Outstanding Performers — February week 3
The third week of February brought more high octane VALORANT action that we’ve been longing for. The week marked the continuation of the Challengers group/league stages games in various regions. EMEA in particular saw FPX and Gambit lock horns for CIS supremacy. Other regions such as NA and Brazil also saw some interesting match ups over the weekend. The tournaments in focus this week are among them.
Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks
FunPlus Phoenix are off to a flying start in 2022. After qualifying for the EMEA playoffs as the highest seeded CIS team, they have won both their opening games of the group stage so far. The biggest among these victories came this weekend when the team bested their regional rivals, Gambit Esports. The international team, led by Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow, put on a stellar performance. While all the players on the roster performed equally well, the one that stood out among the pack was ardiis. His display of raw mechanical skill over the weekend earned him praises from many analysts and hence he is also our Player of the Week.
Ever since FPX announced the signing of ardiis there were many question marks surrounding this decision. The player had been on a long hiatus since being inactive from the Team Heretics roaster. After putting up some solid performances during the CIS qualifiers, some of those questions were put to bed for good. But the one question that still lingered on people’s mind was, “Is he ready for the tier 1 scene?” To say that he answered that question over the weekend would be an understatement after putting up ridiculous numbers against Gambit.
ardiis has an ACS of 256, fourth highest in the league currently. He also has an ADR of 167.2 and features in the top five in the league in that aspect as well. But the category where ardiis clearly shines the brightest is in First Bloods. He had a total of 15 First Bloods alone in the series against Gambit. At times it felt as if his Jett was single-handedly opening sites on Fracture. In the above chart you can see he has a total of 15 First kills on attack, which is the highest in the league currently. When it comes to Entry Success Rate (FK/FD) on attack, he is only bettered by Acend’s Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek (6.0).
Another aspect of ardiis‘s game that makes him stand out is his ability to multi-frag in a round. He has the highest kills (125) and multi-kill rounds (35) currently in the league. He also has an average KPR of 0.88 which is joint third highest in the league. His capabilities as a duelist are something that makes him an elite player and will be essential for FPX moving forward into the year.
“Ardiis was one of the star players in the beginnings of VALORANT with Fish123 and G2. In the later stages, he was forced onto more passive and supportive roles, but he has always been a top player in the duelist role. When we picked him up, we realized his potential as a star Jett player, but also the ability for him to switch to more supportive roles like Sova/KAYO and Breach. And this ability to play both roles enables Zyppan to play Raze aswell. I think Ardiis is very underrated and was put into the shadows, and I am very excited for him to shine again and be in the forefront of EMEA.”– Erik “d00mbr0s” Sandgren
The team that we featured last week was a hand-picked super team but The Guard are anything but that. The Guard are the definition of a team that plays as a unit and is always aware of the situation at hand in-game. It is the definition of a team that is built upon hard work and taking chances. If last night was anything to go of off, the Guard are just getting started.
To start off let’s talk about pistol rounds. The Guard is the team that has won the most pistols (8) so far in the league. Each of their players displays a special prowess when it comes to using the side-arm. In the above graph you can clearly see just how proficient The Guard were in winning ecos against 100T. They won 50% of their ecos, (4/8) the joint highest over the course of the weekend.
Like mentioned earlier, The Guard have won the most pistol rounds in VCT NA Challengers: Group stage so far. So it shouldn’t surprise you that they are also the team with the most kills during pistol rounds (44). One player in particular who excels at this is Jacob “valyn” Batio, who has the highest kills (14) in pistols. Another fact worth mentioning is that The Guard won the most rounds with unfavorable buys (less credits spent than the opponent) against an opponent with a full buy.
An article about The Guard would not be compete without mentioning Trent “trent” Cairns. The player has been on an absolute tear lately. He currently has an ACS of 253, the highest on his team and also the highest in the league for a non-duelist player (3rd). trent features among the top three in all the kill and damage stats whilst playing Sova, Breach and Viper. He has a KAST of 83%, which only proves his excellence as a support player whist being able to out-frag many duelist rivals. In the above graph you can see the value that trent brings with his multi-kills. He adds up to 11 3Ks for his team which is equal to the other four players on the roster combined!
The Guard have now transcended the tier 2 scene of North America. After yesterday’s victory against 100T, the roster has firmly established itself among the elites in NA. But the road only gets tougher from here on. The Guard will face XSET next weekend, the same team that they beat a fortnight ago.
“When The Guard took down AKREW in the first open qualifiers to lock their spot, it demonstrated to me that they could impose their play style on almost any team. The Guard’s play style rarely gives control to their opponents. The Guard love to be in command, and their star power makes that objective very obtainable. You rarely see The Guard wait to execute on their strategy until the last twenty seconds of the round, but still they wow you in the last few seconds of a post plant with something fresh from trent. With his frag potential, the Guard’s IGL Valyn is stepping up as one of the top controller players of the tournament; and Sayaplayer is on his way to be one of hottest Jetts we’ll see this year. The Guard have an exciting future and I can’t wait to see how they’ll match up!”– Rivington Bruce Bisland III
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