The NSG x Complexity Invitational kicked off competitive VALORANT for North America in 2021, and couldn’t have delivered more. It ended up being incredibly exciting, with very close games and amazing plays. There were big upsets and surprise teams along the way, and in the end, it was a rapidly improving XSET that took the victory and showed they were ready to permanently compete at the very top.
While no games from Group A were broadcasted, XSET took the first seed without dropping a map and in rather impressive fashion during their best-of-3 against Project !. BcJ replaced Brandon “Brando” Parker for the event and impressed with his new team. The rebuilding beastcoast fell out last, though it was very close, and a three-game set with Tristan “Critical” Trinacty top fragging across the series against some of his old teammates went the way of Built By Gamers.
Hosts Complexity rolled up with some new role assignments and took first place in Group B. Mike “sharky” Gariti topped the leaderboards all day playing Jett for the first time with the team, having some absolutely pop-off moments. After losing to Dignitas in their opening game, Time In rematched them after beating Elysium, with the result remaining the same. Players like Chad “oderus” Miller continued to show signs of improvement for the squad, and they were moving on and keeping up their great form over the last few weeks.
Group C was very close all day, and put up the biggest shocker of the group stages as tournament favourite Andbox failed to qualify for the knockout stage after two attempts. Up against Equinox Esports, fill-in Ian “tex” Botsch led the way to a big upset game – after performances like that, tex may not be a fill-in for long.
Ultimately, they would fall to NRG, but did grab the second spot after defeating Spacestation in Magno “Pr0phie” Ramos’s first official outing with the team.
XSET vs. Renegades, Complexity vs. Luminosity, Equinox vs. Dignitas, and NRG vs. Built By Gamers were the matchups as we headed into the knockout stage. Despite having a great first day, Renegades couldn’t overcome their opponents as Matthew “Wedid” Suchan top fragged for the series and pulled out the Viper on Split to lead XSET to the semifinals. Up against LG, Complexity struggled to match the firepower thrown at them with thief putting up 317 ACS series-wide. Equinox continued their great run of success against a tournament favourite in Dignitas, with tex still thriving and beating out thief’s success at 360 ACS. Finally, Built By Gamers took the only quarter-final to go to three maps against NRG. An incredibly close affair, a good performance from Ryan “Shanks” Ngo wasn’t quite enough to get the star-studded NRG to the semifinals.
XSET and Luminosity matched up in the first semifinal, and it was immediately apparent that XSET weren’t struggling to contain their opponents’ pure rifling skill like teams before them. XSET were reading Luminosity like a book and making perfect rotations, on top of Bryce “PureR” Lovell and Jordan “AYRIN” He completely shutting down their duelist opponents of thief and YaBoiDre. Two 13-4 victories, one of the biggest margins of the event despite being a very close matchup on paper, sent the surging XSET to the finals.
The second semifinal featured Equinox and Built By Gamers, two teams you might not expect to see at this stage of the tournament but who had each made great strides over the last few weeks and even days. Ultimately, though, the series was BBG-sided the whole way through. Critical had some highlight-reel moments, Rob “rob-wiz” Kennedy put up his best performance of the event, and tex struggled to get off the ground. 13-4 on Ascent and 13-7 on Bind put Built By Gamers through to the finals.
The finals were set: an XSET squad that had slowly been building up since their signing against a Built By Gamers lineup that had historically been mediocre, but were putting up one of their best tournament runs in a long time. Beginning the match on Bind, XSET were their usual, controlled selves on the map, with big rounds from AYRIN putting them ahead and not looking back. Critical and pho did their best to drag BBG to some wins, but it went the way of XSET 13-7.
Bind was quite a bit different. It was in BBG’s control for most of the way, with Will having a fantastic game. XSET tried to make a comeback happen but some big rounds from rob-wiz shut that down. It went to BBG 13-10, and we went to Split for the third and final map.
Wedid pulled out his Viper pick for the map, but XSET’s defending half didn’t go as well as they would have liked it to on such a defender-sided map as Split, as it ended 7-5. A few great rounds and clutches from BcJ were the thing keeping XSET ahead. XSET began really pulling ahead on their attack, though, with some great rounds from PureR and intelligent Viper play from Wedid. BBG did their best to pull some rounds back, but XSET had their Split attack figured out and BBG couldn’t match them. The map ended 13-7 and the series 2-1 – XSET took the victory.
Final Standings for the NSG x Complexity Invitational:
1. XSET – $6,000
2. Built By Gamers – $3,000
3. Luminosity Gaming – $1,000
4. Equinox Esports
9-12. Project !
9-12. Time In
9-12. Spacestation Gaming
13-16. Carpe Noctem