In a surprising turn of events, Cloud9 Blue (C9 Blue), shocked the entire NA VALORANT community by defeating both 100 Thieves and Rise in the NA VALORANT Last Chance Qualifiers (LCQ).
While the EMEA, APAC, and SA regions also hosted their LCQ’s, the NA LCQ garnered the most global attention. As the region at the forefront of the international scene, NA is of particular interest to the VALORANT community at large.
The NA LCQ opened on October 12th and pinned the top 8 NA teams against one another in an upper/lower bracket style tournament. After a series of online connectivity and lag issues, the tournament was postponed for two weeks and reopened on October 27th.
NA LCQ Bracket Phase
Following the two week intermission to resolve technical issues, the best of 3 bracket stage continued with C9 Blue in no one’s view as a finals candidate, let alone a winner.
C9 Blue opened with a victory over Version1, one of the prominent teams in the early stages of the VCT. After beating Version1 2-0, the under the radar competitors went on to face one of the top teams in the tournament in Rise. Although proving they were beatable, C9 Blue did fall to Rise 2-1, tumbling into the lower bracket where they faced off against Gen.G Esports.
Coming off of a 2-1 loss to 100 Thieves, the tournament favorites, Gen.G morale was low and C9 Blue managed to edge out a 2-1 victory. This victory put them in opposition to XSET, another tournament favorite. Once again showing their incredible resilience, C9 Blue managed to take down XSET in a 2-0 shutout, putting them in the crosshairs of 100 Thieves: a team that had just come off of a shocking 2-1 loss to Rise.
Many viewers anticipated a 2-0 sweep in favor of 100 Thieves victory to pin the Thieves against Rise in the finals; however, C9 Blue shocked the NA VALORANT community once again in their triumphant 2-1 victory over the NA LCQ favorites.
NA LCQ Finals and VCT NA Lineup
Like most traditional eSports bracket stages, the NA LCQ finals were organized into a best of 5, where the victor would need to secure 3 victories on 3 different maps in order to move on to the VCT. After defeating the #1 team in the bracket, C9 Blue would have to play the only other team to beat 100 Thieves: the up and coming Rise.
Despite having no notable presence in the NA VALORANT scene prior to the LCQ, Rise managed to fight their way to the upper bracket finals with a 2-1 victory in all of their matches. Knowing this, C9 Blue carried the momentum of defeating the 1st and 2nd best teams in the bracket in 100 Thieves and XSET into their finals matchup.
Their initial loss to Rise in the upper bracket semifinals had fans speculating that Rise would dominate the matchup once more; however, C9 Blue put on quite a show decisively winning the matchup 3-0 and securing the final spot in the VCT.
Although dates, times, and formatting are currently TBD for the upcoming VCT, it will take place in Berlin, Germany like Stage 3. C9 Blue will join the ranks of the incredibly decorated Sentinels (VCT Stage 1 and 2 victors) and Envy (VCT Stage 3 Runner-Up) as the third and final NA representative of the tournament.
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