It was the opening match for both teams in the Stage 3 Finals. TSM were on a hot streak, while Envy had been building a superteam: ultimately, the latter won out.
After a horrible year, TSM were finally back. Some new additions and a great qualifier set them up as the fifth seed for Stage 3 Challengers Finals: the event qualifying teams for Masters Berlin. Running up against Envy, they looked good to progress. But what they didn’t expect was Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker. Nicknamed “El Diablo”, the superstar Jett was acquired by Envy just days before the event. Would TSM have the momentum on their side? Or would Envy’s high-profile signing make the “superteam” predictions come true?
VCT Challenger Playoffs preview - Are Envy the new super team?
VCT Challenger Playoffs are just around the corner, and teams like Envy, Xset, TSM, and Sentinels are all poised to compete for NA's three open spots for Masters Berlin.
Map 1: yay leads Envy to Haven win in debut map
Envy picked Haven to start, and the teams ran mirror compositions with Jett-Skye-Sova-Astra-Killjoy. TSM got out to an early lead thanks to winning both the pistol round and the first rifle round, but Envy would quickly catch up. A control led by yay saw them begin to run up the score. The half would end with a crazy TSM win, making it 7-5 Envy.
Teams would trade rounds to start up the second half, but Envy was still coming out ahead. They’d keep up the pressure with some more great play from yay. In the end the second half was far more one-sided, as they came out with a 13-7 win.
Map 2: TSM stave off huge comeback to win 13-11
TSM brought the second map to Breeze. There were some compositional differences this time, with a Cypher/Astra for TSM against a Sova/Killjoy for Envy. The early rounds went similarly to Haven – TSM showed exactly why they’d picked the map. Their A takes looked practiced and well-timed, as they got out to a 5-1 lead.
Despite some close calls, TSM would continue winning until the 10th round. But at that point, they’d secured a large lead. Some more mistakes by Envy and the half ended at 10-2.
In the second half, though, Envy began marching back. Some stellar shots came though, and TSM were repeatedly forced on eco rounds. As the score got closer, though, TSM’s defense got stiffer. The last few rounds were chaotic, but TSM managed to clutch it out with a 13-11 score. We would go to map 3.
Map 3: Comp changes work out in favour of Envy
We saw some massive comp switchups for Ascent. Sean “bang” Bezerra, usually a controller player, was on Reyna for the map, while Victor “Victor” Wong took Raze for Envy. Matthew “WARDELL” Yu was also on Sage, as opposed to his usual Jett. Again, TSM started off well, but Envy didn’t let them get too far ahead this time. Some mid-round and Ult misplays put TSM a step back, though the half was still quite close. It ended 7-5.
Envy started off the second half well, opening up to an 11-6 lead before TSM took a timeout. Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik would come off the timeout with an ace, but Envy would shut the door immediately after. The map ended 13-8, with Envy taking a 2-1 series win.
For Envy, they’re now one win away from being a representative of North America at Masters Berlin. They face the mighty Sentinels later today – a win there puts them through.
Vision Strikers and F4Q become the first teams qualified for Masters Berlin
As VALORANT's next LAN draws closer, we have our first two participants. Vision Strikers and F4Q will represent Korea at the big event.
For TSM, they face Rise in the lower bracket. From there, there’s plenty of steps if they want to make it through. Any loss now eliminates them.