NRG have now lost twice in a row to unsigned rosters. They are out of contention for Berlin, and now have to both improve and keep themselves fresh over a nearly 3-month break.
The struggles of big teams in the VALORANT Champions Tour open qualifiers have been well documented. None, however, have done as poorly as TSM and NRG. Fan-favourites TSM have been poor all year, failing to make it past all but one open qualifier throughout the entire VCT. NRG, on the other hand, have seen their stock rapidly fall since losing Damien "daps" Steele, and have now fallen twice to unsigned teams. TSM would ultimately manage to stave off elimination for another day at least, beating Andbox 2-1 with a 20-18 Icebox win. NRG would not pull off the same feat.
NRG's recent struggles
NRG were actually quite good for several stages. They even made Challengers Finals in Stage 2, finishing 5th-6th. After that stage, though, daps announced that he was stepping back from the game.
At first, this news didn't seem all that bad. daps had always been a low-fragging IGL, and it was apparent through his conduct that he didn't enjoy the game. Eventually, his replacement was announced. Fan favourite Matthew "Wedid" Suchan came over from XSET's bench to take up the smokes role.
In the first open qualifier of Stage 3, NRG fell to Virtuoso. This was a concerning loss - Virtuoso hadn't been particularly good in lower-tier competition. They would go on from there to get dominated by Pioneers. NRG needed a better performance coming into this second open qualifier, but they'd fail to find it. Their 1-2 loss to Resonate, another unsigned roster playing at a low level, sealed the deal. NRG are out of contention for Berlin.
Where does the roster go from here? They played their first lower-tier event ever just a few weeks ago, and it's likely we'll see them continue to grind it out to keep themselves fresh. There's also the possibility of attending the last-chance qualifier: for this to happen, three of Version1, FaZe Clan, Gen.G, and Cloud9 Blue must qualify for Stage 3 Challengers Finals. With a 3-month break before even that, though, they'll have to try to keep improving without many officials to play in.