Back to the LVL Valorant Clash 2 of the Ignition Series
This weekend was rich in esports for Valorant. Europe and United States were the stages of two Ignition Series tournaments. Here is the summary of the LVL Valorant Clash 2, the European tournament where there were a lot of surprises!
In Europe, tournaments follow one after the other and look like each other... at least in appearance. Yes, G2 Esports won the LVL Valorant Clash 2, its fifth tournament of the Ignition Series. But focusing on the end result would make us miss out on a lot of niceties. Between new teams, new compositions and up-sets, a lot has happened at LVL Clash 2.
Killjoy was playable for the first time in the Ignition Series. Some teams played her straight away, others stood away from her. Once this is sure, she has impacted on meta, however very different in Europe and the United States.
Fresh blood to keep an eye on
Four teams whose names are still relatively unknown on the European scene have managed to qualify for the playoffs.
Rix.GG has taken down Giants Gaming twice in a row, with ways and means. Let's recognise that team Giants Gaming has never been really successful on Valorant, but it's still an official structure. Rix.GG had the misfortune to face G2 Esports who had no mercy (8-13 then 2-13). However, we can wonder what it would have done against less inaccessible teams.
Skade, a very young Swedish team, lost its first match against Team Liquid, not without being unworthy (10-13). Once in the loser bracket, they defeated the new Prodigys before facing Team Liquid again. In an equally close match, Skade managed to knock down the ScreaM team (13-11). Lateks ' performances were instrumental in this victory. The player has achieved 30 kills alone, which is the double of all other players'. Skade failed to stand out against FunPlus Phoenix once in the playoffs, but enters and distinguish himself on the European scene.
The Angry Titans have had a fairly similar journey. Failing in the first round against BBL Esports, who had made a strong impression at the Mandatory.GG Cup, they met them again in the loser bracket to finally beat team. This comeback is all the more surprising as BBL humiliated the Angry Titans with a 2-13 score. An affront that the Angry Titans immediately corrected in the second leg with a score of 13-3. It was against bonk bonk that the Angry Titans were disqualified in the first round of the playoffs.
And as things always come in threes, BIG also lost his first game before getting its revenge in loser bracket. They lost a tight match against need more DM (11-13) before winning the return match on the reverse score (13-11). Need more DM is among the best organisation-less teams in Europe right now, so that's a notable achievement. The adventure ended in the quarter-finals, against Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Interestingly, these four teams are relatively unknown, but still managed to qualify for the quarterfinals by disqualifying two structures in the process. They all four lost in the quarterfinals, without having managed to win a map in BO3, but can be proud of their journey. It's also the proof that, outside of the top of the bracket, Valorant's European scene is very homogenous.
A fight between big teams
Arrived in the semi-finals, there were only four teams that we know well: Ninjas in Pyjamas, Bonk, G2 Esports and FunPlus Phoenix.
It's always special to see a match between Ninjas in Pyjamas and bonk. As a reminder, the latter were the players of Ninjas in Pyjamas before being dismissed. A treatment that bonkar and Jacine still have trouble swallowing. Bonk won the first point 14-12 on Ascent. Things got tough once on Bind, where Ninjas in Pyjamas won 13-3. A violent score, especially against bonk who considers that Bind is its predilection map. As annoyed by this result, the bonkar players inflicted a similar defeat to NiP on Haven (13-5). So far, bonk has never lost against Ninjas in Pyjamas, which would make the leaders of the structure question about their organisation.
The second semi-final looked like a final before the hour. G2 Esports faced FunPlus Phoenix. FunPlusPhoenix is a very new team, but it made a huge impression during the Allied Esports Odyssey by beating Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Liquid and even G2 Esports in the group stages. This time, no miracles; even though FunPlus Phoenix had more kills overall, they lost in two matches. They nevertheless made G2 Esports sweat once again with very close matches (13-5 and 10-13).
The final therefore offered a match smiliar to that of the Mandatory.GG Cup, with G2 Esports facing bonk. Unfortunately, we can't say that the suspense was there. At first, bonk managed to surprise G2 on Split, by picking Viper. The pick worked pretty well (best team score) in the Attackers phase, but got completely cleaned out in Defense. It's surprising from an Agent who just shines in this phase of the game. G2 Esports has won 8 rounds in Attack and lost only one. 13-8 at the end of the first match.
The innovation was on G2's side for the second and last match. As they have done throughout the tournament, they replaced Cypher by Killjoy on Ascent. A pick that wreaked havoc, the latter finishing with the best score of this match. It's hard to say for sure if bonk is yet to react to Killjoy of if it's simply the dominance of G2 Esports that has been expressed once again. Still, G2 won with a masterful 13-4.
The European scene of valorant seems to have as its only constant the domination of G2 Esports. The big esports teams seem to have troubles in confirming their superiority against the different mix of amateurs. This could damager their image in the short and medium term.
It's also about time that someone manages to even make G2 Esports sweat, otherwise, the scene could get boring quickly. For now, all our hopes are on FunPlus Phoenix, the only ones within a few points of getting a map from the kings of Europe.