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Version1 was once a strung-together team under the alias “NeverDone” who had some impressive performances in C-tier tournaments back in January. The team, comprised of retired Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players, had little to no success in the higher-end of esports competition before transferring over to VALORANT. They were not the team that would have been in the talks to represents North America in Iceland a month ago.

NeverDone would turn into the slogan for Version1 after they officially signed the team. They were added along the organizations Rocket League squad and franchised Call of Duty League team Minnesota Rokkr. Version1 remained mid-tier with strong performances at off-scene tournaments like the Pittsburgh Knights Monthly Gauntlet. When the team moved to play in more mainstream tournaments like the Nerd Street Gamers monthly events and the VALORANT Champions Tour, they fell flat against some of the top teams in North America.

In their debut tournament under Version1 at VCT Stage 1 Challengers, FaZe Clan eliminated them in the sixteenth round. TSM would do the same in the round of eight at the next open qualifier. These losses put Version1 out of contention for the first Masters event which saw FaZe Clan take second place after defeating them in the open. While Masters 1 progressed, Version1 went to play at the Nerd Street Gamers monthly tournament in March but flopped when they faced off against Cloud9 Blue.

Version1 make a run at Stage 2 Challengers

Version1 began making themselves known in the competitive VALORANT scene when they qualified to Stage 2 Challengers. They beat out Gen.G, TSM, FaZe Clan, and Luminosity to make it into the top eight, all of which were not present at Challengers Finals. Version1 would get revenge against FaZe Clan during the round of 16 to eliminate them from contention at the closed qualifier and secure their own spot.

After making the top eight for the closed qualifier, Version1 would continue to prove themselves as a top team after making a lower bracket run that earned them fourth place overall. Envy knocked them in the lower bracket after they took them to a game three. In the lower bracket, they would defeat Built By Gamers and Cloud9 Blue to make it to the lower bracket semifinal. XSET would ultimately eliminate them from the tournament and go on to face 100 Thieves in the grand final. Version1’s fourth place finish would secure them a spot at the VCT Challengers Finals which would determine what two teams would make it to Master 2 in Reykjavík, Iceland.

“Honestly, I think it was just a matter of time,” Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro when asked what brought them to be one of the best teams in North America. “Penny and Vanity are f****** amazing players. We [Version1] haven’t been together that long considering the rest of the teams. We’re going off momentum; we’re going off the practice we do. Our coach, he’s f****** amazing honestly, he is there hyping us up every day and making sure we’re doing everything we need to do. The team is just coming together.”

Lower bracket round 1 to Iceland

Version1 was knocked into the lower bracket during the first match when they lost 2-1 to Sentinels. Sentinels were favored to win based on their moment from Masters 1 and the last open qualifier. Despite a trip to the lower bracket early in the tournament, Version1 still had dreams of making it to Iceland. They defeated Andbox 2-1 in their first match which allowed them to move on to the lower brackets second round. In that round of games, they defeated NRG 2-0 and moved on to the third round of the lower bracket.

Envy gave Version1 a run for their money in a nail-biting three-game series but ultimately reigned victorious. That allowed them to move onto the lower bracket final where they needed to defeat Cloud9 Blue to make it to Iceland. Cloud9 Blue was no match for Version1 who took their moment from previous matches to go all the way. They decisively beat Cloud9 Blue in the third game of the best of three on Split 13-7. After winning four consecutive matches in the lower bracket, Version1 officially qualified for the offline event in Iceland.

“When you play a lot of tournaments in Counter-Strike, there are back-to-back matches,” Zellsis said when asked how the all-day games impacted him. “Honestly, being a Counter-Strike player, I am kind of use to the back-to-back matches, but it is draining. Playing this high-level VALORANT, you are always thinking. Every single round is thinking because you can lose any round at any moment, you must be dialed in.”

Sentinels stop Version1 in the final

Despite the energy that Version1 had coming into the grand final against Sentinels, it was no match for Sentinel’s own momentum. Before making it to the grand final, Sentinels were on an eight-series win streak. Version1 came into the finals with high hopes, but those were eventually shut down by the powerhouse team who swiftly swept them 3-0. Even if Version1 were swept in the finals, that did nothing to dampen the spirits of the players.

Version1 effys and Vanity pose in front of the team logo
Version1 effys and Vanity pose in front of the team logo | Image provided by Version1

“I would obviously like to play against Europe,” said Version1 team captain Vanity when asked about what region he was excited to face in Iceland. “In Counter-Strike I always liked playing against Brazilian teams so it will be cool to play against the Brazilian [VALORANT] teams. Those are my top two, Brazil and Europe.”

“It feels great to be one of the two teams to represent NA at Iceland,” said Zellsis when asked his overall thoughts on the upcoming offline event. “As a player, I didn’t expect LANs to come back so soon. To have one for VALORANT right away, and us be a part of it, it is a surreal feeling.”

Version1 and Sentinels will represent NA during the offline tournament taking place in Reykjavík, Iceland. Ten teams from seven different regions will compete against one another to determine the best squad in the world. Master 2 in Iceland will run from May 24 through May 30.

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