Thursday was an elimination day for the VALORANT Champions Tour North American Stage 1 playoffs tournament; XSET faced Luminosity Gaming and swept them 2-0, while Cloud9 and Version1 went to three maps before C9 knocked V1 out of VCT playoffs contention.
XSET end Luminosity’s Masters ambitions
The first map of the lower bracket series between XSET and Luminosity was Breeze. Things immediately seemed a bit stacked against LG, since they performed poorly the last time they faced XSET on this map. Though LG managed a small lead at the start of the game, it didn’t take XSET long at all to catch up and then pass their opponents. They beat Luminosity soundly, 13-5.
Next up was Ascent. This map felt a bit more evenly matched as the teams traded rounds and the lead back and forth in the first half. But things fell apart for LG in the second half. After going in only behind by two rounds at 7-5, they just couldn’t seem to keep up with XSET, who won the next six consecutive rounds to cement their sweep. LG are now out of VCT NA Stage 1 and have no shot at attending Masters. XSET, meanwhile, will proceed to the next lower bracket match against the victor of Thursday’s other series.
Cloud9 finish off Version1
In a shocking turn of events, two of North America’s top teams, Cloud9 and Version1, also ended up facing off in the playoffs lower bracket on Thursday. Their series’ first map was Breeze, which was nothing short of a slugfest. Version1 got off to an early lead, winning the first five rounds, but Cloud9 were able to catch up and tie things up 6-6 going into the half thanks to exceptional plays from in-game leader Anthony “vanity” Malaspina. It seemed like Cloud9 had finally hit their groove, as they took the first three rounds of the second half. Version1 stopped the bleeding there, taking their seventh round. From there they were able to tie things up again, 9-9, and ultimately they found enough momentum to finish the game off 13-10.
— VALORANT Champions Tour NA (@valesports_na) March 24, 2022
The next map in this star-studded series was Ascent. Neither team showed any signs of backing down going into the first half, though Cloud9 managed to take the early lead on defense. The teams traded rounds throughout the first half, but Cloud9 finally closed it out 7-5. The next half was almost just as back and forth, but Cloud9 managed to step up. They took the map 13-10 off the back of an incredible clutch from Son “xeta” Seon-ho, pushing the series to a tiebreaker on Fracture.
Cloud9 took an early lead on Fracture, only stopped by a clutch from Version1’s Alexander “zander” Dituri in the fifth round. Though V1 proceeded to get a few more rounds on the board, Cloud9 continued to pull ahead. They soon had Version1 on a cliff’s edge, match and map point 12-6. Version1 pushed back, taking their seventh round and giving themselves a sliver of hope to make a comeback. But that hope was short-lived. In a nail-biter round, everything came down to a one vs. one between C9’s Nathan “leaf” Orf and V1’sMaxim “wippie” Shepelev. Wippie couldn’t get away from leaf, and Cloud9 took the game 13-7. They will face XSET next in the lower bracket match on Friday, after The Guard’s match with OpTic Gaming.