We’re starting to see more major tournament organizers enter the VALORANT scene. Not too long ago, Flashpoint held their Pop Flash VALORANT Invitational in North America. BLAST is the latest to get involved, as they held the BLAST Valorant Twitch Invitational. Production quality was through the roof, and so was the gameplay. Who of the four participants would go home as Europe’s best?
The tournament started off with a bang – a very one-sided one, in G2 Esports’s favour, as they matched up against Ninjas in Pyjamas to kick off the tournament. With the massive nerfs to Sage in Patch 1.07, we expected to not see one at all, but David “davidp” Prins pulled it out in the first map, Ascent. The map, despite being NiP’s pick, went very heavily in G2’s favour. Charles “CREA” Beauvois was invisible for NiP, only securing four kills all game, as G2 won the map 13-6.
G2’s pick, Haven, was much closer. NiP looked very good on their defense, with Niels “luckeRRR” Jasiek showing his potential and coming alive on the Jett/Operator.
When they flipped to attack, though, G2 took over again, only dropping one round to take the game 13-7. Haven looked promising for NiP, but they still couldn’t compete with G2, who took the series 2-0.
FunPlus Phoenix took on Team Liquid in the next match of the day. Right away, Liquid shocked, pulling out a composition of Raze-Reyna-Killjoy-Phoenix-Breach for Split: 7 flashes, no smokes. Ultimately, it wasn’t successful for them, as they fell on their map pick, Split, 13-7.
While Liquid switched it up for Bind, they still didn’t add any smokes. The result was about the same, 13-8 in favour of FPX. Many pros and personalities criticized Liquid’s team compositions throughout the day. It was certainly an interesting factor.
Day 2 began with the elimination matchup, Team Liquid vs. NiP. This time, while Liquid still didn’t have any major smokes, they put Travis “L1NK” Mendoza on Jett, and the composition finally clicked. L1NK proved to be very skilled on the agent, and provided much-needed secondary fragging to back up Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom’s monstrous Reyna. Liquid dominated on NiP’s map pick of Ascent, winning 13-5, and while Haven was again closer – perhaps NiP should be picking it instead? – it still went in Liquid’s favor as they strung together many late rounds to win 13-9.
In a much-anticipated match, G2 faced off against FPX. With the two being undisputably the top 2 teams in Europe, and FPX making it close last time, could they do it again?
Ah, no. No they most definitely could not. G2 dominated the series all the way, winning both Split and Ascent 13-3. Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks was absolutely on fire, looking like the best player in Europe, as G2 advanced to the finals.
Lower Bracket Finals
Day 3 began with the lower bracket finals, a rematch between Team Liquid and FPX. With Liquid looking better and better, the series was close and intense.
Liquid started out with a 6-1 lead on Ascent, but some late plays by Pontus “Zyppan” Eek kept the score at 7-5 by the end of the half. It was then FPX’s turn to nab 6 of the first 7 rounds, and a few big buy round wins in their favour won them the map, 13-11.
Liquid’s defense looked good on Bind, and a massive round for them was won when Dom “soulcas” Sulcas clutched up their eco on the second round.
They went into the half leading 7-5, but an even stronger defense from FPX – some massive clutches helping them string together 8 out of 9 rounds – meant the series was over. FPX took Bind 13-11 like the first, and were moving on to the finals. Liquid were out.
While G2 began the best-of-5 with a map advantage due to coming out of the upper bracket, it was FPX who struck first. Looking better than they ever had, they dominated G2 on G2’s own map pick, Ascent, which they had looked so good on all tournament. While G2 attempted to make a comeback on their own defense, stringing together four rounds with the pistol, they fell apart in the later rounds, and FPX took the map 13-7 to tie up the series 1-1. G2 were getting challenged more than they ever had.
Unfortunately for FPX, they couldn’t keep it going. Despite Bind being their map pick, G2 dominated them, and didn’t drop a single round on their defense. While FPX attempted something of a comeback, it was never really going to happen from 12-0, and G2 ended up winning 13-4.
Haven was right back the other way. FPX looked really good on Haven, both offense and defense, to win the map 13-6. The map was incredibly close. FPX punished Team Liquid for every single round, winning plenty and taking nearly every weapon away when they would lose. A 2v4 retake by Zyppan and Johan “Meddo” Lundborg was emblematic of the tightness of the game. G2 were facing a tougher match than ever before, and we were on to map 4.
Split started off tight, like nearly all the maps previous to it. While each team strung rounds together, a fantastic Operator ace, including a collateral, from Óscar Cañellas “mixwell” Colocho put G2 up 7-5 at the half.
The second half was crazy, with clutch after clutch by both sides. FPX started out with five rounds in a row, but G2 came back with a few of their own. And ultimately, after several more crazy rounds, G2 had too much momentum. The finals were crazy, the finals were close. G2 were challenged harder than they had ever been. But they perservered, and won the BLAST VALORANT Twitch Invitational.
Final Standings for the BLAST VALORANT Twitch Invitational:
1. G2 Esports – €25,000
2. FunPlus Phoenix – €12,500
3. Team Liquid – €7,500
4. Ninjas in Pyjamas – €5,000