It has been a pretty interesting first week of the VCT NA Stage 2 Challengers 2, with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
We saw two rematches on day one – 100 Thieves dismantled The Guard almost effortlessly, while Luminosity picked up a massive 2 – 1 win against Sentinels. OpTiC and XSET both ended the second day with two 2 – 0 sweeps, securing early leads in their respective groups. And lastly, we saw NRG and Cloud9 end day three with two 2 – 0 wins. NRG picked TSM apart, while C9 swiftly and decisively stomped Evil Geniuses.
Day One, May 13th
The first day of the event was probably the most interesting one, as the two matchups were highly anticipated by the fans of Valorant esports. Everyone was eager to see whether the revamped roster of 100 Thieves would be able to withstand the pressure of The Guard, and whether Sentinels would defeat Luminosity in group B’s opening match.
The first match certainly didn’t disappoint. 100 Thieves simply destroyed The Guard on both maps, not giving them a moment to breathe. Fracture was a complete disaster for The Guard, but Bind was no different. They simply had no answers and let 100 Thieves walk all over them. It was a real bloodbath.
The match between Luminosity and Sentinels was even more interesting as both teams met just weeks earlier, during the first open qualifier in the round 3 of the lower bracket. Just like then, Luminosity secured a 2 – 1 win and established an early lead in group B. This could have easily been a quick 2 – 0 for Luminosity, but Sentinels managed to squeeze a win through overtime on Breeze. Superb performance for Luminosity, but not so much for Sentinels.
Day Two, May 14th
The first match of the day was between OpTiC Gaming and FaZe Clan. OpTiC Gaming were heavily favoured here, so all the pressure was on FaZe. Still, despite their best efforts, FaZe were unable to shake OpTiC in the slightest. There was a lot of back-and-forth action, but OpTiC managed to control the pace of the match and successfully closed both maps. Great effort by FaZe, but just not enough against the powerful OpTiC lineup.
XSET and Ghost Gaming clashed in the second match of the day. Ghost Gaming were looking to continue the momentum from open qualifier two, where they swept through the lower bracket. However, XSET wouldn’t let that happen and stopped Ghost in their tracks. Although the final 2 – 0 score might suggest otherwise, Ghost actually put up a great fight. They made XSET sweat for their victory and really gave it their all.
Day Three, May 15th
Evil Geniuses’ run in Valorant Champions Tour so far has not been the best. Their 0 – 5 VCT Challengers 1 run was a total disappointment, so they were looking to avoid another disaster. And just like last time, their first match ended with a 2 – 0 loss.
The first map on Icebox was really close and led to overtime, where Cloud9 managed to tilt the tide of battle in their favour and close the match with 15 – 13. This impacted EG’s morale on Fracture, where they struggled to keep up with Cloud9, who were gaining a bigger lead as the match progressed. Finally, it all ended with a 13 – 9 score and Cloud9 picked up their first win in the esports tournament.
The match between NRG and TSM was an incredibly close one as well. TSM was competing in a Challengers event for the first time this year, so they were hoping for an early head start and a win against NRG. However, their hope would soon turn to dust.
NRG kept a cool head and brought the match on Breeze into overtime, where they then closed it with a 15-13 score. The second map was played on Ascent and this is where NRG began to create a bigger gap and slowly snowballed their advantage into another 13 – 10 victory.