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VCT Champions Day 8: Team Liquid and Acend grab wins, advance to semifinals

Written By    PeeKay  -  share on

The inaugural day of playoffs at VCT 2021 - VALORANT Champions 2021 saw Acend pick up a clean victory over Team Secret, while Team Liquid narrowly edged out last North American hope Cloud9 to move into the semifinals.

VALORANT Champions 2021
Best of 3
December 8, 2021 - 18:00
  • 13
  • 13
Team SecretAgentsRatingACSK/DKDAADR

For a tie that many expected to be close-fought considering the strong form both teams came into the match with, Team Secret fell completely flat and got comfortably swept 2-0 by Acend.

The clash began on Team Secret map pick of Icebox, which they had played twice already at Champions and won both times. The Filipino squad were hoping they could continue that run against the Europeans, but things went sour very quickly. The pistol round started with an unlikely clutch by Santeri "BONECOLD" Sassi, who was playing Sova today instead of his usual controller picks, and was still just a fraction of the impact the Finn had on the series. Acend continued the momentum from that win to take a 5-0 lead, but Team Secret answered back with a number of great retakes, and made a case for themselves as the half ended 8-4.

The Filipino team lost the second pistol on the map and the round after, putting the score of 10-4 strongly in the favor of the Europeans. But Jim "BORKUM" Timbreza was not one to give up so easily, winning a round on the back of his 4k and then catapulting the team to another couple of rounds. But the Acend defense held strong, and even though Team Secret made it difficult, the Europeans moved onto match point and took the map 13-8 soon after.

Confidence is key at large international events like Champions, and Acend clearly oozed confidence on Breeze. The Europeans won their third pistol of the match and flew forward to a 5-0 advantage, and Team Secret were certainly feeling a sense of deja vu from Icebox. They answered back quickly with two rounds of their own, but could not build their economy and so were constantly getting pegged back by Acend, ending the half at 8-4.

The second half of Breeze began frustratingly for Team Secret, as they lost yet another pistol round, to make it four out of four pistol rounds lost this series by the Filipinos. Team Secret did grab a rifle round thanks to a fantastic B site hold by Kevin "Dispenser" Depio Te, but it was too little too late for them. Acend were able to make quick work of Team Secret’s A site defenses and finished out the map 13-6.

Acend now move on to the semifinals of Champions, while Team Secret fall out of the event after a run they will be proud of.

VALORANT Champions 2021
Best of 3
December 8, 2021 - 21:00
  • 13
  • 13
Team LiquidTeam LiquidAgentsRatingACSK/DKDAADR

The Team Liquid vs Cloud9 Blue matchup rounded out the day, and even though the Europeans took the series in a 2-0 fashion, the North Americans put up a fantastic fight and made it a memorable match to watch.

Cloud9 Blue kicked it off on their pick of Bind, where they got off to a flying start with star man Nathan "leaf" Orf getting a stunning ace on the pistol round. leaf kept the good form going, but when it came to the rifle rounds, Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom and co. had Cloud9’s number, stringing a number of rounds together. The teams were as close as they could be at the end of the half, wrapping it up at 6-6.

The defensive side was where Team Liquid really took a hold on the match. Aside from a handful of rounds that Cloud9 won in the half thanks to their firepower from leaf, who went 28-18, Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen had all the right reads and was able to shut down the North Americans time and time again. To add insult to injury, Team Liquid won their 12th round with Travis "L1NK" Mendoza’s Judge outside Hookah finding a 4k, and finished out the map with a ridiculous defuse by Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom, which completely bamboozled Anthony "vanity" Malaspina.

Team Liquid had all the momentum going into their map pick of Ascent but it was Cloud9 Blue to make a statement first, winning the pistol and the following anti-eco. The Europeans answered back with two rifle rounds, and when it was starting to look like they would run away with things, leaf showed up with his second ace of the series to give Cloud9 Blue the round. The rest of the half was a back and forth affair and ended with the North Americans in a slight 7-5 advantage.

Going into the second half, Jampii and co. went deeper into their strat book to claw their way back into an advantage. They managed to pick up the pistol and then two rounds in quick succession, but Cloud9 fought back and grabbed one of their own. But at this point the Liquid members were fully zoned in and on point, and veteran Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom showed off what he could do with Reyna to ply back a bunch of rounds to bring it to match point for the Europeans. Backs against the wall, vanity looked to the B site for answers, and the North Americans found success, bringing the score back to 11-12. They were now one round away from making the comeback, and even managed to get a plant down on A, but Team Liquid were far too good on the retake, defusing the spike in the nick of time to win the map 13-11.

The result marks the end of the run for the last remaining North American team at Champions, as Cloud9 Blue go out and Team Liquid advance to the semifinals where they will face fellow European mix Acend.

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