Meanwhile, the casual production vibe of the tournamnet has found appreciation in the Valorant community

The first day of the Ludwig x Tarik Invitational was off to an exciting start with several Valorant fans getting their first look at the new rosters. The tournament has four teams in the competition - TSM, T1 esports, The Guard, and Sentinels - and is also the first VCT off-season event of the year. The conclusion of Day 1 saw a surprise early exit and one team marching its way to the Grand Finals. 

The time has come for T1

T1 esports’ roster, on paper, is stacked with firepower and experience. With multiple players who have made a name for themselves in other FPS titles, T1’s roster was supposed to be one of the more dominant ones at this tournament. 

T1 esports lost to The Guard in their inaugural Ludwig x Tarik Invitational Day 1 match. Image Credit: The Guard.
T1 esports lost to The Guard in their inaugural Ludwig x Tarik Invitational Day 1 match. Image Credit: The Guard.

However, after two matches, having lost both of them, T1 esports is now out of the tournament. Their Ludwig x Tarik Invitational journey started with the inaugural match against The Guard. The first map saw T1 squeeze out a 13-11 victory on Pearl. However, The Guard looked extremely comfortable on Fracture and Ascent.

The gap between the best player on T1 and the worst player on the roster was quite large. So even though Xeta managed a 1.25 ACS for the series, T1’s performance was just not enough. On the contrary, The Guard’s players had much more consistent performance with a median that did not vary too much.

It is important to note that T1’s tactics seemed slightly confusing for the average fan. Not having Sayaplayer on the Jett was quite surprising. However, with the VCT kickoff event, the more important event, starting in just a few weeks’ time, one cannot expect teams to show all their strategies at this off-season event. 

Regardless it was a well-earned victory for The Guard, who would also go on to defeat Sentinels and reach the Grand finals of the tournament. 

What do we think of Sentinels?

Sentinels survived Ludwig x Tarik Invitational Day 1. Image Credit: Sentinels
Sentinels survived Ludwig x Tarik Invitational Day 1. Image Credit: Sentinels

Undoubtedly the team with the most attention at this event, Sentinels’ performance was under a microscope. With two players from the Champions-winning LOUD and a roster that screams popularity, Sentinels has the potential to win. However, they were not as dominant as some die-hard fans would have you believe. 

The highlight of the Sentinels performance was Tyson "TenZ" Ngo. The 22-year-old player had some exciting plays through their matches on Day 1, bringing back memories from when he would dominate the Valorant scene.

Sentinels are still not out of the tournament and will face TSM in the lower bracket finals. On paper, Sentinels should have an easy time reaching the Grand finals, but there is something exciting about the TSM playstyle. A playstyle that propelled them to 2-0 T1 esports in the lower bracket semifinals. 

TSM - The Dark horse

For many fans, TSM was one of the underdogs at this tournament. Not because their players are not good, but more because the other rosters have big names and higher expectations. But TSM has already proved after Day 1 they are not a team to be taken lightly. 

A start that many of their players would like to forget - a jaw-dropping play by Zekken - only served to motivate them to perform better.

They lost their inaugural match vs Sentinels, but then they had to face off against the powerhouse from Asia - T1 esports. 

TSM took down T1 esports in two maps and it was not close (13-8, 13-7). Both the maps saw TSM dominate the flow of the game and they will now face off against Sentinels in the lower bracket finals.

Valorant community appreciates the casual vibes

While the tournament has some top teams attending and Valorant fans have been treated to world-class gameplay, the vibes have been anything but formal. 

With a casual approach to the broadcast, and a mix of casual community members, and analytical minds, the Ludwig x Tarik Invitational has been a welcome change from the official VCT events.

The tournament runs for two days only which means there have been a few compromises in terms of the format. Players often come down on to the broadcast after their match to talk about the game or just stare into the camera.

Either way, this tournament has been a great way to break into Valorant esports for 2023. There are three teams remaining at the end of Day 1 - The Guard, Sentinels, and TSM. 

Stay tuned to esports for the latest Valorant news and updates.