22nd February 2021 – 3:32am
The second week of the Valorant Champions Tour is over! Following the Valorant Challengers EU 2, we now know the four teams qualified for the Valorant Masters. Back to the performances of the different teams.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
The weekend was rich and instructive about the balance of power in Europe. Until a few months ago, G2 Esports were the undisputed masters of the region, but things have changed. They have been caught up and even overtaken by the other organisations. Each team is gradually refining its play-style and has revealed its strengths and weaknesses.
No less is expected of a team led by Fearoth, but the Alliance players play extremely aggressively. To a lesser degree than what we see in America or Chakalaka, but not by much. Alliance is in its attacking element and makes quick and precise actions.
One fact that is perhaps less known from the two former Ninjas in Pyjamas is their ability to slow down the game necessary. We felt the Alliance players were energetic, but not impulsive. They know when it's better to approach the fight in a different way or simply leave the advantage to their opponents.
Who would have thought that the Ninjas in Pyjamas could beat G2 Esports twice? The arrival of Ex6TenZ, veteran of the Counter-Strike scene, was very instructive for the whole team. Even if he's not at the forefront, he assumes a role of mentor and shotcaller that the Ninjas have been missing until now.
Every NiP player now plays his role perfectly well. The mechanics are oiled and the strategies are perfected. We can't wait to see what the team is worth against the other European tenors.
FunPlus Phoenix is true to itself: disciplined and methodical. Their play-style hasn't really changed since the team was formed, but it has found it cruising speed. At FunPlus Phoenix, they play slowly but surely. They take very few risks and gain ground, metre by metre, at the cost of abilities.
It's a strategy that works as long as you are in control of the game, but is less effective if you're not. They need time, space and all their players to deploy properly. This could become a problem against aggressive and sharp players.
Team Heretics was eliminated prematurely in Week 1. This Week 2 has reassured us: the European champions have not lost anything of their superb. They still represent the team with the best ability to adapt strategically. Their play-style varies from game to game, depending on the enemy's movements. They seem to particularly appreciate the fact that they disperse in order to encircle their opponents. They are pros at crossfire and surprise shoot-outs.
They did have a few scares against Chakalaka. It must be said that we had never seen such an offensive and "courageous" (not to say suicidal) team and it took a while for Heretics to adapt. Because this is their weakness: Heretics reacts on the spot, and if tactical inspiration doesn't come, the team can have a bad time.
Fnatic was completely dominated by FunPlus Phoenix this weekend. However, the former SUMN FC are still unstoppable on Bind. If they find a way to apply the same strategies, based on very-long distance throwing of abilities, on other maps, they will be absolutely unbeatable. Chances are that many will be inspired by their methods.
There is a real crisis within G2 Esports. They counted on their raw talent at the start of Valorant, but that's no longer enough. The team plays by instinct and doesn't seem to follow any particular plan. Even though the arrival of Zeek has given the team a real boost, he and his teammates are capable of the greatest feats as well as the biggest failures. It's absolutely necessary that they become more rigorous to come back to the top.
With such a dazzling ascent, one would almost forget that OG Esports is extremely recent. It's surely this youth and lack of experience that it has paid for. It must be said that when you play against the First Strike champions, you'd better work hard.
OG Esports is an extremely solid training, but it doesn't yet have the necessary automatisms to compete with the teams that have been in place for almost a year. They are more affected by their slowness in making decisions than by their technical qualities. Let them take part in a few more tournaments, and you will probably see them catch up with the European top players.