    NAVI, despite featuring a team of past VCT champions, was the first major squad to fall in the group stage of Masters after losing to EDward Gaming off a pair of overtime defeats. It was a performance that fell way below NAVI’s standards and one that proved far too difficult for Kyrylo "ANGE1" Karasov to decode before the team’s elimination. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    When one door closes, another door opens and that was definitely the case for FUT Esports, who qualified to Champions 2023 after finishing above NAVI in the group stage in Tokyo. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is Zheng "ZmjjKK" Yongkang, duelist for EDward Gaming. While there were a few rumblings about him and his team’s potential since Champions 2022, by the time Masters: Tokyo came rolling, EDG went guns ablazing... literally. Following a round win in the group decider match against T1, ZmjjKK took aim on the opposing team. Photo of the tournament? Might as well be. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    One of the marquee matches in the group stage featured EMEA’s NAVI and North America’s NRG, which consisted of the former 2022 OpTic Gaming core, former VCT champion Ardis "ardiis" Svarenieks and the young but promising controller Sam “s0m” Oh. In this anticipated series, NRG came out on top 2-0 to start their eventual journey to Top 4 in Masters, whereas for NAVI, they bowed out prematurely in last place in their group. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

    A moment of tranquility before an ensuing stream of chaos descended on the VCT stage. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    Max "Demon1" Mazanov was not supposed to make the trip to Japan for Masters: Tokyo due to difficulties surrounding him obtaining a visa in order to formally enter the island country. Fortunately for him and the rest of Evil Geniuses, which qualified for Masters as the third seed of the VCT Americas League, he arrived on time to face the world’s best in the Tipstar Dome. Demon1 and head coach Christine "potter" Chi embrace following a win in the group stage. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

    Bracket Stage

    The latest bombshell to hit Masters was DRX’s elimination following their lower bracket first round loss to NRG in Day 3 of the bracket stage. "We just wanted to make things a bit cleaner, make sure there are no mistakes and flaws — and I guess going through the process made us more predictable," said Byung-chul “BuZz” Yu regarding the team’s performance in Masters during an interview with ONE Esports. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    必勝 (Hisshō) = certain victory – That was the message Team Liquid IGL Igor "Redgar" Vlasov wanted to convery to everyone who looked at his headband during the first half of his team’s run in Masters. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

    Now here is Redgar with a new headband, this time channeling his inner Akatsuki member from the hit manga series Naruto by crossing out the TL logo and replacing "certain victory" with 闘魂 (Tōkon), or "fighting spirit," following the team’s descent to the lower bracket at the hands of EG. (Photo by Team Liquid)

    Believe it or not, another immovable force started to crumble in front of everyone’s eyes at the start of the bracket stage. LOUD, a team that came into Masters with a 15-2 record in 2023 and a 38-6 overall record, lost to EG in the upper bracket. Pictured above is LOUD’s Erick "aspas" Santos taking a brief moment to relax. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    Thanks to their defeat to EG, LOUD set up a match against EDG and a ZmjjKK who was steadfast on exorcizing past demons from LOCK//IN. When he and the team lost to LOUD in resounding fashion during scrims, it left such a lasting effect on the EDG duelist that he had recurrent nightmares of losing to aspas. The world title winning duelist became an excruciatingly high wall for ZmjjKK to overcome. but that was what the Chinese player did by beating LOUD 2-0 to complete one of the biggest upsets in professional Valorant history while also cracking the Top 6 in Tokyo. When asked about his crying post-game, ZmjjKK said he wasn’t actually crying. "I just had that feeling...everything felt so surreal for me." (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    LOUD outdated, ZmjjKK motivated, aspas disintegrated and EDG reinvigorated. Oh how long have we waited, China is now activated. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

    An international event in Japan would be nothing if there was no manga created about it, right? Well, it’s real and it was handed out throughout the event. What a way for promotional material to…rank up, right? (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    While Yoru was promoted as the featured agent for Masters: Tokyo, he was not picked in any map throughout the event according to VLR.gg. A 0% presence. Unlucky. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    In a tournament like Masters, the stakes are heightened. That means the significance behind every move, peek, or shot fired is magnified to an umpteenth degree that, frankly, no average player would handle. If one action goes right, then the player responsible for it is serenaded with cheers and praise. Simultaneously, if it goes wrong, then one may have a reaction similar to s0m during one of NRG’s series in Masters: Tokyo. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    EDG huddling together with ZmjjKK sitting in the middle, covered in crimson red and being their leading force. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

    Fnatic on a voyage to a second successive international VCT title with IGL Jake "Boaster" Howlett as the captain. Fnatic was picked by many as the favorite to win Masters: Tokyo. Did that pressure affect them? You be the judge on that. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    Masters: Tokyo had an array of passionate fans that attended with custom-made signs. In a way, it makes one feel like an idol singer on the same level as K-pop stars. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

