This past weekend was a big one for VALORANT in many parts of the globe, with multiple regions qualifying teams for First Strike. Europe was among them, and the region’s play-offs added four final teams to the event. Those teams are:
They’ll join these teams in the main First Strike event:
Things got hairy for the favoured nolpenki against Enterprise Esports. Consistently one of Europe’s better squads, and having eliminated Guild Esports in the play-in stage, nolpenki were expected to easily win the match. But things didn’t go that way. Haven was incredibly tight with the Czechs pulling it out in overtime, and the map was basically salvaged by the tremendous play of Aleksander “zeek” Zygmunt. nolpenki were determined to bring it back, though, and put up a dominant 13-5 performance on Ascent, with Vakaris “vakk” Bebravičius’s Reyna going 23-9. Split was back down to the wire, with the attacking sides winning more, unusual for the map. Ultimately, late clutches put nolpenki through to the main event.
Things started out very quickly for Prodigy’s match against L’institut . The primarily French squad dominated their map pick of Split, with LoWkii pulling off many big plays for the team en route to a 13-4 win. It was then on to Prodigy’s pick of Ascent, though, and they gave to L’Institut exactly what had happened to them, with a 13-5 victory. It was then on to Bind.
At first, it looked like Split all over again. LoWkii and APO were again on point, and L’Institut came into the half with a 9-3 lead heading to the defensive side.
But Prodigy pulled it back. Round after round, they outplayed and outthought the French side, and pulled off the incredible comeback. Prodigy didn’t lose a single attacking round as they won 13-9 to advance to the First Strike Regional Finals.
While Purple Cobras, fresh off an upset victory against Ninjas in Pyjamas, and need more DM weren’t necessarily teams you’d expect to be fighting for a First Strike spot, their match delivered in spades. Ouali “M4CHINA” Manset and Logi “Hugstar” Baldursson were absolute stars for Purple Cobras as they took somewhat of an upset win.
Each side won their map pick – Purple Cobras Bind and Need More DM Ascent – before a third map of Haven. A map Purple Cobras hadn’t played once in their First Strike qualification route, they pulled off skillful macro plays and used their ultimates to great affect. Renátó “bzt” Bárányos did his best to keep Need More DM in it, but ultimately the more skillful and prepared team won the day. Purple Cobras are a very interesting team to keep an eye on at First Strike, and will be capable of more than a few surprises.
The final match for European First Strike qualification featured Team Heretics vs Team Finest. A slow, one-sided affair, it was domination by Team Heretics. Early into their lifespan, Heretics relied heavily on the skill of Dustyn “nieSoW” Durnas to win them games. But this Heretics looked like one far more practiced and comfortable with each other. They consistently won almost every aim duel, changed up the pace of their attack, and had every player contribute en route to their destruction of their largely Israeli opponent. Some credit must be given to ponjkt, far and away Team Finest’s best player, but it was definitely not meant to be. A 13-3 on Ascent and 13-2 on Bind finished the match and gave Team Heretics the last spot in First Strike.
With these matches finished, every competitor in the First Strike Europe Regional Final is set. The matches will take place from December 3rd-6th, 2020, for a 85,000€ prize pool. Catch them on twitch.tv/valorant_esports_eu, and follow along with all the action on THESPIKE.GG!