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CLG Red stormed the B site on Ascent, killing Melanie “meL” Capone and planting the spike after reducing Cloud9 White’s ranks to just two. The four remaining CLG members posted up in the corners of the site, ready for the retake from the last two Cloud9 members.
Annie “AnnieDro” Roberts and katsumi methodically entered the site, using Annie’s recon arrows as Sova to scout the area. Melanie “rise” Tetreault and Benita “bENITA” Novshadian were the first two to fall as Cloud9 made the offensive play to push into the site. This left Naomi “Naomi” Sauvola and Evalynn “Chobo” Chiu in a 2v2, with Chobo deep in the site and Naomi on the outskirts. The Cloud9 players moved closer to the spike, while Chobo and Naomi – who was previously holding the flank – moved closer to cover her teammate.
But, AnnieDro and katsumi cornered and dispatched Chobo, then pounced on the spike to defuse it. As Naomi made a desperate peek into the site to contest, AnnieDro killed her and won the round for Cloud9 White.
The play was an unfortunate outcome for CLG Red. The team earned their way to the finals of the VALORANT Champions Tour Game Changers Series II tournament and were eventually swept by their opponents. The play stopped any momentum that CLG had from playing Cloud9 close in the first and second map. The 2v4 retake round win by Cloud9 would put them on map point. They closed out the map in the next round.
“We wanted to make it very clear that we’re here to dominate all three maps,” Cloud9’s in-game leader meL said.
Cloud9 White would take the series 3-0, with round scores of 13-11, 13-9 and 13-6; achieving their goal of dominating the series.
CLG Red want to shift their narrative
The series played out in a similar fashion to the first Game Changers, where CLG faced Cloud9 in the finals. But, even with the tournament results and wins, bENITA says she felt as if the narrative around her team was not fitting of a second-place squad.
“We’ve made it to the finals of every tournament we’ve been in, so I’m not sure why the narrative about our team is so negative when it comes to that,” bENITA said. “We’re definitely consistent and we deserve to be in the finals.”
The CLG IGL explained that the team may only have one final hurdle to overcome and defeat Cloud9: finding a starting fifth member. In this event, CLG used Evil Geniuses’ Claudia “Clawdia” Che as a stand-in. They competed in the last Game Changers event with only three signed members.
“I think maybe that’s the very last push we really need,” Chobo said.
But, for Cloud9 White, CLG Red are nowhere near the second best women’s team in North American VALORANT. Adding a fifth starting member may not be the best path for overtaking them.
According to the team’s coach Chris “Dream” Myrick, the second best team in Game Changers was the newly signed Shopify Rebellion, and it’s not close in his mind.
“We are very aware of all of the strengths and weaknesses of all these different teams. I genuinely think it is not very close between Shopify and whoever you want to put at third place,” Dream said.
Shopify Rebellion were the first women’s team to take a map off of Cloud9 in the Game Changers qualifiers; even if there were extenuating factors that led to the dropped map.
“We had some weird stuff going on where [Jasmie “Jazzyk1ns” Manankil] was having issues and wasn’t able to play. We had to have [Alexis “alexis” Guarrasi] fill on a roll that she doesn’t play on a map that she doesn’t play,” Dreams said.
The rest of Cloud9’s maps against Shopify, however, were one-sided. Shopfy failed to win more than five rounds against the team in their next four maps in the qualifying and main event series.
Cloud9 White believe more women’s teams should enter the open circuit
As for overcoming Cloud9 White in the next Game Changers, or mainstream VALORANT tournament, the players recommended CLG Red. They also encouraged other Game Changers participants to enter VCT or Nerd Street Gamers events.
“That is the one step that you can take to actually improve beyond. The scene is literally going out of your scene, and that’s what we kind of did,” AnnieDro said.
The team highlighted that they didn’t see immediate results. They were 13-0’d a few times, but the experience gave them more tape to review and more tournaments to enter.
MeL also said the increased frequency of events in mainstream tournament series could elevate other team’s play. It could also make some matchups between teams more frequent.
“I want to play them in these tournaments too,” meL said. “I don’t want to just meet them every five months or however long it takes for Game Changes. It’d be great to see the rivalry continue in the open circuit tournaments. Like maybe we get them in our bracket; it’s our side of the bracket in the open clause and we continue the rivalry. Or, we just have another female team to cheer for.”
As it currently stands, CLG Red confirmed that the team will compete in the second VCT Stage 3 qualifier. Shopify are signed up for the next Knights and Nerd Street Gamers events.
“If you want to be better than us, you have to compete against people who are better than us,” katsumi said. “And you can’t do that just playing in a women’s only weekend 1k whatever. Play against better teams.”
Cloud9 White continue their oppressive run at the top of the women’s VALORANT scene. They will also compete in VCT Stage 3 open qualifier for Challengers 1 on Thursday, July 1. The team has now notched top finishes at all three of the top women’s tournaments in VALORANT’s lifetime. With its members no longer tied down to school obligations, they look primed to compete in the next few months.
“It’s definitely a C9 White summer,” Dreams said.
Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.