TENSTAR, Giants Gaming, Alliance and Team Vitality have all made it to the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 3 Challengers 2 Main Event, with two spots in the EMEA Challengers Playoffs on offer there.
TENSTAR’s Cinderella run
This predominantly British squad was by far the most surprising qualifier of all, still in free agency just two months ago. To start, they defeated 19esports in close best-of-three (BO3) match that went all the way. However, the decider, Split, was a walk in the park for TENSTAR, who ended with a comfortable 13:5 finish to advance to the next round
Team Queso was TENSTAR’s next rival as a rather strange matchup emerged. This series went all the way to map three seeing TENSTAR dominate on Split before being outclassed on Breeze. Nonetheless the deciding map, Icebox featured yet another one-sided destruction from TENSTAR, propelling them to Round 3 of the upper bracket, where they would face Team Heretics.
This matchup commenced with a close 13:10 TENSTAR triumph on Icebox, followed by an unexpectedly simple 13:3 win on Breeze, and with it, TENSTAR punched their ticket to the main event.
Giants Gaming: a massive upset
The Giants’ qualification was also a surprise of this event. They began their adventure by sweeping BIG under the rug with a 2-0 victory. Team Vitality, a more formidable opponent, awaited in Round 2 of the upper bracket. They annihilated Vitality on Split with a 13:3 scoreline before all hell broke loose on Ascent. After several overtimes, the Giants were able to advance to Round 3 of the upper bracket. The Ascent match resulted in a 17:15 score, an exceptionally rare score in the entire Valorant history.
Alliance was the final obstacle in Giant Gaming’s path to the VCT Challengers 2 Main Event and they did put up the toughest battle in the upper bracket. The proceedings commenced on Icebox, which saw Giants steal away another overtime, this time at 16:14. The next map, Bind, was Alliance’s chance to come back and they tried to go toe-to-toe with Giants Gaming; however, it was Giants that edged it out in their favor with a 13:11 score. With this victory, the Spanish team finished second in the Challengers 2 Main Event without dropping a single map.
Team Vitality: living up to expectations
To start their run, the European team defeated WiLD MultiGaming, one of the real underdogs of the tournament, albeit in a rough fashion, as the best-of-three went all the way to map three. Then came their defeat to Giants, followed by a date with Wave Esports in the lower bracket, where they defeated them in a quick clean sweep (13:1 Icebox, 13:5 Split).
NiP were next in line: the close-fought match began with a 17:15 NiP win in a frantic Breeze battle. However, Vitality would win the next two maps (13:11 Split, 13:10 Ascent), to set up a deciding encounter against Team Heretics. Both teams were among the initial favorites to make it into the Main Event so this matchup drew a lot of eyes to it. Vitality overpowered Breeze with a large lead of 13:2 to get off to a good start and went on to tighten their belts and win on Icebox with a 13:9 score to complete the 2-0 sweep.
Alliance had a smooth journey in the upper bracket of this VCT event all the way until their encounter with Giants. Real Betis was the first team to succumb to their might (13:8 Icebox, 13:7 Bind). Their next opponent was the brand new British Vexed Gaming lineup, who did show some resistance on Icebox but couldn’t stop Alliance from taking it with a 13:9 finish. In contrast, Bind was a stroll in the park for them with a 13:4 scoreline in their favor.
Alliance were pitted against BIG in the lower bracket after their loss to the Giants. The predominantly German lineup was looking to complete a flawless lower bracket run: however, Alliance shattered the dream comeback with 13:9 scores in their favor on Icebox and Ascent, securing the last spot in the lower bracket of the closed qualifier.