Champions Quarterfinals Day 1 — EMEA teams continue to thrive
The first day of the quarterfinals of VALORANT Champions has come to an end with two teams from the EMEA region reigning supreme. Both series were 2-0 sweeps. Acend first took down a motivated and hungry Team Secret. After that, Team Liquid snuffed out the last hope of North American Cloud9 Blue. The two victorious teams will face off in the semifinals for a chance at the Grand Final and the title of Champions. We do give our commiserations to Team Secret and C9B. Both teams had a strong showing this tournament.
Read on to get a closer look on how things played out and don’t worry if you missed out on any of the action because we’ve got you covered with recaps for every day of the VALORANT Champions tournament.
With that out of the way, let’s just jump right into it!
The Filipinos of Team Secret came into this match riding high after an excellent performance in the lower bracket of their group where they smashed each series 2-0. Unfortunately for the SEA team, this time they would find themselves on the opposite end of that particular score line. Acend had a very dominant performance throughout the series and simply looked like the better team in every way. They’ll be going on to face Team Liquid in the semifinals of VALORANT Champions.
Despite Icebox being Team Secret’s map pick, things got off to a roaring start for Acend as the teams entered Icebox. The European mix bagged five rounds before Team Secret could even get one on the board and it all started with Santeri “BONECOLD” Sassi clutching up on the pistol round with a fantastic 1v2. Throughout the entire first half, the Filipinos just couldn’t seem to get any momentum going despite doing a number on Acend’s economy with some nasty Sheriff shots during eco rounds. Star players Jayvee “DubsteP” Paguirigan and Kevin “Dispenser” Te just didn’t have the impact that they used to have in the series prior to this one.
The second half of Icebox fared a bit better for Team Secret. However, they just couldn’t come back from the lead that Acend were able to secure for themselves and the European squad closed the map in their favor shortly after.
With their map pick stolen from them, Team Secret needed to win the next one in order to stay alive in the series. Unfortunately for the Filipino players, Breeze was next. Fans of VCT SEA know that this map has traditionally been weak for the team. The momentum that Acend managed to get for themselves on the first map transitioned smoothly into the second. Again, the European squad got off to a flying start. They won five in a row before Team secret could get one on the board; completely mirroring what happened in the first map.
Things were looking bleak for Team Secret by the end of the first half and the start of the second. They were down four rounds, and then they lost the second pistol and anti-eco. Some heroics from Dispenser ensured a small fighting chance, but then Acend stamped out that small flicker of hope. One more round was all Team Secret got before the Europeans ended the map in their favor.
Congrats to Acend for winning the series and punching their ticket to the semifinals in dominant fashion. Star player Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek continued to top frag for his team, but its definitely not a stretch to say that everyone on the squad stepped up and outplayed Team Secret as a whole.
Despite the 2-0 score line, this VALORANT series definitely delivered in spades with both teams having high points throughout each map. Cloud9 Blue may have lost the battle, but at least the last hope of North America went out with a bang. Team Liquid, on the other hand, have earned the right to compete in the semifinals of VALORANT Champions where they will be facing off against Acend for an all out EMEA brawl.
The NA squad started out on a high note with Nathan “leaf” Orf managing a pistol ace during the first round of regulation. C9B converted from there, but Team Liquid answered back with four straight rounds of their own before Mitch “mitch” Semago stepped up with a 1v3 clutch to stop Liquid’s momentum. Highlight plays like that were common throughout the map. Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom accomplished a 4K along with a 1v2 clutch in the fourth round. The back and forth continued throughout the first half until both teams ended with a 6:6 tie.
In the second half, however, the headshot machine himself came online. Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom ending up winning rounds for his team with impactful opening kills during their attacking half again and again. The back and forth continued, but eventually Team Liquid pulled out ahead and the team won four straight rounds in a row to end the map in their favor.
Cloud9 Blue definitely did not make it easy, but the Europeans managed to make it through.
With a map down, tournament life on the line, and the pressure of an entire major region on their shoulders, Cloud9 Blue came into Ascent determined to turn things around. Things started out really well for them too. Again leaf showed off his prowess on Jett in the server. Meanwhile, IGL Anthony “vanity” Malaspina was having highlight moments for himself as well with some brilliant site holds against Liquid. Cloud9 Blue quickly garnered a lead for themselves and ended the half with a 7:5 score line in their favor.
Then Liquid started mounting pressure on the second half as Liquid quickly took the lead for themselves. Scream continued with his usual antics with multi-kill after multi-kill in the latter part of the half. His brother and teammate Nivera had some more key highlights as well and the team’s IGL Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen began to come alive. Soon enough the team made it to match and series point. However, C9B wouldn’t go down without a fight. The North American squad mounted a small comeback and forced the score to 11:12 off the back of some heroics from Son “xeta” Seon-ho.
However, Cloud9 Blue were unable to force overtime. They tripped at the last hurdle and Nivera took full advantage of the opening to earn a 3K for himself and end the final round of regulation in Team Liquid’s favor.
It was a well played series by both squads all in all, but with this win Team Liquid proved themselves to be the better team. And with that, the region of North America has been eliminated from tournament contention.
The first semifinal has been set with Acend vs Team Liquid and will be happening later this week. Tune in on the next livestream of VALORANT Champions to see whether EMEA will continue to prove dominant or whether LATAM and Thailand have something else to say on the matter.
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