To call the Valorant North American Last Chance Qualifier a mess would be an understatement. The once LAN event was doomed from the start, with Oceania teams unable to compete due to COVID restrictions, players criticising the subpar equipment, and false-positive tests ultimately forcing Riot Games to suspend the offline tournament and move ahead with an online qualifier.
Even as an online event, the LCQ was not without hiccups, however, all the issues are nothing but a footnote for Cloud9 Blue, which had a dominant lower bracket run, ending Rise's Cinderella story with a convincing 3-0 to become the third North American rep at the upcoming Valorant Champions.
The Blue squad was knocked by Rise themselves to the lower bracket after losing in semifinals, going on a tear, putting down Gen.G, XSET, and 100 Thieves on their way to a runback with Rise.
Right from the first map, it was clear something had changed with Cloud9 Blue, as the historic NA org took Breeze with relative ease 13-8, a far cry from their overtime loss the previous time they had faced Rise.
A huge part of their turnaround was Nathan "Leaf" Orf's explosive Jett play, netting him 23 frags and eight of the 10 First Kills Cloud9 Blue accumulated during the first map, which set the tone for the remainder of the series.
With Haven and Ascent of the table, Cloud9 Blue absolutely dismantled Rise on Split with a perfect 13-0 with Erick "Xeppaa" Bach picking up where Leaf left off, as the Jett main had to pick up Skye so his teammate could frag out on the Raze, doing so with 21 kills, just four less than the entire Rise squad.
Despite Bind looking considerably more competitive, the momentum was all on the side of Cloud9 Blue, who didn't miss a beat, locking up their spot for Valorant Champions, joining Sentinels and Envy as the three North American representatives.
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Featured image courtesy of Cloud9.