The new Version1 roster has officially arrived in North American Challengers, beating the experimental Neon composition on Haven and winning in convincing fashion over Optic.

On Version1’s map pick, OpTic got off to a roaring start with 10 straight round wins on Ascent. Optic’s Austin “Crashies” Roberts ended the map on Sova with a 100% KAST, contributing to each fight and reading the V1 approach on attack. Despite the tumultuous start, V1 regrouped and won 26 of the next 36 rounds and shut down OpTic’s experimental Neon composition.

Countering OpTic’s Neon composition

For V1’s Loic “effys” Sauvageau, credit goes to coach Ian “Immi” Harding for setting the team straight after Ascent. He also understood how to counter the stun-heavy Neon, Breach, and Astra OpTic composition on Haven.

“Our coach, after the first game, was like ‘you guys can do better’,” said effys in the post-game interview. “He carried us basically and put us back on the right track and gave us a lot of energy for the second map.”

“On the second map there comp was a bit of a curveball that they thought it was gonna get but they kind of forgot that our coach is also from the UK. Liquid is known for running this comp. Even if we didn’t study that comp, our coach knew the sense of it and he walked through it with us before the game so we knew what to expect”

For example, soon after effys got a good feel for the Victor “Victor” Wong Neon sprint timings on Haven defense, the offense disappeared for Optic. It was evident that Version1 had a feel for where Optic was trying to take map control. The surprise European favored composition didn’t catch them off-guard as expected.

It was a combination of v1’s composure in a difficult situation and the incredible versatility of this roster. The individual talent popped against the high powered attack of Optic. Even with Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker delivering a dominating performance, the rest of Optic struggled to win duels against all five members of V1. 

Version1 dominate in first big test; effys praises Mr. Coach

On Icebox, Optic ended with a mere 53 kills, with 26 of those coming from yay alone. V1 had 81 kills.The ability of V1 to disrupt the Optic defaults on attack made the game plan transparent.

“It was just like putting into practice and getting used to the comp a little but as soon as we figured out what their plays were, we kinda knew what they were doing and it was pretty straightforward after that,” said effys.

After winning only two rounds on Ascent, most teams would experience an element of tilting, but V1 showed mental toughness and effys pointed to the teams resolve

“We don’t get very tilted in matches,” said effys.”We could get 1v5’d six rounds in a row and it really doesn’t matter. If it’s in a scrim it’s a different story, but when we’re in matches, we’re very, very focused.”

It was a total team effort from V1 as everyone contributed. The pickups of Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro and Alexander “Zander” Dituri continue to look better each week. Especially with other teams who were in the free agent market floundering.

With the 3-1 Sentinels on the horizon the question remains whether Version1 is a top three North American team. Caster Sean Gares sums up how truly impressive this win was for an unproven V1 roster.

“They were up 10-0 on the opponents map pick,” said Sean Gares, “and V1, a team that hadn’t yet been tested, comes into Optics map pick and dominates them and then goes into icebox and dominates them again. All while yay’s having a great performance, that’s all you need to know.”

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Blake Van Poucke -

Blake Van Poucke

| Twitter: @TokyoDown

Blake Van Poucke is a Valorant writer at esports.gg. He found esports through the early days of MLG and the Super Smash Bros Melee scene. He's been competing and writing about esports dating back to 2008. He has written for several publications and wishes to return to in-person esports events in 2022