The opening match of Stage 3 Challengers 2 was a crazy one. TSM and Gen.G duked it out for four straight hours, including a grueling 44-round Split game that went on so long the game had to be remade. TSM would eventually walk away with the win.

TSM-Gen.G was set to be a good opening match to kick off Stage 3 Challengers 2 in North America. TSM came in looking greatly improved with some new additions. Gen.G, meanwhile, had shown promise in their last outing and came in as the higher seed. I don’t think either team expected what they got, though.

The series was crazy. Two maps finished at 13-10, while Split in the middle went to a score of 23-21. That’s 44 rounds, and 10 overtimes. It went on for so long that the match shut down after going on too long, and the game had to be remade. TSM would eventually walk away with the win, and progress to the upper bracket semifinals. Gen.G will face Version1 in the lower bracket later tonight.

Gen.G seal Bind win 13-10

Bind began as a solid showing from both teams. Gen.G began by taking 5 straight rounds, then TSM answered with 5 of their own. The 6-6 half was indicative of what was to come. Eventually, Gen.G pulled away, with Anthony “gMd” Guimond topping the scoreboard at 26-14. Oh, how innocent we were.

23-21 Split game lasts so long the game has to be remade

Heading into Split, it started off quite one-sided. Gen.G won 9 rounds in the first half, making the score 9-3. If they could just get four more, they could close the series out early. But TSM clawed back on their defense, coming all the way back to tie things up.

Then we went to overtime, and it was so close. Both teams struggled to win attack rounds, but on the rare occasion that one did, the other responded in kind. Rounds went on and on with still no winner.

For those who don’t know, VALORANT games have an internal timer of 90 minutes. There, the game shuts down. This has caused problems once or twice in competitive play before, and we hit that mark here too. The game was remade after 16 individual rounds, or 8 bouts, of overtime. This subsequently broke the broadcast UI, meaning there was some serious confusion for the last several rounds of the match.

In the end, TSM would finally close things out. The grueling 23-21 match was finally over.

NaturE breaks VCT kill record

With a 44-round game, we were bound to see some massive kill numbers. In the end, that would manifest in a new record. 100 Thieves’ Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk broke the VCT kill record in a single game on July 11th. There, he dropped 48 kills in a 36-round win against Version1. This time around, it was Gen.G’s Nicholas “NaturE” Garrison who did him one better.

The kills-per-round is lower, sure. But at 49 kills, it’s the most ever recorded in a single VCT match. Playing KAY/O for the match, NaturE recorded 261 ACS and top-fragged in the loss.

Gen.G’s VALORANT team. NaturE (middle) now holds the record for most kills in a single VCT match. Image credit: Gen.G.

TSM close it out on Icebox

With such a long game behind us, it was easy to forget there was still one to go. Icebox began the same way the other maps had, with Gen.G taking an early lead. However, TSM again pulled it back. This time, though, they’d do it in regulation.

With a 13-10 win, TSM sealed the deal in the crazy series. They advance to play T1 in the upper bracket tomorrow. This is a very interesting matchup. These were the two biggest teams in the very early days of VALORANT, and neither has found the same form until now, a year and a half later. Gen.G, meanwhile, will play Iceland representative Version1 in the lower bracket later tonight

Stay tuned to Esports.gg for the latest VALORANT news and highlights.

Shawn

Shawn "Germanicus" Heerema

Writer of the Month: August | Twitter: @GermanicusCVIII

A writer from Niagara, Canada, Shawn covers VALORANT and League of Legends. Previously of THESPIKE.GG, he's a fervent follower and supporter of the Asian VAL scene. And somehow, he remains convinced that PUBG is the most fun esport to watch as a spectator.