BLAST Valorant Twitch Invitational Day 1: G2 ravages on, Liquid disappoints
The BLAST Valorant Twitch Invitational day 1 has come to a close. The first day of the European tournament brought us two best-of-three matches, each with a best-of-three format. G2 Esports faced off against Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) in a relatively quick matchup. Afterwards, Team Liquid took on FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) in an equally one-sided display.
The first matchup of the tourney, saw the Ninjas challenge the kings of Europe, Oscar “mixwell” Canellas Colocho and his G2 medley of European talent.
The premier map took us to Ascent. Picked by NiP, hopes were high for Damien “HyP” Souville’s team to pull ahead. Instead, G2 started to dominate from the very start, while NiP were caught committing abysmal mistakes, like pushing through smokes without utility. After the first half, G2 were already up 10:2, after a dominant defensive side. In fact, G2 mounted a lead of 9:0 in the half, before NiP finally got two rounds up on the board.
The following half finally lit a spark in NiP. They took the first two rounds, including the pistol, and were looked like men on a mission. This mission was short lived, however, as G2 quickly recomposed themselves and took three rounds after forceful site entries that were hectic, yet effective. G2 took NiP’s map pick 13:6.
It was now turn for G2’s own map choice, Haven. After a disappointing Ascent, we finally saw the true colors of NiP, at least in the first half on their offensive side. G2 quickly got rolling by stringing four rounds in a row on attack. We were ready for another blowout in the making. Instead, the Ninjas finally woke up, after Niels “luckeRRR” Jasiek decided to lead the charge with his solid performance at the half. NiP dominated the remaining half which led to a split in points at side switch, 6:6.
The story looked entirely different when G2 went on the defensive side. The European superteam were relentless in denying site entry at first, followed by textbook retakes later in the half. This led to, once more, a helpless-looking NiP. The Swedish org. only managed to get one point in the half, leading to a 13:7 victory for G2 on map two.
The favorites of the tournament, G2 Esports, breezed past NiP 2:0 in the first match of the day.
The second BO3 matchup saw Team Liquid take on FunPlus Phoenix. Both teams are aspiring for a final against G2 Esports. Unfortunately, one team had to drop to the lower bracket, while the other pushes on in the upper bracket to face G2 the following day.
Map pick of Team Liquid, Split did not at all go their way. FPX started out on defense, and what a defense that was. Led by Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow, FPX got off to a phenomenal start at the half, stringing 7 in a row before Liquid could retaliate. Team Liquid finally did, but only for three rounds at the half as FPX was up 9:3 before side switch after a phenomenal defensive display.
On defense, the British core finally showed some teeth. Liquid denied Spike plants and got four in a row to get within reasonable reach to FPX. That was all she wrote, however, as FPX went on to string 4 in a row of their own. The last four necessary to clinch Liquid’s map pick and get off on the right foot in the series. FPX took Split 13:7.
Team Liquid had a big task on their hands. Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom and co. had to steal away Bind, FPX’s map pick. Once again, however, they were lackluster on their quest. ANGE1 led his team to an 8:4 half victory on attack with well executed site entries, but also due to fantastic fragging power. FPX took the half on Bind 8:4.
Liquid was now put up against the wall and under immense pressure. The first two rounds didn’t help, as Pontus “Zyppan” Eek’s triple kill saw FPX take the pistol, as well as the following round. This put up FPX 10:4. We finally saw a stride from Liquid on round 15, where they managed to snag three in a row of their own. The hope was short lived, as it was an increasingly uphill battle for ScreaM’s side, and before we knew it, FPX took Bind 13:8 after another disappointing display from Team Liquid.
FunPlus Phoenix relatively easily dismantled Team Liquid 2:0.
G2 will face off against FPX the following day, while Team Liquid and NiP will fight for survival in the lower bracket on Day 2 of BLAST.
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