    The vibes were absolutely immaculate for EG throughout their run in Masters. Even after taking down the champions of Americas, Pacific and EMEA, they continued having fun as if those matches were no big deal. Confidence goes a long way and EG’s form in Japan reinforced that notion. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    A wide shot of the main stage of Masters: Tokyo from the start of the group stage to the end of the lower bracket semifinals. The match in question pitted EG and LOUD against each other for their third encounter this whole year. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    Though Fnatic suffered only one loss out of 19 series coming into their upper bracket finals meeting with EG, they had to exert every bit of their energy to advance to the grand finals. By beating EG 13-11 in Split, they reached their second straight VCT international grand finals and third overall in the org’s history. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    Lower Bracket Finals & Grand Finals

    Whether you like it or not, this is the face of Masters: Tokyo’s anime protagonist. Due to Ilya "something" Petrov being unable to secure a visa in time to compete alongside Paper Rex, the team brought in Patiphan "CGRS" Posri as their stand-in for the tournament. Despite being a content creator with approximately ten days of practice, CGRS helped the team reach Top 3 in Masters and be within one map win of progressing to the grand finals. This was yet another chapter in the book of unexpected pro Valorant performances. Just imagine how many subscribers CGRS will make after Masters. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    As for how PRX made their Top 3 finish possible, CGRS pulled off a 1v1 clutch against s0m where the former managed to kill his adversary with virtually no time left. That gave PRX the first map and, in essence, the rest of the series where they won 2-0 over the second-seeded Americas team. This was the team’s reaction following the end of the series against NRG in that lower bracket heavyweight bout. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    Unfortunately for PRX, their hot streak fizzled out in the lower bracket finals at the hands of EG where they dropped a 2-1 series lead to fall in Ascent 13-8 to finish in third. Nevertheless, considering the obstacles the reigning VCT Pacific champion had to undertake, their display in Japan will be touted as an incredible achievement and one that will be remembered throughout esports. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

    Looking at the other side of the table, a face of disbelief and joy radiated throughout EG and their IGL Kelden "Boostio" Pupello after they defeated PRX in the lower bracket finals. From MIBR assistant coach André "Txozin" Saidel pulling off the series-clinching knife kill against 100 Thieves to push EG to the playoffs at the death and the team being littered with criticism throughout the early part of this year, they made the grand finals of Masters: Tokyo. Soak it in, Boostio. Soak it in. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    It’s finals time. It’s also new venue time. The lower bracket finals and grand finals of Masters were held in Makuhari Messe, which is one of the biggest convention centers in Japan. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    This is what it’s all about. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    Evil Geniuses: Masters: Tokyo grand finalists. Would anyone have guessed that from the start of the year? (Photo by Christian Betancourt/Riot Games)

    Soak it all in, Boostio. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    Evil Geniuses and Fnatic fighting for the world in the Land of the Rising Sun. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    No matter what EG threw at Fnatic in the grand finals, the EMEA team always found a way to counter them. You start off slow in the first half of Lotus? No problem. Go 7-2 in the second half to take the opening map. Relinquish the lead in the second half of Split? Sure. Win five of the next seven rounds to gain a commanding 2-0 lead over EG. Facing a 12-7 deficit in Bind where EG is poised to extend the series to a fourth map? GG. Just win the next seven rounds in a row to capture the org’s second straight VCT international trophy off a clean sweep. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    A tournament to remember from Evil Geniuses. World runner-up when nobody expected them to. GG. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

    Despite the grand finals loss to Fnatic, history was made in Tokyo. Potter became the first woman to reach the grand finals of an international VCT event as head coach. A testament to the gradual presence women are having on esports and pro Valorant in particular. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    The two longest-serving members of Fnatic, Boaster and Nikita "Derke" Sirmitev, after failing to win Masters: Reykjavik 2021 and not returning to the finals until 2023, capture their second international crown and the first back-to-back win in VCT history. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    Cool, calm, collected, champion (x2). Leo "Leo" Jannesson. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    With Fnatic winning Masters: Tokyo, Timofey "Chronicle" Khromov becomes the first player to win three VCT international trophies (Masters: Berlin 2021, LOCK//IN 2023, Masters: Tokyo 2023). (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    The highest-rated player in Masters: Tokyo 2023 per VLR.gg: Emir "Alfajer" Beder. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

    Boaster couldn’t resist showing the goods. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

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    CS Virtual Trade Ltd, reg. no. HE 389299 Registered address and the principal place of business: 705, Spyrou Araouzou & Koumantarias, Fayza House, 3036, Limassol, Cyprus
    Copyright © 2024 BLIX.GG. All rights reserved.