21st March 2021 – 10:28pm
After an incredible final, the Valorant Masters EU 1 ended with the victory of Acend. This is the culmination of almost two months of competition where hundreds of European teams competed. With this Victory, Acend wins the maximum number of Champions qualification points as well as $60,000 in prize money.
Acend is a team that was set up in January, which was still unknown a few weeks ago and nobody thought they would arrive even at the Valorant Masters. Not even them. Their main objective was to perform well during the Challengers. And yet, cNed, Bonecold, Straxo, Kiles and Koldamenta proved that they were the best players in Europe. All this while playing beatbox in their mics during the games.
The final featured a new encounter. Although Heretics and Acend started the tournament in the same group, the two teams had never met before. And if one was tempted to predict a victory for Heretics, who won the Valorant First Strike and has never lost a game so far, Acend proved game after game that they have the potential to upset all expectations.
The players of Team Heretics were confident that they would face FunPlus Phoenix. They had even prepared to meet their usual rivals. But FunPlus Phoenix, by their own admission, panicked when Acend forced them to fight on Icebox. The pressure was so great that FunPlus Phoenix made a number of strategics mistakes during over time. Acend, led by cNed and Bonecold, took advantage of the situation and made it to the final.
This coolness and ability to take advantage of the momentum and creativity of its players is what allowed Acend to beat Heretics and win the Valorant Masters EU 1.
The final match of the Valorant Masters EU 1 started on Split, a deliberate choice of Heretics, well aware that this was their opponents' weak point. And indeed, Acend wasn't on top of its game. The team was regularly caught by their opponents' placements, which were much further back than expected. As a result, Acend often used their abilities for nothing, and Heretics just had to wait for the storm to pass before counter-attacking. The fact that Starxo took his first kill in round 13 is quite indicative of the general rout. Despite a defensive surge from Acend, Heretics won their first map as if it were a formality.
Things were very different on Bind. Acend took advantage of their position as an attacking team to rotate and feint. They were able to gain an economic advantage over Heretics, which the latter took a while to catch up with. Once armed, it was time for AvovA and Nukkye to get their team back on track. Acend was sinning with pride, attempting overly presumptuous offences, and Heretics made them pay perfectly. The match was much tighter after that. Fortunately, the already legendary talent of cNed on his Jett, supported by Starxo and Bonecold, made the difference. Acend finally won the map in a 13-9.
The next match was played on Haven, with Heretics on Attack. This was the most chaotic map of the final. The scouting work of Kiles and Koldamenta was essential to keep Acend afloat. However, Rubino, Nukkye and pAura are in good shape. Most rounds were played on crossfire under cover of smokes and flashes. In the end, Heretics eventually won, gradually building up their advantage in Defense.
Fourth map of the day: Icebox. This was the asset of Acend : they trained on this map, knowing that most other teams, including Heretics, prefer to avoid it as much as possible. It was on Icebox that they beat FunPlus Phoenix in the semi-finals. Yet, the team struggled for a good part of the map. But when Heretics was on the verge of winning with 4 match points in hand, Acend once again transcended. Once again, Nukkye did a lot of spectacular things on his Reyna. In over time, Heretics seemed to crack under pressure: their game plan changed and they clearly wanted to end, playing ultra-aggressively, even in Defense. Their haste cost them the victory, as it had cost FunPlus Phoenix the day before. After an electric confrontation, Acend won the fourth map.
Everything was played on Ascent. Heretics were at their wits' end, but Acend was galvanised by the prospect of winning the tournament. In their Defense phase, Acend managed to win 9 rounds to 3. The individual talent of Bonecold and cNed worked wonders, forcing a numerical disadvantage to Heretics at the start of each round. With 11 points and a very comfortable lead, Acend players decided to play more quietly, confident that they would win the last two points eventually. AvovA and pAura scrambled to right the Heretics' ship, so they won 5 consecutive rounds and forced a bad economy on Acend. This was without counting on cNed, able to Ace, while he was stuck under the A shelter. Acend only had to win one more round to confirm their victory, but the economic lag was still being felt. Heretics almost won its 11th round on a Flawless, until Starxo took 4 kills on his own and reset everyone's scores. The last round of the match was a back and forth battle from one team to the other, where it was impossible to guess who would win. But Acend ended up winning the fifth map and became the first European team to win the Valorant Masters EU.