Pulse Invitational Recap

written by Germanicus - July 13, 2020
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This last weekend saw the Pulse Invitational, North America’s biggest tournament since the T1 x NSG Showdown and an official partner of THESPIKE.GG. It featured many tier 1 professional squads, notable smaller organizations, and some strong amateur competition, all for a good cause, the United Way of New York City charity. And by the time it was over, power rankings were completely up in the air as we got upset after upset. At the very end, playing some of the best VALORANT they had since the beta, Gen.G Esports were the champions.

Group Stage

The groups took place over 6 hours on Friday, July 10th, with two groups running at a time. In Group A, TSM FTX won the group as expected, but the real surprise was Charlotte Phoenix, who beat the other two teams in the group, Spectral and Echo 8, and challenged TSM for a while before they began running away with it on Split.

Group B saw a massive upset in the first broadcasted game of the day, as Built By Gamers beat Immortals. As is usual for Code7, Rob "rob-wiz" Kennedy led the way on Jett. A big innovation was Code7’s repeated use of Stingers to surprise Immortals, which worked for a while. Immortals brought it to overtime, but Code7 completed the upset in the final round. Each of those teams then won the rest of their games to advance, unfortunately, Way 2 French did not show up as the underdogs people thought they could be, and finished the group stage in third.

Group C went about as was predicted, with Gen.G advancing in first along with Cloud9 in second. Group D, however, was exciting. After predictable victories by Sentinels overEnvy and T1 Academy overOrbit, T1 Academy upset Sentinels in a crazy overtime game on Bind. Noah "rara" Giesbrecht and Daniel "eeiu" Vucenovic were highlighted as particularly good performers for T1 Academy. However, the group ended with Sentinels, Together We Are Terrific, and T1 Academy all at 2-1. Due to map differential, Sentinels advanced in first place, with Together We Are Terrific in second.


One team turned it on right away coming into playoffs: Cloud9. Led by their star Jett player Tyson "TenZ" Ngo , they upset the tournament favourites TSM 2-1. One particularly interesting thing was Cloud9’s, and particularly TenZ’s, use of the Judge shotgun. TenZ favoured it in a lot of situations, sometimes even over assault rifles, and TSM weren’t prepared. The favourites had been knocked out early.

Together We Are Terrific and Gen.G both predictably beat their opponents, Code7 and Charlotte Phoenix, but the final match of the night was one for the ages. Sentinels and Immortals went down to the wire, with two 13-12 overtime matches each going the way of Sentinels. This series could not have gotten any closer. These are two incredibly evenly matched teams, and a rivalry to watch for in the future.

Cloud9 looked just as good in the semifinals as they beat Together We Are Terrific quite easily, with TenZ again leading the way. His performances in C9’s run to the finals made him THESPIKE.GG’s tournament MVP. But Gen.G also turned on the afterburners come semis, with their 2-1 upset win over Sentinels. This series was also very close, with the first map going to overtime, but in the end, it was a Cloud9 vs. Gen.G finals. A rematch from Group C, and something no one was expecting.


The finals went similarly to the group stage play, as Gen.G solidly defeated Cloud9 to take the title. C9’s Judge strategies proved to be increasingly ineffective. All of Gen.G played very well, but one particular top performer was their ever-consistent OPer, Danny "HUYNH" Huynh. He continually made spaces for his team and found picks, particularly on the second map, Ascent. Anthony "gMd" Guimond often leads the way for Gen.G, and it was no different in the finals, as he top fragged throughout the series and consistently found opening picks while rushing in. In the end, Gen.G won Bind 13-8 and Ascent 13-7 to be crowned the Pulse Invitational champions.

Final Standings for the Pulse Invitational:

  1. Gen.G - $6,000
    1. Cloud9 - $3,000
      1. Sentinels - $1,000
        1. Together We Are Terrific 5-8. TSM 5-8. Immortals 5-8. Code7 5-8. Charlotte Phoenix 9-12. T1 Academy 9-12. Way 2 French 9-12. Triumph 9-12. Echo 8 13-16. Oxygen Supremacy 13-16. Spectral 13-16. Lazarus 13-16. Orbit


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