VCT Champions Day 5: Cloud9 Blue and Team Secret sweep wins, KRU Esports edge out FURIA
While day 4 of VCT 2021 - VALORANT Champions 2021 was full of winners matches and playoffs qualification, today was marred by elimination matches and heartbreak. Team Secret, KRÜ Esports, and Cloud9 were able to pick up wins on day 5 and stay in the tournament by the skin of their teeth.
The first map took us to Split, and even despite it being Crazy Raccoon’s pick, they found themselves behind very quickly in the half. The Japanese were able to grab a round here and there, but considering the fact that they only planted the bomb once that half, they were well behind at 4-8. If there was an opportunity to make a comeback it would be through the favored defender side, but Jim "BORKUM" Timbreza and Riley "witz" Go were absolutely dominant even on the attack and quickly helped seal the map 13-5.
The second match of the day was the clash of two rival and highly competitive South American teams, FURIA and KRÜ Esports. It is always difficult to pick a favorite between these two sides, and the series did indeed go the distance to all three maps.
Fracture was the starting map of the clash, KRU picking it and FURIA choosing to play on the defense. Rounds were as tight as they could be and neither team were able to build a streak of rounds together, and the half was closed out in style by Angelo "Keznit" Mori at 6-6.
The Brazilians flew right out of the gates in the second half, winning four out of the first five rounds of their attacking half. KRU heroically answered back with four of their own to make it 11-10, but in the late game when the stakes were high, Gabriel "qck" Lima and FURIA stepped up and took the map 13-11.
The next map up was Ascent, and considering it was FURIA’s pick you’d expect them to win it. They did start really well, winning the first four without breaking a sweat. But a switch in tactics from KRU completely flipped the tables, and they won every single round left in the half dominantly to lead 8-4.
The Latin Americans continued to impress on their attacking side, with Angelo "Keznit" Mori ever so impactful with Reyna during site takes. The Brazilians put up some heavy resistance on rifle rounds, but ultimately KRU had the right reads and confidence to take the map 13-8.
The cherry on the top of this match was Haven, the last map with FURIA starting on the attacker side. Again, there was no separating these teams, but the man to make a true difference was Nicolas "Klaus" Ferrari, who time and time again provided the extra firepower KRU needed to take a narrow 7-5 lead at the half.
It was going to be the last half of VALORANT at Champions for one of these teams, and both sides were certainly up for it. Both Jett mains were having strong impact, with Alexandre "xand" Zizi holding A strong with the OP while Juan Pablo "NagZet" Lopez was irreplaceable at the entry role. A back and forth battle ensued, with teams stealing away momentum from each other constantly. In the end, KRU Esports’ unpredictable A and C side hits were too much for the Brazilians to handle, and they fell 13-9 after a failed retake.
The final elimination match of the day brought together North America’s Cloud9 and Thailand’s FULL SENSE. There was no hiding from the fact that the Thai squad came into the matchup as underdogs, but they put up a decent fight before ultimately falling out 2-0.
The match kicked off on Split, FULL SENSE’s pick, and was an extremely raw and brawly game throughout. The Thai team started out strongly, winning the pistol and the following round, but after the economy was built up for Cloud9, there was no breaking their defense. The North Americans rallied behind Nathan "leaf" Orf, who led them to a commanding 9-3 lead.
FULL SENSE pulled out their defensive stratbook in the second half, with every player contributing to hold Cloud9 back. On the back of some impressive retakes, they were able to make their way to 11-7, but in the end the North Americans relied on their aim to bring home the map 13-7.
Things looked really scary for FULL SENSE, knowing that Cloud9 Blue had a whopping 90% win rate on their map pick of Breeze. But that didn’t seem to bother the Thai team, as they raced to a 4-1 lead with Kititkawin "PTC" Rattanasukol hitting some stunning OP shots through his defender-sided aggression. Cloud9 finally started reading their opposition better and took good advantage of their A side and Halls weaknesses, and grabbed a few rounds to end the half 6-6.
The second half started with both teams trading blows and everyone on the server was absolutely zoned in. FULL SENSE struggled on their B-site hits and Cloud9 prospered, but once they started leaning towards A, the Thai team shocked vanity and co. time and time again. Even despite the heroics of youngsters leaf and xeta, the set pieces of the attacker side were picture perfect. At 11-12 however, when Cloud9 were at the face of elimination, their stars stepped up and finally resisted the attack and took us to overtime.
The North Americans were looking fired up in overtime. After securing the attacker side round with ease, they executed a full retake on their defender side and took the series with a cheeky defuse.
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