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Top
Valorant

The Best Plays from VCT Challengers 2 NA Open Qualifiers

Scott Robertson

What makes a great VALORANT play? The criteria for great plays can be exceptionally diverse. Some highlights come completely out of nowhere, while others are calculated. Other highlights show off masterful utility usage, while others are strictly superior gunplay, or sometimes both. Some great plays are huge momentum swings, while others are just nails in the coffin. There were a lot of great plays from the second NA Challengers open qualifier. These plays led to 100 Thieves, Team Envy, Gen.G Esports, and FaZe Clan punching their tickets to the VCT Challengers 2 main event. With the next stage of the VALORANT Champions Tour around the corner, we breakdown a huge play from each of the four teams that just qualified.

VCT Challengers Babybay

Some great plays have been produced only a month into VALORANT Champions Tour (Photo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment)

Sorry in advance, TSM fans. You know what’s coming.

100T – Nitro’s spray transfer leads to round-saving 3K

Daddy’s home, kids. The 100 Thieves VALORANT roster without Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella didn’t look at all like 100 Thieves. They ended up eliminated earlier than anticipated in the open qualifier for the first Challengers event. After celebrating the birth of his child, Nitr0 returned to the lineup, and 100T returned to form. Back to being good, they faced off against Andbox with a VCT Challengers 2 spot on the line.

100T found themselves in control early on Ascent, leading 6-1 on their attacking side. As the eighth round came winding down, Andbox thought they had finally found a lifeline in their second round. They had a 4v2 advantage with the bomb dropped and time winding down, and thought they were safe. They thought wrong, and dad made them pay for it.

With their gaze fixed on the A main entrance where bomb was dropped, nitr0 smokes off the bomb so Hiko can secure it. Then he simply walks through the side door and displays an unreal spray transfer to quickly drop two. This allows Hiko to safely plant, while nitr0 eats two flashes but still gets a third kill on the peeking Phoenix.

100 Thieves love putting the veteran Hiko into clutch scenarios, so nitr0 opts to stay aggressive even with a 2v1 advantage and a plant. He ends up getting killed, but it gives Hiko the info to get a trade and take the round. This gave 100T a 7-1 lead, and broke Andbox’s economy, allowing 100T to go on another run and end the half leading 10-2. Andbox opened the window for nitr0, and he climbed in and took a round his team had no business winning.

Envy – food’s trigger discipline nets him a 4k, resets the RNG economy

Team Envy have found a plethora of success allowing food to play his ultra aggressive style. The former T1 player has thrived in the team-focused environment, emerging as their primary duelist. After unexpectedly falling to XSET in the VCT Challengers 1 closed qualifier, Envy were not to be denied a second time.

After breezing through beastcoast and Spacestation Gaming, Envy found themselves on the opposite side of Renegades. Renegades had a 4-3 lead on map one, Ascent. In the eighth round, Renegades smoked the mid archway and slowly pushed through together. But the typically aggressive food was waiting patiently in the corner, and no one checked him.

Food lets two go through before pulling the trigger, transferring from one enemy to the other. He’s then able to snap onto a third as the smoke dissipates, before flashing through arch to pick up one more. His former ex-T1 teammate crashies cleans up the final kill to net a flawless round to keep Envy’s economy in good standing.

When Hotspawn spoke to in-game leader Pujan “FNS” Mehta during First Strike, he talked about how this was the most team-oriented squad he’s ever led. So much so that crashies is willing to deny his teammate a potential ace just to ensure a flawless round for the squad. “Stole the ace,” Twitch chat? No, secured the round. Envy went on to win the map 13-7 and the series 2-0.

Gen.G – Both koosta clutches to knock off TSM in the final rounds

Team SoloMid and losing qualification series in heartbreaking fashion; name a more iconic duo. Pour one out for poor Myth who sat through the whole ordeal on stream. Now if you’ve seen these clips already, yes, they’re some pretty bad misplays by TSM. But let’s not act like Kenneth “koosta” Suen just trips and falls into two clutches.

The scene is set for fireworks. Map three on Bind, 11-11 score. Most of the attacking TSM roster all jump out of hookah and get two frags on the defending Gen.G players on long B. But their 4v2 advantage only lasts maybe a second, as Shawn comes in from spawn to get two of his own to force a 2v2.

With all of his utility and his ultimate ready, TSM are forced to prioritize Shawn as the immediate threat. This allows koosta to sneak into the site just before Wardell smokes it off. Wardell then jumps onto the box, exposing his head to koosta, who then catches Cutler still switching to his weapon to get the defuse. The next round, koosta is called upon again, and he delivers.

In a 1v2 with no utility and time ticking down, koosta first negates drone’s Run It Back. This allows him to confidently infer that drone is behind the container. With no smoke to cover his entry, he jump peeks to draw out the other enemy and figure out he’s at elbow. Next is the clever part; he runs and guns after jumping out of hookah to muffle his steps and confuse drone. When drone peeks, he’s looking directly under hookah when koosta is actually on top of box. He then jumps off box directly onto the spike because he’s out of time, and hazed can’t pull the spray down before koosta gets the kill.

Yes, koosta gets gifted the kill versus hazed. But that gift is earned after wisely info-gathering the scenario with no utility, then using deception to get the upper hand on the lurking Phoenix. Welcome to VALORANT, koosta. More like that, please. And don’t worry TSM fans, they couldn’t possibly lose another heartbreaker in the third VCT Challengers open qualifier, right?

FaZe Clan – Babybay masters the Jett Op, Marved masters the double teleport flank

If TSM are the kings of heartbreaking losses, then FaZe are the kings of nail-biting wins. Each one of their series victories in their final three qualifying rounds required three maps to close out. Their final series against Built By Gamers was no exception. Each team took a turn taking the other’s map pick, as FaZe won Bind while BBG claimed Ascent. This sent the series to a pivotal third map on Haven.

Late in the game, FaZe was holding on to a narrow 10-8 lead on their attacking side. With FaZe fully bought up and only needing three rounds to close the deal, BBG was desperate for a stop. Robwiz got things started with an Op kill before dashing away to safety, but it all went downhill for BBG in a moment.

Across the map, the lurking corey dropped BBG’s Omen to take away a big chunk of the utility. BABYBAY was also rocking the Jett-Op combo, and was thus able to hold an angle otherwise considered risky. Then came the true work of art; Marved double teleports from short A to boxes to underneath heaven. He completely catches Robwiz with his pants down, and with a 4v2 advantage, BBG have to surrender the round.

This round completely encapsulates what propels FaZe to victory throughout the map. Marved’s aggressive Omen play, BABYBAY’s proficiency with the Jett-Op combo, and Corey’s backbreaking lurking. This same lurk from Corey is what puts the nail in the BBG coffin later when FaZe get their 13th round.

Here’s hoping for more delicious and ingenious highlights to come in the main event of VCT Challengers 2, starting on Saturday, Jan. 20.