The second match was just as interesting, as 7th place Masters 1 qualifier XSET took on the ever changing NRG Esports roster, this time with the addition of Ian “tex” Botsch, taking place of Ryan “Shanks” Ngo, who moved onto Rise. Despite tex finishing 2nd in kills for NRG, primarily playing the Raze agent, they could not find a way to get either map to overtime as they fell on both Haven and Bind 13-11. NRG will have one more qualifier in their attempt to travel to Reykjavik for Masters 2.
The first three map match took place between Envy and Ghost Gaming. Ultimately, Envy would come out victorious after a tough back and forth brawl. After two 13-9 maps on Bind and Ascent going to Envy and Ghost respectively, Envy ended things in a 13-1 dominant performance on Haven. One of the more eye-popping stats from this match was the fact that Anthony “mummAy” DiPaolo would finish Haven with a deathless K/D of 16/0/5 and 270 ACS.
The final match of Saturday was arguably the most anticipated. 8th place Masters 1 finishers Immortals would take on TSM with their brand new 6-man roster with Braxton “Brax” Pierce. The new addition to TSM certainly has the name people know. Even with Brax stepping in, TSM would yet again fail to move on as they would lose Haven 13-1 and Bind 13-6. The early dominance of TSM in the Valorant scene seems to have faded, as the once favorites they will have one more chance to qualify for Iceland.
On Sunday, the final 4 matches took place to qualify for Challengers 1, first up was second place Masters 1 finisher FaZe Clan versus the up and coming Version1 roster. On the first map Haven, V1 took advantage of the Reyna pick as Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro finished with 22/13/9 to lead them to a 13-8 victory. On Ascent, it was the complete opposite as Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen proved once again that he is one of the best top-fragging Omens with an unreal 26/12/3 stat line to lead Faze in a 13-9 victory on Ascent. The third and final map took place on Icebox, a favorite of Faze Clan, a map that would go to overtime on the backs of Andrej “babybay” Francisty, including possibly the fastest ace so far in competitive Valorant.
Even with the effort from Babybay, Faze would lose both overtime rounds falling 14-12 in a suspenseful match with V1 moving on to the final 8.
In the most surprising match of the day, Noble, who took out Luminosity Gaming in the round of 32, took on Andbox, as former Cloud9 Blue player Daniel “vice” Kim would step in for Christopher “Rebo” Heindel. After completely dominating LG in the Rof32, Noble looked to continue their cinderella run, but Andbox had different thoughts as they would defeat Noble in a 3 map thriller. After splitting the first two maps on Ascent and Bind, Andbox would finish the match with a 13-10 victory on Split.
Of the most notable teams in the tournament, 100 Thieves was taking on ex-Dignitas roster, now known as rice and meatballs. To nobody’s surprise 100T swept the series 2-0 with map wins on Icebox and Bind. The big takeaway from this match was that Ethan “Ethan” Arnold and Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella have now swapped the Omen and Sage roles, a role that Ethan clearly looks more comfortable in. The sky is the limit for the former face of NA CSGO. Star duelist Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk was once again Match MVP, finishing with 37 kills, 29 deaths, and 15 assists as he made play after play.
As one of the more disappointing rosters in the NA Valorant scene, Cloud9 originally had some of the most promise with TenZ and their original roster. It took awhile and some roster changes, but they seem to have finally got their first major competitive win with this victory over Gen.G Esports. In the first map, Gen.G was down massively and made an epic comeback only to lose in overtime 14-12. After a close first map, Cloud9 handily took Ascent in a 13-5 victory to secure their spot in Challengers 1.
These 8 teams will compete in the Stage 2 Challengers 1 event starting on Thursday April 8th, which will be a double elimination tournament. The top 4 will secure their place in North America’s Challengers Finals, the last stage in qualification to Masters Reykjavik.