The 2023 Esports Collegiate Conference (ESC) VALORANT Champion has been crowned. Check out all the results from a thrilling championship week!
Over the weekend of Dec. 2 through Dec. 3, four teams met in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, each looking to be crowned the 2023 Esports Collegiate Conference (ESC) VALORANT Champions. Hosted by Central Michigan University, the ESC VALORANT Championship sponsored by Nelnet Bank (Member FDIC) kicked off with two Semi-final matches on Saturday and were followed by the Finals on Sunday.
This event was supported by Nelnet Bank: "Nelnet Bank (Member FDIC) is thrilled to be supporting the ESC Fall regular and postseason this year and looks forward to watching the action play out. Nelnet Bank knows the collegiate esports community works tirelessly to bring opportunities to students as they develop and prepare for their futures. The team at Nelnet Bank wishes the teams, players, and everyone else the best of luck in this tournament."
In this Championship review we will walk back through all the matches that took place at the LAN. With all of those matches leading up to the crowning of this year's Esports Collegiate Conference VALORANT Champion.
2023 ESC VALORANT Championship: Semifinals
#1 Ball State (14-0) vs. #5 Akron (10-4) (Saturday, Dec. 2nd)
Map 1 (Lotus) : BSU Ian's 3k shuts down Akron's hope for the first map
In a close 13-10 Lotus map, the undefeated Ball State Cardinals started the series off with a map win against the Akron Zips. After a back and forth first half, Ball State was able to piece together some defensive rounds in the second half that inevitably gave them the advantage at the end. An Akron 3k from Henry "vorcez" Croft put the Zips in reaching distance at 10-12. However, Ian "epicgamerdudeian" Pendergraft responded with his own 3k at the start of round 23 to put map one away.
Map 2 (Ascent) : The bird's bonus rounds takeover the first half
Ball State continued to fly high into Map 2 on the defensive side. After winning the first two rounds, Ball State entered their bonus round and never looked back. Winning the next five rounds on their bonus weapons set up the Cardinals with tons of spare money and a 7-0 lead to start Map 2. A 10-2 half put the Cardinals in a great position to win Ascent on the offensive. Six rounds later the Cardinals clinched Map 2 with a score of 13-5.
Map 3 (Bind) : Cardinals clinch second ESC finals appearance for the Fall semester
After a back forth first half like the first map, Ball State began to piece some rounds together on offense. Once the lead was taken the Cardinals never looked back. Ball State secured their second ESC Finals appearance for the semester after winning Bind 13-8. Continuing their undefeated season, the Cardinals now looked to face either the Northeastern Huskies or the Kent State Golden Flashes for the ESC Trophy.
#2 Northeastern (12-2) vs. #3 Kent State (12-2) (Saturday Dec. 2nd)
Map 1 (Sunset) : Another 13-10 map one thriller in the Semifinals
After a 9-3 defensive half from the Northeastern Huskies, Kent State had to try and climb their way back on defense. However, Northeastern Cypher Xingtian "Darm" Ma helped lockdown the first map win for the Huskies. Going 26/16/6 for the map, Darm put on a tremendous performance to start of the day strong with his teammates.
Map 2 (Split) : The Huskies tear apart the Golden Flashes
Momentum gained from the first map heavily carried over onto the next for the Northeastern Huskies. Darm continued his dominance on Split alongside teammate Caden "Orca" Weaver. A 11-1 first half by the Huskies showed that they were serious about reaching the finals and seeking revenge on Ball State. Orca delivered a 16/2/1 first half performance and Darm ended map 2 with a kda of 23/11/2. Split went in favor of the Huskies with a map score of 13-3.
Map 3 (Ascent) : Huskies firing on all cylinders seals Northeastern's Finals appearance
The dynamic duo of Orca and Darm continued into map three on Ascent. With a final kda of 22/11/3, Orca put on a masterful performance on the Jett. All Northeastern players finished in double digit kills and four of the five had above 200 average combat score. Ascent ended 13-5 with Northeastern taking the series from Kent State and sending the Huskies into the 2023 ESC VALORANT Championship Final against Ball State on Sunday.
2023 ESC VALORANT Championship: Final
#1 Ball State (15-0) vs. #2 Northeastern (13-2)
Map 1 (Haven) : The undefeated Cardinals stumble in map one
The rounds went back and forth on Haven. With a 6-6 half on the defensive side, it was now up to the Cardinals to take advantage on the offensive in the second half. However, Northeastern had other plans. Orca and Darm continued their dominant play from the day before in the Semifinals. On defense they were able to shut down Ball State's aggression and take map one 13-10. Orca and Darm both ended the map with 20+ kills and 260+ average combat score.
Map 2 (Lotus) : A clutch 1v2 sets up Northeastern in the first half
Northeastern take the first two rounds of Lotus but Ball State quickly responded with two of their own. In round five a massive fight on B site put Northeastern player Nathaniel "Bignatex" Silverman up against Ball State players Andrew "ch0ku" Cho and Ian "epicgamerdudeian" Pendergraft. Bignatex was able to clutch up the round as Ball State tried to stick the defuse and gave econ advantage over to Northeastern. After that round Northeastern made a massive five round run and ended the half up 9-3. Ball State tried all they could on the offensive in the second half but Northeastern was able to hold strong and take map two 13-6.
Map 3 (Split) : DARM doing HARM
With a reverse sweep as the only option for Ball State to win the championship and protect their undefeated season, the pressure was on. Northeastern could taste victory as they headed into map three on Split. An 8-1 start to the map for the Northeastern Huskies sealed the fate for Ball State. Darm put on a show to end the series having 19 kills at the half and ending the series with a kda of 24/14/8. In sweeping fashion the Northeastern Huskies became the 2023 ESC VALORANT Champions.
The Northeastern Huskies defied all odds heading into the LAN by having senior IGL Alec "snow" Rodriquez missing out for the Semifinal and Finals. Through excellent shot calling and teamwork Northeastern University were able to take down to dominant rosters in Kent State and Ball State. For Ball State this put an end to their undefeated season and was the second time an undefeated Ball State roster lost in the Finals of the ESC this year. With this championship win, Northeastern secures their fourth ESC trophy and their first VALORANT trophy since the founding of the conference in 2020. Now only one trophy away from tying Akron University with five, Northeastern has a chance to grab two more in the Spring in Overwatch 2 and League of Legends.
The Esports Collegiate Conference continues in the Spring with Overwatch 2 and League of Legends.
Stay tuned to esports.gg for more ESC esports news and updates.