First Strike Europe: G2, Liquid, FPX, SUMN first four to qualify
Naim "EnKay" Rosinski
11/15/2020, 9:58:38 PM
Qualifer #1 for Valorant’s First Strike event in Europe has finally come to an end. The first four places have been taken. G2 Esports, FunPlus Phoenix (FPX), Team Liquid, and SUMN FC, are the first four teams we will see at the European First Strike event. After a two-day playoff event, G2 and FPX have defeated Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) and Prodigy respectively on the first day. The final day of Qualifier #1 brought us wins from FPX and SUMN against Opportunists and eXiLe eSports respectively. All matches were played out in a best-of-three (BO3) format.
G2 Esports had quite the rollercoaster of emotions these last couple of days. They were initially defeated by Guild Esports at the play-in stage of the qualifier. This win was discredited, however, as Riot looked into the matter and stated that Guild used an illegal boost during the match versus G2. This has led to G2 qualifying for the playoffs in the very end.
At the playoffs, G2 Esports put NiP in their place once more. After a disappointing performance by Óscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho at the match against Guild the day before, he was red hot against the Ninjas. A great effort by Saif “Sayf” Jibraeel on the Raze, and Emir “rhyme” Muminovic on Sova took NiP very close, yet it just was not good enough. G2 overcame NiP 13:9 on Ascent, and 13:10 on Haven.
The second match took us to Ascent once more as Team Liquid took on Prodigy. Team Liquid being the obvious favorites, did not disappoint, as they took Ascent 13:11, despite Prodigies’ good run on defense. Split saw a dominant Team Liquid emerge as Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom replicated his performance on Jett as the top fragger to get his team into First Strike with a dominant 13:5 scoreline on Split.
FunPlus Phoenix faced the only unsigned roster that has gotten this far into the qualifier, Opportunists. Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow’s FPX had a rough start to the first map, Haven, getting themselves into a sticky 0:5 situation. They turned things around swiftly, to somehow take the half 7:5 instead. The rest was history as they took Haven 13:8 in the very end. FPX carried over the mojo to the second map, Bind, where they won the half 8:4. A fantastic fragathon by Pontus “Zyppan” Eek on Raze propelled his side to take the map 13:7, taking the whole series.
The final match of Qualifer #1 for First Strike saw SUMN FC take on eXiLe eSports. The extremely even first half was played out on Haven, where we saw an even 6:6 at the half. Things changed on SUMN’s defense side, however, as they woke up and managed to take Haven 13:9 in the very end. The second map, Split, saw eXiLe eSports take the half on defense with a slight lead, 7:5. This turned around, as SUMN’s defense came out to be even stronger. Their opponents simply could not break through to the bombsites, leading to SUMN blowing out the attackers and taking the second map in the BO3 with a 13:10 win.
Though the aformentioned teams that lost in the play-in were knocked out, they have a second chance. Qualifier #2 gives everyone (Immortal+) a chance at First Strike. The last four places will be up-for-grabs for the best teams that manage to survive the harsh initial best-of-one qualifiers. The first stage of Europe’s Qualifier #2 kicks off on November 16.
Naim "EnKay" Rosinski
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