Thursday, September 29, 2022

Cohesion, confidence helps NRG send Evil Geniuses home from NA VCT Last Chance Qualifier

The North American VCT Last Chance Qualifier continued tonight with the second elimination match of the tournament. NRG and Evil Geniuses faced off for their last chance to stay in contention for 2022 VCT Champions.

Both teams have had their strong and weak points in the VALORANT season, but tonight NRG won the match and sent EG home for the year with a 2-0 scoreline.

Coming into the LCQ tournament, NRG has looked like a stronger version of themselves. The players attended a VALORANT bootcamp between Stage Two and the LCQ that has undoubtedly contributed to better team cohesion and confidence.

EG have been one of the surprise teams in the region this year, getting fantastic results as far back as Stage One. Though they haven’t shown this same spark recently, fans know that the team’s ceiling is high and the potential to go far in this LCQ bracket was very real. Their first game against FaZe went the distance and resulted in a heartbreaking trip to the lower bracket.

EG chose to bring the teams onto Bind for their first map pick.

The two teams had different compositional approaches, most notably NRG opting not to play Chamber. This comes as a surprise because tex has proven himself time and time again on the agent. Instead, he locked in Sage.

Despite this change, tex still reliably fragged for his team throughout much of the first map and came up in clutch scenarios just as they needed him to. Since Ethan was playing Skye, it took some of the burden of solo healing teammates off of tex.

The first half of Bind was as even as you can get, with neither team getting more than two rounds in a row for themselves.

Moving into the second half, NRG started to build themselves an advantage and emerge as the superior team. The team looked renewed, all members having positive KDAs, working together to string together utility with site pushes. EG were struggling to find first bloods and giving up sites easily. When they tried to retake a site, NRG read them like a book.

EG completely fell apart on their defensive side, not getting a single round, and NRG took Bind 13–6.

The two teams entered Icebox with mirrored compositions, setting up duels across the board.

NRG continued their dominance, making the EG roster look like a shadow of their previous form on this map. NRG combined utility from different agents, executed unexpected pushes, and took space flawlessly on attack.

Things looked dim for EG until round 8, where they started to scrape rounds together. The half ended with NRG still up, but by a narrow margin of 7–5.

EG seemed to continue to find their footing, taking another of their signature pistol rounds and the round after to even the scoreline, but NRG came back with five rounds in a row to put themselves on match point. EG kept fighting and eventually the teams would go to overtime to decide Icebox.

Pulling things together, NRG put together two excellent overtime rounds to secure them the map 14–12 and the series, 2–0.

Overall this game was both a masterpiece from NRG and a disappointment from EG, though they didn’t give up. The utility usage and teamwork that NRG displayed showed clear improvement up and down the entire roster. Though EG fought their way back on Icebox, NRG showed up this game and weren’t going to get taken down.

NRG continues their bracket run with an elimination match against Cloud9 on Aug. 11.

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