G2 Win The LVL Clash 2 Tournament
With 16 teams competing in a group stage and playoff bracket across two days, there was more top-quality action than any single person could watch in a single weekend with the LVL Clash 2 tournament. But thanks to some impressive work from the broadcast team we still got to see all of the top action, along with the best highlights, from the tournament on the main stream, and boy was it a good one.
The competition was closer than ever, with the top teams showing how close they really are in skill, and some newer teams showing up to say they deserve a spot in the conversation for the top 10 teams in Europe. North America might claim to have the most competitive scene, but this tournament showed that Europe is right up there with them, even if the end result was the same once again.
The Big Stories
G2 wins its fifth Ignition Series event.
The Ignition Series in Europe has become the G2 Esports show, with the team winning all five of the regular formatted tournaments we have seen. The latest trophy to be added to the cabinet is from the LVL Clash 2, where once again G2 won the tournament without dropping a single map throughout the competition.
This time out they did face tough competition from FunPlus Phoenix, who put up perhaps the best fight we have seen against G2 in quite some time, but even then it was not good enough to take a map off them. The rest of Europe is certainly improving, but G2 continues to do so as well.
Team Liquid, Vodafone Giants and BBL Esports fail to make it out of groups
Over the last few events in the Ignition Series, a few teams have started to make a name for themselves in the European scene. Team Liquid, formerly known as Fish123 of course, have always been classed as a top contender, but the likes of BBL Esports and Vodafone Giants have put in some decent performances recently, firmly placing themselves inside the top 10 teams in Europe, if not higher.
But this past weekend at the LVL Clash 2 all three failed to make it out of the group stage, all going 1-2 and missing out on the second-place spot in their group that would see them advance to the playoff stage of the competition.
Liquid, who were in group B, were out-performed by Skade, an organization that signed the revamped FABRIKEN roster just before the tournament started. Liquid initially took Skade down 13-10 in the opening round of matches, but Skade then beat Prodigy while Liquid lost to BONK to set the two teams up for a rematch to decide who advanced. It was a close match in Bind, but eventually, Skade took the win 13-11, eliminating Liquid earlier than they would have liked.
Over in Group A Vodafone Giants, a team that has put up strong performances against the very top teams in Europe recently, were taken down twice by Rix.GG, which saw them eliminated from the tournament. With 13-9 and 13-6 score lines, both wins were convincing for Rix.GG, who just missed out on topping the group with a 14-12 overtime loss to Ninjas In Pyjamas in the winners match.
The other team we expected more from was BBL Esports, who have proven to be worthy of a top placement in Europe. They were playing with a slightly different roster than usual, but with the core of the team intact and what looked to be an easier group on paper, they were expected to advance. The group was full of dominant victories, but not the ones we might have expected. BBL took down qualified team Angry Titans 13-2 in the opening round, but then lost to FunPlus Phoenix 13-3 in the next round. A rematch against Angry Titans was next up, and amazingly BBL lost 13-3, seeing Angry Titans advance over them.
MVP - Ardis "ardiis" Svarenieks
G2 is pretty unique in the world of Valorant because every one of the players on the roster is capable of putting in an MVP performance at any time and they do not rely on a couple of star players to carry them through. This time out it was ardiis who stepped up and was the standout performer on G2, putting up some insane numbers and always coming up big in every round.
In Valorant consistency is key, and that is where ardiis excelled this past weekend. He didn’t have too many massive moments or big clutches, but every round it appeared he made a big impact. Primarily playing on Sova, with a bit of Raze thrown in when playing on Bind, ardiis always did something useful in every round. Be it finding a couple of big kills, using his utility to help the team, or pulling off some ridiculous shots to turn a seemingly lost round.
Ardiis extrudes confidence, as seen in his very entertaining post-game interviews, and you can see that in the way he plays. He is never scared to take a fight because he knows that more times than not he will come out on top thanks to his incredible mechanical skill. This past weekend was a great performance, but worryingly for other teams, there still seems to be more to come from ardiis, and we can’t wait to see him hit that next level.
Top Five Players Of The Tournament
Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi
Team: G2 Esports
Main Agent: Cypher
Yacine "Yacine" Laghmari
Main Agent: Raze
Main Agent: Omen
LATEKS was one of the players left behind when FABRIKEN disbanded and the star players of the team were signed by FunPlus Phoenix. But not one to give up, LATEKS formed a new roster under the FABRIKEN name, which was picked up by Skade shortly before the tournament started. While the rest of his team were clearly still learning how to play at the very top level, LATEKS but on an impressive show, perhaps trying to prove to FPX that he was worthy of a spot on that roster. He put up good numbers and carried his team a lot of the time, so with a bit more time together Sakde could become a top team in Europe.
Pontus "Zyppan" Eek
Team: FunPlus Phoenix
Main Agent: Raze
Johan "Meddo" Renbjörk Lundborg
Team: FunPlus Phoenix
Main Agent: Cypher
When it comes to looking at the top players from a tournament there is usually one standout performer from a team, but this weekend two FunPlus Phoenix players put on impressive performances. Zyppan and Meddo were simply on another level at the LVL Clash 2, putting up some ridiculous numbers between the two of them and dominating a lot of the players who tried to go up against them. They may have only taken 3rd/4th place and lost to G2 2-0, but they were the team who put up the best fight against the best team in Europe, and without a doubt established themselves as the second-best team in Europe. With a bit more time together there is a very good chance that FPX could be the ones to finally take down G2.
The Best Play Of The LVL Clash 2
The LVL Clash 2 was the first time we got to see Killjoy in competitive play in Europe at the very top level, and while some teams avoided her, others decided to give her a go, with mixed results. However, there was one player who clearly had spent a lot of time on Killjoy already, and that was Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi from G2.
In this ridiculous Killjoy play, he plants his two Nano Swarms in Hell on the A site on Ascent, then leaves the site mid-way through the round. This puts G2 into a retake situation, but the Nano Swarms make this the easiest retake of their life, as four players are caught in pyth’s swarms, giving him four easy kills to turn the round in his favour.
With utility like this, you can expect to see a lot more of Killjoy in future tournaments, and you can be sure that players will no longer be hiding in Hell as often as they did previously after this.
The Ignition Series is starting to reach its final stages, with all of the North American tournaments now wrapped up. Europe still has some action still to come, as do other regions, and information on these events will be announced soon.