Written By PeeKay - 2021-12-11
Grab your drinks and popcorn, because VCT 2021 - VALORANT Champions 2021 weekend starts off with two semi-finals on Saturday and wraps up with the grand final on Sunday. If you missed out on how the top four teams in the world, Acend, Team Liquid, Gambit Esports, and KRÜ Esports got here, check out our Day 9 recap, which tells you all you need to know about the quarterfinal results. It’s now time for Day 10, where these names will fight it out against each other to make it to the finals of the biggest VALORANT event yet.
The first match of the day is between two European giants, Acend and Team Liquid. Both teams have had a good showing at Champions, having dropped just one map each in their three matches played so far.
The former have had a slightly more favorable draw so far, beating Brazilian squad Vivo Keyd and North Americans Envy in the group stage and then surprise entry Team Secret with ease to make their way here. The Santeri "BONECOLD" Sassi led squad did rely heavily on their duo of star players, Mehmet Yağız "cNed" İpek and Aleksander "zeek" Zygmunt, to find the success they did, and will need them both to come online yet again if they are to overcome their opponents.
Team Liquid, on the other hand, have had one of the more difficult run-ins in the tournament, facing opposite semi-finalists KRÜ Esports in their opening match and then North American trophy hopefuls Sentinels, most recently edging out Cloud9 Blue in a hard fought match to make it here. Performances among the side have been a lot more even, with Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom leading the way, but Dom "soulcas" Sulcas and Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom stepping up on more than one occasion.
The matchup is likely to be very close fought for multiple reasons, one of them being how good both Santeri "BONECOLD" Sassi and Travis "L1NK" Mendoza have been at setting up their duelists for success at the tournament. Also important to note is the proficiency of Patryk "starxo" Kopczynski and Dom "soulcas" Sulcas’s proficiency as support fraggers, being able to take the game into their own hands when the main stars are not finding form. In the end, Acend’s reliance on these two stars in cNed and zeek is bound to come back and haunt them, against Team Liquid’s well balanced fragging potential that should give them the edge in this clash.
The European teams have played each other one time at Red Bull Home Ground #2 - Main Event, where Team Liquid got the better of Acend in the grand finals with a close but deserved 3-1 scoreline.
Aleksander "zeek" Zygmunt has caught the eye at Champions for Acend, being the third highest rated player in the tournament with a 1.28 rating and 237 ACS. Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom is the man on everyone’s minds, having put up a 1.11 rating and 242 ACS at the event so far.
Acend and Team Liquid have enjoyed playing Bind and Ascent this event, and it is very likely one of the two is picked in the veto. Breeze and Icebox seem to be the choice of maps for Acend to look for, while Liquid have flirted with Haven so far.
Vladyslav "kiles" Shvets - Cypher, Viper, Killjoy Patryk "starxo" Kopczynski - Skye, Astra, Sage Santeri "BONECOLD" Sassi - Sova, Brimstone, Omen Mehmet Yağız "cNed" İpek - Jett, Sage Aleksander "zeek" Zygmunt - KAY/O, Reyna, Raze
Travis "L1NK" Mendoza - Astra, Breach, Cypher Dom "soulcas" Sulcas - KAY/O, Raze, Sova Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom - Reyna, Jett, Sage Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen - Sova, Astra, Jett Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom - Killjoy, Viper, Sova
The Russian lineup has had arguably the easier opponents up till now, but have struggled at multiple points in the competition. They clearly have issues with consistency, such as in their 6-13 loss on Icebox against Team Secret in the opening match, but then a complete turnaround to win Breeze 13-0 and Bind 13-6. Gambit beat Brazilian stronghold Team Vikings with a 2-1 scoreline, and then followed it up with yet another 2-1 win against Thai squad X10 Crit in the quarter-finals.
KRÜ Esports on the other hand, lost their opening matchup against Team Liquid, but showed great character to bounce back and beat fellow South Americans FURIA 2-1, and won the group decider against Sentinels 2-1 to send them out of the competition. Many viewed that as a shock result, but the Latin Americans weren’t done yet, edging out high-flying Fnatic 2-1 to find themselves in the semi-finals.
After how KRÜ Esports have performed so far, it is unfair to call them underdogs in this matchup. Furthermore, Gambit have shown that they have weaknesses on certain maps, and winning the map veto will be crucial to the Latin Americans’ success here. That being said, Gambit are the best team in the world on their day and hold a much higher ceiling than KRÜ, as seen at Masters Berlin, and should be taking the win in this hard fought series.
Both teams attended Masters Berlin and qualified for the playoffs, but did not play each other as KRÜ Esports were knocked out at 5th-8th spot. The teams have thus not faced off against one another yet and it will be exciting to see how they perform on the big stage.
Timofey "Chronicle" Khromov has topped the charts for Gambit Esports so far, holding a 1.16 rating and 238 ACS. Angelo "Keznit" Mori has been stellar at Champions, being the sixth highest rated player at the event with a 1.18 rating and 245 ACS.
Gambit Esports have had great performances on Breeze and Split so far and will look to pick them up. This will be interesting to see against KRÜ’s Split, which has also looked really good, alongside the Latin Americans’ successes on Haven.
Ayaz "nAts" Akhmetshin - Cypher, Killjoy, Viper Nikita "d3ffo" Sudakov - Jett, Raze Timofey "Chronicle" Khromov - Sova, Brimstone, Killjoy Bogdan "sheydos" Naumov - Skye, Reyna, Breach Igor "Redgar" Vlasov - Astra, Breach, Sova
Juan Pablo "NagZet" Lopez - Jett, Sage Roberto "Mazino" Rivas - Skye, Sova, Cypher Nicolas "Klaus" Ferrari - Viper, Killjoy, Sova Joaquín "delz1k" Espinoza - Astra, Sage, Brimstone Angelo "Keznit" Mori - Raze, Reyna, Breach
The semi-finals will be broadcasted on the official VALORANT stream.
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