Following an impressive run at the first EU Masters event of the VALORANT Champions Tour, Acend’s quest to repeat as champions has been derailed. In the quarterfinals of Challengers One, as part of the second stage of the VCT, they fell to Ninjas in Pyjamas 2-1 today despite leading the series 1-0.
Acend initially appeared to still be in championship form on the first map, Haven. Despite Haven being their worst map outside of Split, their go-to ban, Acend closed out the final rounds with a plethora of clutches from both BONECOLD and koldamenta.
The series turned to Icebox, a favorite of Acend’s—and that’s not just because they have two players with “cold” in their name. The team was 7-0 going into the second map today, but NiP came out swinging with a new agent comp.
The Ninjas led at halftime 11-1 after a blistering attacking side where they just bullied their way into sites. Acend answered with their own impressive attacking side, winning nine of the first 10 rounds in the second half. But NiP only needed two rounds on defense and got their second in the 23rd round to take the map 13-10.
This sent the series to a third and final map, Bind. Bind was a repeat of Icebox with a dominant NiP attacking side to start things out. The Ninjas led 8-4 at halftime. NiP closed out the final four rounds of the map to take Bind 13-8 and the series 2-1. Rhyme was the MVP of the series with 60 kills over the three maps—and he saved his best performance for the last map while on Raze.
Ninjas in Pyjamas move on and await the winner of Guild Esports vs. Alliance.