NRG had meme-ed C9 for being clowns, it was time to see who would be the clown of the series.

It's time once again for the Americas teams to face off! Despite being ahead, Cloud9 needed the win while NRG sought victory to stop C9 getting too far ahead and to build themselves up. It was do or die for NRG. Would they put up or shut up?

Let's take a look at this battle of titans in VCT Americas.

Team 1
Team 2
Map 1
Map 2
Map 3
Haven (13-8)
Pearl (9-13)
Ascent (7-13)

Cloud9 vs NRG

Despite being only one win behind C9 in VCT Americas, NRG needed the win to stop them falling down to be beside Sentinels on the scoreboard. Despite some incredible plays from Victor 'Victor' Wong and Pujan 'FNS' Mehta who had shown up for the team in numerous matches, a win was all that mattered here.

To begin an uphill winning streak here was important for NRG as they would be facing off against the front-runner of LOUD. There was also the need to win over C9. This was after C9 beat them in the 2022 NA qualifiers.

Meanwhile for C9, this was a win that would be good for climbing the leaderboard and putting themselves ahead for playoffs. It was also a prime opportunity to show that the fiasco with Jaccob 'yay' Whiteaker would not put them behind in the VCT Americas.

Map 1 - Haven

With this being a match that NRG really needed to win, it didn't start off in their favor with C9 taking the pistol on their map choice. A map choice that was known for being FNS' play place and NRG home turf. But NRG still couldn't get in as C9 forced a bonus round at round three. Not that they got the bonus. NRG re-paced to take round three and stop an early lead building for C9. After losing two rounds in a row, C9 called a timeout at round five. Despite the timeout, NRG was still able to sneak away rounds even with aggressive kills onto them. With their tight rounds winning out, NRG began pushing ahead to form a four-round lead for themselves. It was becoming rapidly clear that C9 challenging NRG on home turf, was not working in C9's favor. Even with a tech pause, NRG still kept up their momentum with Crashies taking three kills. Finishing the half 9-3.

NRG's momentum stayed strong despite a long tech pause - image via VCT Americas
NRG's momentum stayed strong despite a long tech pause - image via VCT Americas

Despite the first half finishing well for NRG, C9 hit back to secure the pistol and second round. This was still a do or die match for NRG, and every round mattered. But if NRG fans had been getting nervous, then Victor was there still the worries, securing the next round to put C9 behind by five rounds. Even as C9 hit back to close the gap, NRG still ensured that if they died to the spike, they didn't die alone. SoM made it his mission to stop C9 getting too hopeful to put them back down, pushing ahead to matchpoint. Finishing with an ease clean sweep to secure map 1 for NRG.

Map 2 - Pearl

Having lost map 1, C9 pushed on to steal away another pistol round from NRG. But with C9 only having pistol success on map 1, this needed to change fast if they wanted to push the series to map 3. Just as C9 thought they were getting into the map, FNS denied it once more putting NRG on the board. For the most part, the start of the map was very back and forth with Leaf putting C9 on his back to attempt to put C9 back into the series. But even with Leaf doing his best, NRG were in their heads as SoM lurked on C9 and swung on them to take two kills before they knew what was happening. NRG pushed ahead but C9 managed to pull it back to even the score out. Even as runi attempted to keep up, NRG kept going, pulling ahead to 7-5 before switching halves.

C9 tried to keep it even as NRG pushed on - image via VCT Americas
C9 tried to keep it even as NRG pushed on - image via VCT Americas

Despite this being NRG's map pick, it was also NRG's to lose as C9 even the score to 7-7 following halftime. NRG hit back to pull ahead once more but C9 where hot on their heels and pulled ahead to create a three round lead. The C9 lead kept building despite it being NRG's map, to the point that C9 were on match point and FNS couldn't pull another clutch kill to stop it. But NRG via FNS and Crashies didn't let C9 finish it so easily, another round and C9 could finally finish it out.

Map 3 - Ascent

For NRG it was a flawless start as they claimed their first pistol round of the series, a wide swing from Crashies secured the second round - also a first for NRG in this series. C9 managed to pull back a round and then create a flawless round for themselves with Zellsis cleaning house. Despite an early lead NRG were falling behind as C9 began creating a lead, but it was Crashies who once again shut C9 down.

Not one to be beat, C9 continued on swinging to build back up their three-round lead. Even an NRG pause couldn't stop C9's building momentum. It was well and truly do or die for NRG. C9 pulled ahead with 8-4 and were getting ready to closing it out.

C9 were ready to close it out - image via VCT Americas
C9 were ready to close it out - image via VCT Americas

C9 were clearly ready to close it out as NRG had a six-round streak that they had to do to keep in the series. But for C9 this was looking good, the last hopes of Americas of NRG and C9 were both in need of the win. C9 edged forward though as they secured the pistol for themselves, and secured an ace shortly after.

It was getting dangerous for NRG as a loss here would put them down near the bottom with a scoreline of 1-3. NRG secured a round win, keeping four players alive to boost the economy. Following C9 failing to secure a bonus for their own economy.

NRG began picking up the pace to bring back their scoreline and begin to close the gap lead. Despite their best efforts, the gap remained as C9 pushed on towards matchpoint. Before cleaning house and finishing the series.

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