North American First Strike – Day 1 sees Team Envy and TSM advance with ease
The biggest Valorant tournament of the game’s short history is finally taking place. First Strike is here and regions across the globe are providing some incredible competitive Valorant action. Plenty of eyes are on the North American region. The first day of matches has finished with three more days of fun ahead. The opening day of North American First Strike Regional Finals saw Team Envy take on Immortals and Renegades battle it out with Team SoloMid. Things were exciting, but went exactly how many viewers expected it to. The teams pegged to win did, and did so in dominant fashion.
The first map of the entire North American First Strike tournament was Icebox, to everyone’s either surprise or chagrin. Things started off well for Immortals with a solid first round. Jake “kaboose” McDonald retaliated with a 1v2 clutch. From there, Team Envy went to work as Immortals dedicated all of their time toward pushing A Site. Anthony “mummAy” DiPaolo with the Operator and Victor “food” Wong as Reyna locked down the map on defense. Eventually, Immortals proved they weren’t insane with their constant A Site attempts. They would close the gap a bit to end the first half 7:5 with Andrew “ShoT_UP” Orlowski and Jason “jmoh” Mohandessi stepping up with the frags.
The first round of Team Envy’s Attack side saw the first B Site action. The Spike was planted rather quickly and the pistol round was won shortly after. Austin “crashies” Roberts showed off his clutch skills, cleaning up a 1v2 after kaboose handled the other three Immortals players. Team Envy showed that defense may not be their specialty on Icebox, but attack is no problem. Crashies kept up his dominance with a solid 3K to take things to 11:5. Two rounds later and the map was over 13:5 with another 3K, this time from food.
The series would then head to the floating village known as Ascent. Team Envy began on the Attack. Things started slow, which may have favored Immortals. Amgalan “Genghsta” Nemekhbayar helped his team take the pistol round with some well placed Ghost shots. Momentum did not pick up, however, as Team Envy’s mummAy got the plant down and stopped any chance of it being defused. Food got an early game 4K and Team Envy were ready to pick things up. Jmoh refused to let Immortals fall too far behind, dropping Team Envy players left and right with the Operator and Bladestorm as Jett. He continued popping off, but the rest of the team couldn’t capitalize. Pujan “FNS” Mehta took Generator and clutched a an incredible 1v4 with the Spike down. The first half finished 9:3.
Things looked bleak for Immortals going into the second half. Jmoh pulled off a 4K on the pistol round, but FNS was able to shut him down. At 11:5, Team Envy looked to finish things off with the same round count as Ice Box. This was where Ascent started to get interesting, however. Immortals proved that they weren’t defeated just yet. Jmoh continued his stellar performance, snagging a 3K to start the comeback on the Attacker side. Noah “jcStani” Smith and Genghsta were a vital part of Immortals bouncing back, controlling sites after the team planted the Spike. Immortals were able to bring the map to 11:11 as ShoT_UP started to decimate. Team Envy had finally had enough. They would put it to map and series point with a mummAy 3K. Kaboose took out two Immortals players that lined up for him and that was the beginning of the end. Team Envy advanced to the Semifinals 13:11 and 2:0.
The second and final match of the day saw Team SoloMid hoping to maintain their momentum after the UMG Qualifier victory. On the other side, Renegades loaded in with Skye and looked to prove they belong with the best of the best. The map started with an insanely quick Spike plant by Renegades. TSM put together a great retake, though. This would be a precursor of what was to come. James “hazed” Cobb wasted no time fragging as Omen, grabbing an early 3K. Naturally, Matthew “Wardell” Yu had to show him up with a 3K of his own as Jett with an Operator. The massacre didn’t stop there. Taylor “drone” Johnson unleashed a barrage of Phoenix flashes into B Main and absolutely wrecked Renegades for the Ace. The rest of the map was much of the same. Renegades were able to pull off one single round on attack, falling to TSM 13:1.
While Ascent saw Skye make an appearance, Bind would see the newest Valorant agent on both teams. She was immediately put to use as Stephen “reltuC” Cutler sent in a Trailblazer with Wardell dashing as Jett right behind it for a very nice set piece. Renegades were able to get their first round much earlier on Bind. In fact, by the time TSM had won 2 rounds, Renegades had also won 2 rounds. Alexander “retrQ” Kadan landed some clean headshots, but was put down allowing TSM to keep up their winning ways. The arguable top team in North America was on a roll. The first half of Bind ended with a TSM lead of 8:4.
Team SoloMid would now have their chance to defend. The pistol round was no problem for TSM. Drone would follow that up with a 3K from the Bulldog. The map continued to trend in TSM’s favor. Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik found himself in a very tricky 1v2 situation. Even after being flashed by Skye, he managed to take out both Renegades players and defuse the Spike. Eventually, much like on Ascent, Renegades would put away one round on the attacking side. That would bring the round count to 12:5. The end of Bind was the most exciting moment of the series. Wardell and hazed faced an unlikely 2v4 scenario. Hazed took out the Breach before popping some smokes. Wardell moved in and the duo clutched it out for another dominant 13:5 victory.
The first match of the Semifinals is decided. TSM will go against Team Envy. Day two will see the finish of the Quarterfinals as 100 Thieves faces T1 and Sentinels looks to fend off FaZe Clan. The North American First Strike is truly underway and it will only get better from here.
Stay tuned to Run It Back for more First Strike coverage and player interviews!