Red Bull Home Ground: G2 defeat the Ninjas, Liquid edge out SUMN in thriller series
The third day of Red Bull Home Ground saw two semifinals being played out for a spot in the grand finale of the event. Day 1, day 2, and day 3 brought us lots of excitement and Twitch clip-worthy plays. The semifinals brought us matches that went beyond the home grounds as we saw some of the most premium Valorant there is on the European Valorant scene.
The first semifinal of Red Bull Home Ground saw G2 take on NIP. The Ninjas picked Icebox as their home ground. G2 went with Split as theirs.
First up we had NIP’s home ground, Icebox. Given it was their pick, we were expecting a dominant performance from Kévin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans’ side. This was the trend in the first half. G2 picked up the pistol and the subsequent round on the back of a 4k from Jacob “pyth” Mourujärvi. NIP switched on from there getting 5 in a row before G2 managed to steal two rounds away. The last three rounds of the half went NIP’s way as they were looking hot going into the defensive side on Icebox after winning the half 8:4.
Unfortunately for them, it was G2’s turn to heat it up. G2 won seven straight rounds with sheer eliminations. Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks led the charge on Sova to overturn the initial round deficit. NIP managed to get two rounds in, including one defuse, before getting blown out on their map pick in a rather close affair at 13:10. G2’s attack on Icebox was relentless as Ex6TenZ‘s 24 kill performance was not enough to bring his side the victory.
After stealing Icebox away from NIP, it was time for G2’s map pick, Split. A confident start from the Ninjas caught G2 off guard as a phenomenal rally from Yaroslav “Jady” Nikolaev on Sage brought his side seven straight rounds on defense. G2 finally woke up on round 8 and 9 and took them home, as ardiis was struggling to find his rhythm in the half. They only found one more round in the half before Emir “RHYME” Muminovic took the last round after a 3k for NIP, making it 9:3 for the Ninjas at half-time.
Not much can be said about the defensive side on Split for G2. They managed to clinch the first two rounds, bringing their pick within somewhat of a reach. This was cut short instantly, as the following four rounds went NIP’s way, closing out Split with a dominant 13:5 performance for Ex6TenZ‘s side and denying the sweep for Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho and co.
After the two sides decided to steal their opponent’s home ground, it was time to move into the full best-of-five (BO5). The first map in full format was Ascent.
It’s fair to say that G2 was not fully their true self. Up until now. Ascent’s defense finally saw some edge from ardiis and G2’s newcomer, Aleksander “zeek” Zygmunt. Fantastic ground control and retake ability guaranteed them the half in dominant fashion, 10:2, as we finally saw the true individual prowess of G2’s players.
NIP was now under pressure. G2 managed to win the first two rounds on their attacking side, leaving them only needing one round to close Ascent out. It was Jady that led the charge for his side to clinch three straight rounds and give NIP some hope of a monstrous comeback. A join effort by zeek, Patryk “paTiTek” Fabrowski, and pyth cut this hope short as they clinched round 18 to win by a large margin, 13:5.
Bind was up next as G2 were eyeing the win right here. However, it was the Ninjas that kicked off the half in strong manner on defense. G2’s pistol round win was countered by NIP following a Spike defusal. It was G2 that blew up the Spike successfully the following round. A team effort from NIP brought them the next four rounds in a row, as they were slowly distancing themselves from G2. A 3k from zeek finally broke the streak, though the next three rounds went NIP’s way as well. The final round of the half went in favor of G2 after ardiis closed it out following a 3k of his own. NIP were in the lead at 8:4.
G2 got to work quickly on their own defensive side. A successful pistol was followed by a rampaging 4k from mixwell as G2 stole the first four rounds of the half, making it all square. NIP pulled one round away after a joint effort from Jady and RHYME to jump-start their engines. This failed as G2 took the next two before NIP took two more rounds at the half. The last three rounds saw G2 edge out NIP in masterclass fashion and seal the deal right here on Bind at 13:11.
G2 took the series 3-1 and advance to the grand final of Red Bull Home Ground.
