Road to Masters Reykjavik – Version1
100 Thieves, Team Envy, TSM, Gen.G Esports. Immortals, Luminosity Gaming, FaZe Clan — those are some of the teams expected to join Sentinels in Iceland. They are also a list of teams that did not qualify with Sentinels to Iceland. Masters Reykjavik had room for two North American representatives. Sentinels was all but a lock for the first position. The second, though? Well, that went to the unlikely underdogs known as Version1.
This fairly new team on the scene was struggling to find much luck in the Valorant Champions Tour. Adapting to the new meta seemed to change that in an instant. Version1 set their eyes on Iceland as they battled through the various Challengers tournaments. Incredibly, V1 qualified for Masters Reykjavik right behind Sentinels to represent NA against the rest of the Valorant world.
Version1 is mostly known as the parent organization behind the Call of Duty League’s Minnesota RØKKR team. They also have a successful Rocket League team under the V1 banner. Early February of 2021 saw them make the jump to Valorant as so many other esports organizations have done since the release of the FPS. The signing of team NeverDone gave V1 a roster consisting of:
The team was filled with some notable former Counter-Strike players and some who made a name for themselves in Valorant already. Both PLAYER1 and effys were once on the Gen.G Esports roster with the latter also trialing for NRG at one point. The roster competed in the various Valorant Champions Tour qualifiers and showed much promise in a couple of Pittsburgh Knights Monthly Gauntlet events.
In April, PLAYER1 decided to step down from Version1 and ultimately away from competitive Valorant. This saw the team acquire Maxim “wippie” Shepelev so that they could continue participating in the Valorant Champions Tour. Something about that roster change lit a fire underneath Version1, propelling them to Masters Reykjavik in the end.
Stage 1 of the Valorant Champions Tour was not all that kind to Version1. Known as NeverDone in Challengers 1 and acquired by V1 for Challengers 2, the team lost to FaZe Clan both times. The qualifying Round of 32 and Round of 16 respectively saw them fall 2-1. Challengers 3 allowed them to avoid a FaZe Clan defeat and make it to the open qualifier Quarterfinals. Unfortunately, they had to face another formidable roster. TSM played the spoiler.
Stage 2 is where they kicked things into gear. The Stage 2: Challengers 1 open qualifier saw them exact their revenge on FaZe Clan and make it to the Main Event. After immediately being sent to the Lower Bracket by Team Envy, they fought through the Lower Bracket. They defeated both Built by Gamers and Cloud9 Blue. The next series against XSET would end their Challengers 2 run, but not before they secured a spot in the Challengers Finals tournament.
Challengers Final started in similar fashion to the Challengers 2 Main Event. They took a dominant map off of Sentinels, but were ultimately pushed down to the Lower Bracket. From there, they were rolling. In the Lower Bracket, Version1 defeated Andbox, NRG, Team Envy, and Cloud9 Blue. The final two of those matches happened on the same day.
The victory over Cloud9 Blue was the cherry on top of their surprising Challengers Finals appearance. Even with a Grand Final against Sentinels on the horizon, Version1 were locked in for Masters Reykjavik. Of course, Sentinels finished them off 3:0 to cement their claim as NA’s best, but for now, Version1 has a claim to second best at least. Their spirits were not down as they took part in a press conference following the Grand Final series.
Everything was coming together for Version1 prior to Masters Reykjavik. They had their team in place, their momentum was rolling, and they were ready to represent North America in Iceland. Unfortunately, days prior to their departure, they had to make a roster change announcement. Joining the team would be former beastcoast player Jamal “jammyz” Bangash. This is due to wippie not able to make the trip to Reykjavik, Iceland.
The roster will keep wippie after the event, but needed a stand-in for Iceland. In a video posted on Version1’s Twitter, coach Ian “Immi” Harding detailed the situation. Per the video, wippie had a difficult time in getting the visa needed to travel due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision has been made and there is no going back. Hopefully V1 will have enough practice and will be ready to go at Masters Reykjavik. Albeit, missing a key piece of the puzzle which helped them qualify in the the first place.
Regarldess of the roster change, Version1 was always going to have a tough go in Iceland. The teams representing their specific regions weren’t just handed their ticket. They had to fight for it, just like V1 did. The likes of Team Liquid, FNATIC, NUTURN Gaming, and more are ready for a tournament unlike anything ever seen in competitive Valorant before.
Version1 has it in them. They would not be in this position if they didn’t. They need to bring their A game and Masters Reykjavik could be theirs for the taking. No doubt it would be considered an upset by some, but at this point, a team that qualified for the event in the manner that they did deserves all the praise in the world.
If one thing is for certain, the team is excited for this opportunity. That was shown by Zellsis in an interview with Run It Back following Version1’s victory over Cloud9 Blue.
Run It Back: First off, congratulations.
Zellsis: It feels f*cking great, man!
Run It Back: That was going to be the first question to start things off! “Now that Version1 is heading to Iceland, describe how you are feeling right now.” If that’s what you want the quote to be, we’ll take it!
Zellsis: That is the f*cking quote! I don’t know what to feel right now, dude. I feel a bunch of emotions, but it feels amazing. I’ll take that.Read the full interview here.
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