G2 Win The BLAST Twitch Invitational
The BLAST Twitch Invitational was the latest stop on the European leg of the Ignition Series and it did not disappoint. With four of the best teams in Europe competing in a double- elimination bracket where every match was a best of three, apart from the best of five final, we got some incredible action and some of the best matches we have seen yet.
G2 Esports, FunPlus Phoenix, Team Liquid and Ninjas in Pyjamas were the four teams invited to the competition, with the BLAST team bringing in some top-level talent and its usual high-quality production to make this event a real treat.
One again we saw G2 Esports in the final this time facing FunPlus Phoenix who they last met in the semi-finals of the LVL Clash 2, and this time out FPX had an even better showing. We finally got to see a final where G2 were pushed to their limits, in what is perhaps the best grand final we have seen in Europe so far.
The Big Stories
G2 win the BLAST Twitch Invitational, but FPX push them all the way
The final of the BLAST Twitch Invitational was one of the best matches we have seen in all of European Valorant, with FunPlus Phoenix finally giving G2 a real challenge in a best of five. G2 entered with a map advantage due to coming through the upper bracket, but FPX quickly evened this up taking G2’s pick of Ascent 13-7. G2 then returned the favour, taking FPX’s pick of Bind in a dominant 13-4 performance, before FPX evened it up again on Haven with a 13-6 win. This set up a big final map on Split. G2 edged the first half 7-5, but FPX then quickly evened it up in the early rounds of the second half, and this was the theme for the next few rounds, with FPX running up to 10 rounds pretty quickly. But G2 then came back to even it up at 10-10, showing how close these two teams are. G2 was the first to go to match point, with a 12-11 scoreline and FPX unable to fully buy. Unsurprisingly G2 easily won this crucial round, to claim another Ignition Series win. FPX will surely be disappointed losing in such a close final, especially with G2 coming in with a map advantage, but this performance showed that they are more than capable of beating any team in Europe, and sooner or later they will likely take a big win off G2.
Team Liquid go for a no smokes lineup
One of the most interesting parts of the BLAST Twitch Invitational was seeing how the top players in Europe would deal with the massive gameplay changes that launched in patch 1.09. As expected, Sage was barely picked, while Breach became a very common agent thanks to the buffs he received.
Most of the teams seemed to have pretty similar thoughts on where the agent meta was and played pretty similar compositions, but Team Liquid was the obvious outliers, as they did not run a traditional smoke agent. Ever since the first days of the beta, we have seen teams always pick an agent with a good smoke ability, such as Brimstone or Omen, but Liquid didn’t use either of them in this event, instead only having the Jett with any kind of smoke ability. Obviously, third place was not what they wanted, but it seems they may be on to something with the no smoke strategy, as they did have a good showing against FunPlus Phoenix in the consolidation final. With a little more practise with the lineup they could be the pioneers of the next big Valorant strategy.
MVP - Patryk "paTiTek" Fabrowski
Patryk "paTiTek" Fabrowski is the G2 member who sometimes flies under the radar and doesn’t always post the craziest stats throughout tournaments, but when you sit and watch how G2 play it becomes clear that he is one of the most important parts of the team. This weekend at the BLAST Twitch Invitational he was instrumental in G2’s win, not only putting up massive numbers, including a massive 1.26 K/D, but also being the key to many of G2’s executes. As the Omen player, he was in charge of giving the team cover where needed and flawlessly executed the task every time. Add in some incredibly clutch Paranoia’s and you can see why he was so instrumental in this win. He may not come up with too many of the big highlight plays that his teammates do, but that doesn’t make his performance any less impressive.
Top Five Players Of The Tournament
Ardis "ardiis" Svarenieks
Team: G2 Esports
Position: 1st Main
At this point, we know how good ardiis is. The man is yet to lose a best of three or best of five in his entire Valorant career and is constantly at the top of the leaderboard when it comes to kills. This weekend it was no different, but the most impressive part of his play was the improvement on his Raze play when on Split. He’s never been a poor Raze player, but this event he stepped up his game, making it impossible for FPX, who he played twice on the map, to hold any angles and feel safe anywhere on the map. He could easily have taken MVP honours yet again.
Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow
Team: FunPlus Phoenix
ANGE1 is almost single-handedly disproving the myth that once you hit your 30s your ration times are gone and your time as a pro player is coming to an end. When it comes to pure aim there is almost no one else on his level, with a ridiculous 30% headshot percentage this tournament and some big plays in clutch moments.
Johan "Meddo" Renbjörk Lundborg
Team: FunPlus Phoenix
Main Agent: Cypher
If you want a player in a clutch situation the only real choice this past weekend was Meddo. He may not have had the best stats or been the most consistent player, but when he was the last one alive on his team the round was never over, regardless of how many opponents were still alive. He won the most clutches in the entire tournament, and some of them were frankly ridiculous, choosing which clip to include here was incredibly difficult.
Pontus "Zyppan" Eek
Team: FunPlus Phoenix
Main Agent: Raze
The trio of Zyppan, Meddo and ANGE1 on FunPlus Phoenix has to be one of the scariest in all of Valorant. Practically no other team has players with this much firepower, and when they are on form there is simply no stopping them. As we saw so many times this weekend, if you take down one of them then another will no doubt take you down next, giving you almost no chance to win the round. When the team was formed it was clear this was a super team, and after just two tournaments they have shown why people thought that.
Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom
Team: Team Liquid
Main Agent: Reyna
Team Liquid may not be performing at quite the level they expect, but it is clear the pieces are there for them to become the best team in Europe at some point. There are clearly some very smart minds on the team, but when it comes to pure fragging ability ScreaM is at the very top, and he showed it with some incredible Reyna plays this weekend. The clip above might not work out entirely for him, but to even have the forethought to go for it shows just how good ScreaM is when it comes to playing the agent.
The Best Play Of The BLAST Twitch Invitational
The round that cost Liquid a shot at the final will go down as one of the most tilting rounds in Valorant history. With a big 10-5 lead over FunPlus Phoenix on Bind, Liquid seemed to have the map wrapped up to force it to game three for a spot in the final. But then, while FPX were on an eco and Liquid had a full buy this happened, and the match was basically over from that point. With just two players, both with a Sheriff, against all five Liquid players with rifles and the spike planted this seemed like an impossible round for FPX to win, but then the headshots started rolling in, and they kept coming, eventually turning this to a round win for FPX and signalling the end for Team Liquid. FPX ended up taking the map 13-11 to advance to the final.
The Ignition Series is coming to its final stages, but there is still some action left to come around the globe, with the Oceanic teams giving us the next lot of action in the Rise of Valour tournament next weekend.