26th April 2021 – 3:27pm
The Challengers 2 NA of the VCT Phase 2 ended yesterday. We now know the last 4 teams that have qualified for the Challengers Finals. Sentinels, Cloud9 Blue, NRG Esports and Andbox will have a chance to participate in the Valorant Masters 2 in Reykjavík. A look back at the latest Challengers.
Unsurprisingly, Sentinels performed well in the competition, despite an early wrong move against Andbox. The Cloud9 Blue players were not to be outdone either, making their way to the grand final. Andbox and NRG Esports were the big surprises of the tournament.
In the middle of all this, we find teams from which we expected a lot, but which didn't show much. This is the case of T1 and the TSM who played only 2 and 3 games respectively before being eliminated. As for Immortals and Built By Gamers, they were also quickly eliminated.
The first quarter final was between Cloud9 Blue to T1. After their victory against FaZe Clan in the qualifiers, a lot was expected from T1. But Cloud9 Blue didn't expect to lose in their first match. They managed to beat their opponents on Haven (13-7) and Icebox (13-8), without too much trouble, with 8 rounds in a row won in Defense on the latter map. Floppy, recently recruited by Cloud9 Blue, had a difficult start.
Andbox is without doubt the team that stood out during this tournament. In the second quarter-final, they managed to defeat Sentinels 2-0. Both maps were very close, with over-time on Haven (15-13) and only two rounds apart on Split (13-11). On the second map, while Sentinels started well with 8 rounds in Defense, they then conceded 9 rounds to their opponents and lost the match.
It was then up to Immortals to face TSM. The latter once again failed to get very far in the competition. After a first game on Ascent mastered by Immortals (13-6), TSM recovered with a 13-9 victory on Icebox. However, this was not enough to fully recover and Immortals won Bind 13-11. Brax, recruited as a 6th in TSM, didn't play any of the 3 maps played.
The last quarter-final was between Built By Gamers and NRG Esports. The latter, in great shape since their victory against Luminosity Gaming, showed once again what they are capable of. Despite a balanced start (7-5 for Built By Gamers at sides' switch on Icebox), Tex and his teammates quickly won thanks to their relentless defense on the frozen map (8-1) and furious attacks on Haven (9 -3).
The first semi-final of these Challengers was very interesting, as it was between C9 Blue and Andbox. After their victory against Sentinels, would Andbox repeat and defeat Cloud9? The answer is no. Cloud9, who had been very strong since the beginning of the tournament, managed to defeat their opponents, but not without difficulty. Haven ended on a 13-11 and Split on a 13-9. Andbox, regularly neck and neck with their opponents, didn't lose out. At sides' switch, on Haven, there was a score of 7-5 for C9. Fun fact, Vice, B0i and Yay all 3 finished the match on a KDA of 1.
The second semi-final between Immortals and NRG Esports was also very competitive. By winning the first map, Icebox, by a score of 13-10, Immortals had hopes of qualifying for the Challengers Finals. However, NRG Esports quickly rallied and broke their opponents' aspirations. On Ascent, they were able to rely on the Killjoy of Daps to protect their sites. On Haven, Immortals collapsed in the face of their flawless attacking phase (10-2). The match ended 2-1 in favour of NRG Esports.
In the winner's bracket final, both teams were already assured of a place in the Challengers Finals. Cloud9 Blue and NRG Esports were battling it out for a better cash prize and a better seed in the next tournament. As the two teams have never met, we could only look at their previous results to see what to expect.
The first map, Haven, was played in over-time. In the first part of the map, Cloud9 Blue first took the lead, with a score of 8-4 at sides' switch. They could count on Leaf on Raze to eliminate their opponents. The NRGs finally came back to the score until over-time, but ended up losing 13-15.
While Haven was particularly tight, Icebox was a real no-match. The C9s beat their opponents in less than 30 minutes by a score of 13-2, with NRG Esports finishing 3rd in the Challengers 2 NA and Cloud9 Blue reaching the grand final.
After losing to Andbox in quarter-final, Sentinels worked their way up the loser bracket conceding only two maps. After defeating NRG Esports 2-0, they are now in the grand final of the Challengers 2 NA. This last match was definitely THE match of the tournament. TenZ was going to face their former team Cloud9 Blue for the first time since his loan.
While Cloud9 Blue have done well so far, Sentinels have proven that they are still too strong for them. In the first match, C9's choices were surprising. They chose to play on Bind, a map that is rarely selected in tournaments. Poiz surprisingly picked Yoru even though he had played Reyna until then. These decisions didn't pay off, as they were unable to break through Sentinels' defense, winning 13-4.
Haven could have been the scene of a comeback for Cloud9, as they were neck and neck with Sentinels sides' switch (6-6). However, they completely faded away in Defense, letting their opponents win the 7 rounds that they were missing in a row. Haven ended with a score of 13-6 in favour of the winners of the last Masters.
The last map, Split, was more disputed and started off in Cloud9's favour. Mitch showed off with an Ace on his Killjoy. Unfortunately, his team's lead was quickly made up by their opponents. Sentinels won 10 rounds almost in a row, with a SicK still very solid on his Sage and finishing first in his team. After dominating the first part of the map 8-4, Cloud9 finally lost 14-12 in over-time.
Finally, only 3 maps were enough for Sentinels to defeat Cloud9 Blue. After an excellent run in the Challengers, C9 once again closed the gap between and Sentinels.
Andbox, NRG Esports, Cloud9 Blue and Sentinels are the latest qualified for the Challengers Finals, which begin on 29th April. They join 100 Thieves, Version1, XSET and Envy. These 8 teams will compete for two spots at the Valorant Masters 2 in Reykjavík, in Island.