6th December 2020 – 10pm
They did it! After defeating Team Liquid, then G2 Esports, Team Heretics concluded their irreparable rise by beating SUMN FC in Grand Final. Team Heretics therefore won the Valorant First Strike EU and its players became the first European Champions. Back to a controlled final.
We thought the final was going to be quick, following the performance of Team Heretics on Ascent. The players of SUMN FC had banned the map so far, but that is no longer possible in this BO5. It's easy to understand why SUMNF FC feared it, as they never convinced on it. But it would belittling the performance of Team Heretics, especially nukkye, to sum their victory on this map to the mistakes of their opponents. The Team Heretics has been true to its style of play, slow and methodical, focusing on peeking and gradually taking advantage. As for SUMN FC, they've never succeeded in rebuilding any economic advantage. Stuck with very little credits, the Heretics had only to insure the rounds that matter and take advantage of the free rounds that followed.
Things were a lot less easy on Icebox. If Team Heretics won the first 3 defensive rounds, the SUMN FC players regained the advantage thanks to excellent rotations. Mistic on Viper and Moe on Jett drowned Point B in smokes and engaged the fight, forcing all Heretics players to come, defend the point and use their ultimates... for nothing. In fact, Boaster was in full rotation with his teammates planting the Spike on Point A and taking over the area. From there, SUMN FC left little opportunity for the Heretics to come back into the game. The battle Sage of Doma surprised more than once her opponents, and niesoW has been killed no less than four times with Raze's ultimate in hand, before firing his rocket. But it was the clouds of the two Vipers and the lockdowns of the two Killjoy that really set the pace of the game. And at this little game, Mistic proved that he really was the king.
Being able to adapt and react to opposing strategies has been the greatest quality of the Heretics throughout this tournament, and it's on Haven that they've demonstrated the best. The Heretics continued to play their usual game, but SUMN FC repeatedly made mistakes which were exploited every time. Very often, SUMN FC was able to take the numerical advantage and plant the spike. But the team also tends to get away from it once it's planted. Team Heretics then took the opportunity to put up walls with the Sage of loWel and smokes from the Omen of AvovA between SUMN FC and the Spike, preventing them from defending their objective. In 12 rounds in Defense, the Heretics defused the Spike 6 times, while their strategy wasn't really about retake. Note the exceptional performance of niesoW and loWel on this map, with respective scores of 20/8 and 17/9.
We were really waiting to see SUMN FC pull out all the stops on Bind. It's the map they've been the most impressive on so far. We were almost left disappointed. Team Heretics took an early advantage that allowed them to go all the way to a 10-4 score. The fights were, however, the tightest in the tournament. There are countless times the Spikes were planted, defused or interrupted within a fraction of a second of the time limit. Luckily for Heretics, loWel was in great shape. He undeniably carried his team throughout the game.
But when all seemed lost for SUMN FC and the pressure of the event was thought to have gotten the better of them, they began a fantastic comeback, once again after very close fights. Boaster and tsack have taken matters into their hands and were setting the pace of the clashes, even while in Defense. Doma, much wiser this day than the days before, didn't demerit either. After many retakes, sometimes in desperate situations, the score was 11-11.
Heretics then began to play the game of SUMN FC: a succession of lures and feints, taking advantage of Bind's teleporters to make people believe in rotations. Caught off guard, the players of SUMN FC separated and distributed their forces poorly. This allowed pAura, who was lurking on Point A, to take the first kills, opening a breach for his team. The Heretics simply had to plant the Spike and finish off the remaining SUMN FC players. The latter were then deprived of their economy, allowing the Heretics to naturally win the last round of this Grand Final.
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