Fnatic are the Valorant Lock//In champions

Valorant's 2023 esports year exploded into action as Fnatic faced Loud in the Lock//In grand final.

Their hunt for a trophy is over. Fnatic are your Valorant Champions Tour Lock//In champions.

Riot has big plans for Valorant esports in 2023. But before the upcoming Premier system revitalizes the path into the competitive arena, Lock//In was here to give us a show. Inviting 32 franchise teams from across the globe, the massive invitational was a glorious showcase of what the year ahead may have to offer. 

The latter-stage matches offered plenty to shout about, but the unquestionable apex of the of the tournament came in the grand final. The championship match saw the brazilian squad of Loud – riding high off their Valorant Champions 2022 victory – take on the EMEA squad of Fnatic.

With a revitalized roster, Fnatic bulldozed their way through the bracket. In-game leader Jake “Boaster” Howlett led his team through the bracket without a single map lost until the grand final. Even there, a clean slate looked likely as Fnatic claimed the first two maps of Bind and Ascent.

But Loud struck back, digging in with the support of the São Paulo crowd to claim Split and then Lotus. Momentum firmly in their favor, the team made their presence known on the final map of Icebox. Loud looked unstoppable, comfortably rolling on to an 11-3 scoreline. With just two rounds enough to take them to the title, victory seemed inevitable.

But this Fnatic team isn’t one to break easily. Working in unison, Boaster, Derke, Chronicle, Alfajer, and Leo clawed their way into the game. Round after round slipped away toward Fnatic’s attacking side as they executed strike after successful strike on the frosty map. And before long, Fnatic had pulled off eight rounds in a row to bring the scores level.

Even then, competition remained tight. As Fnatic took their twelfth round, Loud finally shot back, taking the match into overtime. Here, finally, Fnatic were not to be outdone. A collateral shot with the Operator from Derke put Fnatic in position to fight for the final round and claim the title of Valorant Lock//In champions. 

With the revamped 2023 circuit waiting to deliver more competitive Valorant in the months ahead, the EMEA squad have set themselves up as the team to beat for the foreseeable future.

Associate Editor

Henry Stenhouse serves an eternal punishment as the Associate Editor of AllGamers. He spent his younger life studying the laws of physics, even going so far as to complete a PhD in the subject before video games stole his soul. Confess your love of Super Smash Bros. via email at henry@moonrock.biz, or catch him on Twitter.

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