After a day off, VALORANT Champions has returned in full force, with both semifinal matches taking place on Saturday. Four teams remained at the start of the day: three from Europe and one from Latin America. By the end, the two teams that would face off in grand finals for a chance at the biggest title in VALORANT would be determined.
Team Liquid vs. Acend – EMEA’s guaranteed VALORANT Champions finals spot
Two titans from EMEA faced off to see who would be the ones to punch their ticket for the first ever VALORANT Champions grand finals. For Acend the pathway has been a rocky one with issues surrounding their match against Vivo Keyd. Meanwhile, Team Liquid had failed to lose a single series after signing Nivera.
Map one went in favor of Acend who easily bullied Team Liquid on Bind. Team Liquid had struggled against other teams on Bind and Acend were no different. After a strong first half, Acend ran away with the win at 13-6.
What was a lopsided map on Bind took a turn for the worse when Team Liquid matched against Acend on Split. Acend ran away with the map out the gate, taking an unfathomable lead at the half 11-1. With no room for error, Team Liquid were not able to mount a comeback and exited Champions after losing 2-0 to Acend.
Match MVP: Patryk “starxo” Kopczyński the support player for Acend came up big in their match against Team Liquid. His performances on both Sage and Skye pushed them over the edge for the 2-0. He had a 1.9 KD after dropping 40 kills and 21 deaths in the series.
— Danny Appleford
Gambit Esports versus KRÜ Esports – The giant slayers fall
KRÜ was perhaps the biggest surprise to come out of Champions; their group stage victory against Sentinels forced us all to reevaluate their strength level, but when they defeated Fnatic in quarterfinals, they began to look like a bonafide title contender. Semifinals wouldn’t be an easy task, though, as they were up against Stage 3 Masters: Berlin champions Gambit Esports.
The first map, Breeze, started out looking good for KRÜ. They racked up an 8-4 first half despite it being Gambit’s map pick. Gambit quickly showed why they were favored in this matchup, however, hitting back in the second half by winning 9 rounds in a row and closing out the map 13-8.
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) December 11, 2021
KRÜ was far from done, though. The second map was their pick, Ascent. After a back-and-forth first half, KRÜ found themselves at a 7-5 scoreline. Gambit pulled it back to 7-7 after the half, but KRÜ quickly adjusted and closed out the map with 6 consecutive round wins and a 13-7 scoreline.
Things really came to a head on Bind, the final map. KRÜ finished the first half at 8-4 and clawed their way up to 10-4 after the half, but Gambit quickly dragged it back until they hit overtime. But neither team was willing to give it up just yet. Both teams traded evenly matched blows for 10 overtime rounds in the longest match of Champions so far. Eventually, Gambit’s might was too much for the Latin American underdogs, and they claimed victory with an 18-16 scoreline.
Match MVP: Gambit’s Sova player Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov came up huge several times in the series, but especially during the pivotal third map, allowing them to win rounds while initially disadvantaged and bring the series back from seemingly dire straits.
— Bonnie Qu