Cloud9 White are the four-time NA VCT Game Changers champions
Cloud9 White are now the four-time NA VCT Game Changers champions
Cloud9 White are now the four-time NA VCT Game Changers champions | Provided by VCT NA

Cloud9 White are the four-time NA VCT Game Changers champions

Next up is Challengers

On Saturday, Cloud9 White cemented themselves as the four-time champions of North American VALORANT Champions Tour Game Changers by sweeping Shopify Rebellion 3-0 to complete a perfect run in this event. With this win, they have secured not only the title of best in NA, but also a hefty chunk of points towards securing a spot at the first Game Changers LAN event later this year.

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Shopify Rebellion win the lower bracket finals

To make it to C9, Shopify Rebellion had to get through Dignitas Female in the lower bracket final first. They did so, but it was a close fight that went to all three maps. They started out on Bind, which Shopify managed to take 13-6. SR started to stumble here and Dignitas kept the lead for most of the match, but suddenly SR seemed to get a second wind and managed to push their opponents to overtime. Despite these efforts, Dignitas were still able to take the win, 14-2. The final map in this series was Split. Dignitas’ Melissa “theia” Mundorff switched off Chamber, her latest main, to play Cipher this time around. Shopify stuck with the comp they had been running, and it ultimately worked out for them as they took Split 13-10.

Cloud9 White crush Shopify Rebellion in the grand finals

Going into this grand final series, everyone knew that Shopify Rebellion had a gargantuan task ahead of them in trying to take down the reigning champions of NA Game Changers. But the underdogs have taken a map off C9 in the past, so it wasn’t an impossible feat by any stretch. Still, when it came time for the top two NA Game Changers teams to go toe-to-toe, Shopify couldn’t handle the pressure. Cloud9 White swept them 3-0 to take their fourth Game Changers title.

In a post-game press conference, Shopify’s coach Rob “robwiz” Kennedy said that the team just didn’t play up to their full ability and that the pressure of facing C9 and trying to win this event was ultimately too much for them.

“Second place is fine,” he said. “But we didn’t lose on our terms.”

Cloud9 White, meanwhile, looked scary as ever. With Katja “katsumi” Pfahnl now playing agents like Omen and Brimstone after the meta shift, she can be more aggressive, which allows her teammates to be more aggressive as well. This suits C9 just fine, as they have the immense fire power of in-game leader Melanie “meL” Capone and duelist Jasmine “Jazzyk1ns” Manankill to lean on. Even their more support focused player Annie “Annie Dro” Roberts showed off some tremendous fragging ability during this series. Everyone on this roster was firing on all cylinders during the grand final, but this is just the beginning for the C9 White squad.

Their next big goal is doing well in the upcoming VCT Challengers open qualifiers, where they will be competing against more aspiring Tier 2 and Tier 1 VALORANT teams. According to their coach Ryou “MoonChopper” Nishiyama, Cloud9 White now view Game Changers as a sort of side gig. Their eyes have moved to the bigger prize of participating in, and eventually winning VCT, Challengers events.

Both MoonChopper and meL emphasized the importance of playing in as many open tournaments as possible as the corner stone of the team’s success. They easily sit at the top of this scene now because they have the knowledge to handle whatever their less experienced competitors throw at them.

“I want teams to participate in these open tournaments and get crushed by the giants of NA so we don’t look so big,” MoonChopper said. MeL agreed.

“Compete in as many open tournaments as you can,” she said. “And please keep your rosters together!”

After playing in this series, though, meL is optimistic about the future of the scene and its teams.

“I think more teams will start playing in the open tournaments,” she said. “I feel good about it after playing in this Game Changers.”

With the appearance of an unsigned team like Dart Monkeys in the main event, there’s more movement and improvement than ever before. If these kinds of squads heed C9’s advice, and the top teams in Dignitas and Shopify continue to improve as well, then the next main event will see a whole new level of competition for the NA Game Changers scene.