Change is here: Game Changers Update February Week 1 & 2
Image Credit: G2 Esports
As we have entered February, teams from around the world have started competing in their regions’ VALORANT Game Changers tournaments. So far this year, we have seen Brazil kick off their Game Changers Academy series, Player1 Series HERA 1 and 2, and Latin America North, Latin America South, and EMEA have completed their first series of 2022.
We will recap two events for these teams:
The first series started out with 80 teams in a Swiss-format group stage qualifier. The top 32 teams from the qualifiers moved on to the double-elimination bracket playoffs. In these playoffs, Guild X fought to stay in the upper bracket against their rivals G2 Gozen. Both of these squads competed in the last Game Changers tournament with G2 winning their matchup in the Upper Finals and the Grand Finals. Guild X were probably thinking they would finally be able to best G2 as they were at match point (12:9) on Map 1 on Fracture. But G2 brought it back to overtime and overtook them at 15:13. Map 2 on Icebox was also extremely close, but G2 won the series with a 13:10 victory. This left G2 going into the finals without having dropped a map.
Pushed down into the lower bracket, Guild X then faced a rematch against another formal rival, TENSTAR Nova. Playing in the Upper Semifinals just two days before, TENSTAR had a chance to study Guild. In a basically identical rematch, both series were fought on the same maps: Bind, Ascent, and Haven. TENSTAR Nova was able to win on Bind in both series; however, in an even more dominant fashion (18:16 to 13:3) and looking to have improved on any issues in the first matchup. However, also in a similar fashion, Guild X were able to win the last two maps of the series and secure their place in the Grand Finals once again.
For this tournament, both Guild X and G2 Gozen were working with new rosters. Anastasia “Glance” Anisimova, formerly on Guild X, was able to easily fit into G2. While taking her place on Guild X was Victoria “victoria” Ukasova, a player that has also slotted in quite nicely as the controller for the team.
In the best-of-five Grand Finals, Guild X once more pitted against G2, getting another chance to dethrone them. Both teams typically perform extremely well on Icebox; however, G2 has bested Guild in each former matchup on the map, then added the first map of this series on the growing list. On the second map, Split, Guild started and succeeded on the attack, not letting G2 put more than 4 points on the board. That was the only map Guild X was allowed to have though as G2 proceeded to win Ascent (13:7), Bind (13:4), and thus the series (3-1).
Only dropping a map in the finals to Guild X, G2 Gozen win the first series of the year and their second Game Changers series in a row.
The advantages of the long-enduring relationship between the G2 members are proving difficult to challenge. Competing in Counter Strike together in several tournaments before the move to VALORANT, these players have a bond and working relationship that will only continue to grow stronger and help to maintain their position as the number 1 team in EMEA. In addition to the admirable team play, each of the players are individually skilled and impressive on their own. For example, G2’s Michaela “mimi” Lintrup earned MVP for the week and impressed us with many clutches for the tournament.
To note, in addition to Petra, we see an increasing number of Breach players in the server, thanks to the addition of Fracture to the map pool. Breach players have contributed to two of the highlight plays of the tournament featuring Lucy “Sliicy” Tran on TENSTAR Nova and Lada “h6tedthemost” Kozhemyakina on Alliance.
UNtapped is a team composed of many former signed players who formed four days before to try their luck together at the tournament. This last-minute experiment should be considered a success with Anja “aNNja” Vasalic being one of the top fraggers of the tournament and the overall team placing in the Top 8.
Oxxgen Esports made it far into the lower bracket but lost their chance for a rematch with TENSTAR Nova because of noOrg (formerly known as SMARACIS eSports Female). However, with contracts recently expiring, Oxxgen announced that the entire roster is leaving the Oxygen Esports organization. The team is currently looking for a new organization to call home.
Although Resilience was one of the few Game Changers teams to compete in multiple open tournaments in the last several months, they have decided to disband the team. Four of the players will continue to compete as Ex-Res.
The next Game Changers series to expect is in Brazil, where Team Liquid Female has reigned supreme. Stay tuned to Run It Back as the 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour continues to stay up to date!