The Guard are the New NA Champions

Published: Mar 28, 2022

The Guard accomplished the impossible and won the first VCT NA Challengers. It was a crazy ride from start to finish.

They fought OpTic Gaming in the Grand Final and delivered one of the best matches the NA region has seen so far. Their tournament run was the perfect underdog story, with a perfect end to match it.

They’re going to Iceland where they’ll be representing their region in the first VCT Masters of this year.

Image Credits | The Guard

NA’s New Hope

The Guard came out of nowhere and took the North American region by storm. They’ve impressed everyone with how determined and hard-working they were, which was reflected in their confident individual playstyles and coordinated teamplay in the Valorant Champions Tour.

Unlike other big names in the region who made team decisions on a whim, The Guard stuck together through thick and thin and it paid off in the end. Nothing could rattle them, and even in defeat, they found renewed strength and motivation to keep pushing forward. These are the hallmarks of a real top-tier Valorant team.

The Team Culture

With all eyes now shifting towards The Guard, we’re able to get some key insight from the team and see how they operate.

According to the team’s in-game leader, Jacob “valyn” Batio, their success can be attributed to their team culture of hard work and discipline.

We have no slackers, no lazy people on this team. We are here to work and that is why I think we have a culture that nobody else has, and it’s bonded us all together so quickly.

And while the players are the ones competing and winning matches, they’re humble enough to recognize the immense importance their coach played in their success.

He’s hard on us, but I think he is such a huge reason as to why we are doing so well. He doesn’t want this team to be mediocre, and he pushes us every day and does not let mistakes slide. If we make a mistake in practice, he is there giving us solutions to fix it.

The boys from The Guard are a shiny example of what a proper Valorant team should look like. No preferential treatment, zero ego involved, and just sheer hard work and determination. Hopefully these great qualities will rub off on some other Valorant teams in the region and help them change for the better.

Nobody Beats The Guard Twice

The Guard easily defeated all who stood in their way, from the group stage and all the way until the Grand Final. Cloud9 and OpTic were the only two teams that managed to beat these titans, and when the right moment came, The Guard had their revenge and won the rematch.

When faced with their first defeat in the Playoffs, The Guard were forced to face their group stage nemesis, Cloud9. Instead of succumbing to pressure and crumbling, they came out guns blazing and took a massive 3 – 0 victory against Cloud9.

With Cloud9 dealt with, The Guard could breathe a sigh of relief as not only did they land in the Grand Finals, which was an incredible feat, but they also secured one of the two spots for Masters. However, they weren’t done yet.

OpTic was a scary opponent, but The Guard wouldn’t let fear and paranoia take place here. Losing the first map on Ascent only seemed to fuel The Guard’s fire and they proceeded to completely demolish OpTic in the next two maps that followed.

The score was even after the fourth map on Split and it was finally time to enter the final map that would decide the fate of both teams. Haven action kicked off with OpTic securing the first half with a considerable lead, but The Guard wouldn’t go down that easily and mounted a successful comeback in the second half and took the series in the end.

The final score was 3 – 2 for The Guard. It was an incredible match that will certainly go down as one of the most memorable matches in the North American region. It was a real joy to follow The Guard’s climb to the top and we can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us in Stage 1 Masters – Reykjavík.

Denis Alihodzic

Since: March 1, 2021

Freelance writer with a passion for gaming and esports. Loves a good old-school RPG, and enjoys spending time with his dogs.

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