The second semifinal of Red Bull Home Ground saw two predominantly British rosters go head-to-head. SUMN FC picked Bind as their home ground while Team Liquid went with Icebox as their pick.
Bind saw SUMN FC dominate their home ground right off the bat. Jake “Boaster” Howlett’s men were ready to bring the fight to Liquid, stringing six rounds in a row before Liquid were able to put up any rounds up on the board. They’ve managed to put up two, one of which was a retake defuse led by Travis “L1NK” Mendoza with a 4k. Those are the only two rounds Team Liquid got at the half as SUMN FC finished things off with a dominant lead of 10:2.
Liquid on attack managed to grab the initial two rounds after Dom “soulcas” Sulcas and James “Kryptix” Affleck both got three kills in the opening rounds. This was followed by a defuse by SUMN bringing them up to 11. Liquid managed to get one more round before Boaster and co. closed things out on Bind at 13:5, taking their home ground comfortably.
It was time for Liquid to show some teeth on their own home ground. Adil “Scream” Benrlitom’s side kicked it off well on defense by getting the first four rounds. SUMN FC got back up soon after, however, getting three rounds straight. A back-and-forth battle emerged with neither side letting the their opponents get more than two straight rounds. The half ended in a split of points at 6:6.
Liquid continued their winning ways on the pistol and the follow-up round after a 3k from L1NK. SUMN FC managed to take round three with a retake on the back of 3 frags by Domagoj “doma” Fancev and that would be their last round on this map. Liquid stringed five rounds to take their home ground with them at an impressive 13:7 score, making it all square.
Haven was a map that Team Liquid should have brought home. The half went in favor of Scream and co. after they mounted on an impressive lead on attack, ending it all at 9:3 after a series of excellent site retakes as well as raw fragging power. SUMN’s defense turned out to be just as effective, catching Liquid off-guard. By picking up the pistol after a 3k by Muhammad “Moe40” Hariff, SUMN’s boat caught wind, getting seven rounds and just getting 1 round taken away in the middle. Liquid finally managed to bring it to map point at 12:11 but SUMN brought it all the way to overtime, mounting on an epic comeback on Haven.
The overtime saw a tired Liquid taken advantage of as Boaster’s 3k propelled his side to take the round on attack. The following round saw a defuse come in time as SUMN FC ended up stealing Haven from Liquid with a 14:12 score, something that should not have happened.
Liquid now up against the wall, SUMN wanted to close things out and not take it further to the decider, Ascent. The first half saw Liquid fight it out on attack, as they initially simply out-gunned SUMN, making it a 6:2 affair. However, the last four rounds saw SUMN make four straight retakes and defuses, leading to Split’s first half being an equald 6:6 after all.
It was on defense that Liquid truly shined, as soulcas stood ground as Raze, making sit entries a living hell for Boaster‘s side. SUMN only managed to blow up the Spike once, on the pistol round. Liquid took the rest of the rounds forcibly with sheer eliminations, letting SUMN take one more round on Split before blowing them out on their attacking side with a total score of 13:8.
Ascent was the last map left over as the teams were 2-2 in maps. The BO5 went all the way. Ascent saw Team Liquid kick it off as the defenders. Their mojo carried over to this game as L1NK‘s side bagged themselves the pistol and two rounds that followed. SUMN decided to retaliate with three of their own, including one Spike detonation. However, Liquid recuperated rapidly to get three defuses in later at the half, making themselves closer to victory with a solid 8:4 half in their favor.
It was after half switch that we saw true Liquid, and somewhat of a lackluster SUMN FC. Liquid showed a masterclass Ascent as they simply out-gunned their opponents. Despite the pistol round going SUMN’s way, Scream‘s side activated themselves to bring it all the way to 12:6. However, Doma kept the dream alive with an ace to guarantee the site retake and safe bomb defuse for SUMN. Unfortunately, that was the last successful round for SUMN as a clear-cut round for Liquid followed, finishing the monstrous BO5 at 13:6 for Liquid on Ascent.
Team Liquid will face G2 Esports in the grand final of Red Bull Home Ground in Valorant.