This is the first VALORANT tournament in North America to use a pick and ban system. Cloud9 came in clutch in the end.

North American side Cloud9 has won its first VALORANT event of the year after taking down NRG in the grand-finals of the Knights Arena VALORAMPAGE tournament. While C9 was expected to take home the trophy, this tournament provided a lot of interesting stories to take into VCT.

One of the major talking points being this was the first event to introduce a pick and ban phase. This introduction led to teams playing maps different based on the agents that were left available.

Here is how Cloud9 took down NRG Esports to win the Knights Arena VALORAMPAGE tournament.

Cloud9 dominates NRG on Icebox

Despite C9 being the favorites, NRG was expected to put up a good fight in this opening map. This sadly was not the case on map one Icebox. With Jett not in the equation, both sides turned to Chamber as the duelists alternative. The Chamber pick up seemed to be a non-factor on this map as Cloud9 dominated the first half.

The Champs quarter-finalists only dropped one round in the first half, meaning NRG would have to match C9’s score to even have a chance of taking the map. This was not the case, however, as C9 were fast out the blocks and picked up the opening two rounds.

NRG edges out Cloud9 in overtime to tie up series

NRG finally showed some life by taking down Cloud9 on a 14-12 thriller on Bind. This is one of Cloud9’s least picked maps in recent time and it showed. NRG stormed out to an early lead, taking the first four rounds and leaving Cloud9 with everything to do to salvage the half.

C9 did just that, clawing their way back to 6-6. Despite their best efforts, Cloud9 could simply not put NRG away and the half again ended with six rounds apiece. NRG were able to take the map with a 2-0 victory in OT to force a third and final map.

NRG suffered the 9-3 curse and Cloud9 went flawless in the second half of VALORAMPAGE

The dreaded 9-3 curse lives on in competitive Valorant for 2022. Despite an incredible showing by NRG in the opening half, Cloud9 turned on the afterburners and showed why they are a world-class team. NRG started the final game of the VALORAMPAGE final in a strong way, limiting the amount of kills C9 were getting and destroying their economy from the get-go.

With NRG up 7-0 as the second half loomed, Cloud9 were on the verge of an embarrassing defeat. Although NRG is a solid team and will cause some damage this year, this C9 roster is unchanged and has been contesting the best teams in the world over recent weeks. There was simply no reason for C9 to be losing this tournament.

C9 saved their tournament in the last four rounds, securing three crucial points and at least giving them a chance. This was when it was men against boys as Cloud9 did not drop a single round in the second half. With Jett out of the picture, it was extremely hard for both teams to comfortably play the offensive rounds.

Leaf played a big part in the Cloud9 comeback, putting up a huge 24 kills for his side. Cloud9 would win the second half 10-0 to claim the Knights Arena VALORAMPAGE Championship.

Stay tuned to Esports.gg for the latest Valorant news and updates.

Jordan Marney -

Jordan Marney

| Twitter: @MarnMedia

Jordan "Marn" Marney is an esports journalist from across the pond. Marn specialises in telling stories about League of Legends and Call of Duty. Marn has been a passionate esports fan since 2014 and has written for publications Unikrn, Esports Network, ESTNN and The United Stand.