Written By Germanicus - 2020-08-10
With VALORANT esports only growing bigger, the FaZe Clan VALORANT Invitational was set to showcase it to the world. Immortals announced their resurgence, FaZe Clan made an exciting if underwhelming debut, and Envy finally managed to shake the quarterfinals monkey off their back. But it was TSM and Sentinels who really showed up, the two giants fighting a thrilling battle for the title. And for the first time in a while, TSM emerged as the victors.
The groups were played in a GSL format, which made for some exciting action. In Group A, Sentinels faced a tough challenge from Gen.G Esports to get out first, but they did make it. Built By Gamers lost to Lemonade Stand in an upset in the lower bracket, but the qualifier team took it one step further and nearly upset Gen.G too. It wasn’t to be, though, and Gen.G was the second team to exit the group.
Group B saw TSM face Spacestation Gaming in an incredibly tight match. Daniel "roca" Gustaferri put Bloom on his back with 288 ACS over the course of the series, but TSM squeaked it out in the end. They couldn’t do the same against Cloud9 Blue, though, who exited the group in first place. It was then on to the lower bracket, where Renegades beat Bloom before getting cleaned up by TSM.
T1 won Group C over Team Envy, but it was Complexity who put up a real fight. Every tournament, it seems they get stronger and stronger, and they nearly beat Envy in the final match of the group. However, it wasn’t meant to be. Complexity are improving for sure, and will be a team to watch in upcoming tournaments.
Lastly, Group D saw an upset right out of the gate as Equinox Esports upset FaZe Clan after a long overtime on Haven. The new kids on the block then nearly had their tournament ended by 100 Thieves, but did pull out the win with Jimmy "Marved" Nguyen having a fantastic game on Haven. Immortals beat China Nguyen to qualify in first place, so it was a rematch for FaZe, and they came out on top this time. It was not at all the start FaZe would have wanted, but at least they did make it out in the end.
FaZe then had the tough task of facing the dominant Sentinels in the quarterfinals, and while they looked better than they did in the group stage, they still couldn’t match up to them. In the meantime, though, Team Envy finally made it past a quarterfinal in an exciting series against Cloud9. Tyson "TenZ" Ngo was not the monster he usually is, and Envy took the deserved win.
T1 took the first map, Split, off of TSM, and it looked like they might finally be showing up in a playoff stage. But TSM took the next two maps to win the series. Yassine "Subroza" Taoufik had an impressive series, a theme that would continue, as TSM moved on to the semifinals.
The final quarterfinal was Immortals vs. Gen.G. Immortals brought in Quan "dicey" Tran, formerly of Prospects, for the tournament, and he was instrumental in shutting down Danny "huynh" Huynh to give Immortals the 2-1 victory. Immortals were clean and impressive, and their semifinal against TSM was sure to be an exciting one.
Team Envy managed to take the first map, Split, off of Sentinels - a sign that maybe North America’s most dominant team was fading - but they ultimately couldn’t close it out. They did make it close though, with 13-7 and 13-10 maps.
The Immortals vs. TSM showdown, however, was not close. James "hazed" Cobb had a massive series, while diceyzx couldn’t get anything going against Matthew "Wardell" Yu. TSM were on to the upper bracket finals.
This matchup of TSM vs. Sentinels was one for the ages, and a preview of what was to come in the grand finals. Buzz after the game called it the best match VALORANT had ever seen. It was back and forth, and incredibly tight, with the final map, Haven, going to overtime.
Wardell, as ever, was the star for TSM, but there were exciting plays throughout. TSM and Sentinels weren’t done, though. We’d see this level of play again.
Meanwhile, in the lower bracket, more upsets were happening. T1 found themselves out of the tournament quickly again after a loss to Gen.G, who then upset the thus-far stellar Team Envy in a 2-0. Immortals, led by Peter "Asuna" Mazuryk and diceyzx, made their own run, beating Cloud9 and Gen.G to bring it to the lower bracket finals against Sentinels. They still couldn’t quite match up to North America’s best, but their new addition has made them a top contender once again.
TSM had a one-map advantage going in to the grand finals due to coming out of the winners bracket. But that wasn’t going to stop Sentinels, and they took Haven 13-8. Hunter "SicK" Mims was playing Phoenix, but Jay "sinatraa" Won and Shahzeeb "ShahZaM" Khan were more impactful on Sova and Jett respectively. ShahZaM in particular played stellar, routinely shutting down Wardell - not an easy feat. Despite Haven being TSM’s pick, Sentinels won it.
We then went to Split, Sentinels’ pick, and it was won by TSM. Sinatraa’s Raze, always so good on Split, couldn’t get going. Hazed turned up massive to TSM. On to map 3.
Ascent was the first time where the map favourite did win, as Sentinels took it 13-7 to make the series 2-2. ShahZaM came out top fragging, but this was classic Sentinels - sinatraa single-handedly shutting down pushes with the Odin and Michael "dapr" Gulino’s Cypher clean as ever. On to one last map.
Bind was incredibly exciting. The first half was very back-and-forth, and the second the same. But Sentinels managed to string a few rounds together, and made it 11-8.
In the 20th round, TSM got the plant down on A site and took down several members of Sentinels. With 2 men left against 4 for TSM, sinatraa and SicK managed to pull off the retake, and SicK defused with 0.03 seconds left. The play left fans shaking, and the series looked over.
But that wasn’t to be the end, as TSM strung four rounds together to bring us to overtime. Then, it was this incredibly clutch recon dart from Taylor "drone" Johnson’s Sova that won TSM their defense, despite ShahZaM’s best efforts with a spray transfer to kill two.
TSM then rolled over Sentinels on attack, and took the win in the FaZe Clan VALORANT Invitational.
Final Standings for the FaZe Clan VALORANT Invitational:
1. TSM - $25,000 2. Sentinels - $15,000 3. Immortals - $7,500 4. Gen.G - $2,500 5-6. Team Envy 5-6. Cloud9 7-8. T1 7-8. FaZe Clan 9-12. Lemonade Stand 9-12. Renegades 9-12. Complexity 9-12. China Nguyen 13-16. Built By Gamers 13-16. Bloom 13-16. MIXUP 13-16. 100 Thieves
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