VALORANT Champions Day 2 recap - Gambit, Sentinels win close series
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Day 2 of VALORANT Champions on Thursday hit new viewership highs while bringing some close series from Groups B and C. The first two games both went the distance, going to three maps but ending in two very different ways.

Match 1: Gambit Esports vs. Team Secret

The first match of day 2 of VALORANT Champions was also the first appearance of Stage 3 Masters Berlin champs Gambit Esports on the Champions stage. This match, against APAC team Team Secret, ended up being closer than originally anticipated. The first map Icebox kicked off the day with an upset, as Team Secret started the map 8-4 before finishing Gambit off 13-6. For Team Secret, both Jayvee “DubsteP” Paguirigan and Kevin “Dispenser” Te’s coordination was key in that upset.

However, Team Secret’s map win just woke the sleeping Russian giant. Gambit followed up that map with a 13-0 victory on Breeze, where Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin only died once. The series went to a third map, but Gambit regained control over the series. Bind started much closer than Breeze, with Gambit going into the half up 7-5. It was within reach for Team Secret to upset Gambit once again, but Gambit only lost one round afterwards and took the map 13-6, along with the series.

Match MVP: Nikita “d3ffo” Sudakov – his consistent first kills in fights helped bring back the team from a rough start. He finished the game with 46 kills, 34 deaths and 6 assists, along with a match leading 13 first kills.

Match 2: Sentinels vs. FURIA Esports

In a similar vein to the first match, this series saw Stage 2 Masters victors Sentinels playing against underdog Brazilian team FURIA Esports. Triggering some déjà vu, the underdog took an early lead; FURIA won the first five rounds on Ascent. Sentinels composed themselves to tie it up around the half and pulled out the win 13-9, but not easily.

FURIA started strong on map 2, Breeze. Going into the half up 8-4, they fought tooth and nail to win 13-10. This brought another series to map three.

Where in the first game of the day, Gambit turned a map one loss to two strong map victories, Sentinels were at risk of letting this win slip through their fingers. On Haven, Sentinels regained their composure to finally go to the half with a significant 9-3 lead. Despite the rumoured 9-3 curse turning that lead into a much smaller 12-9 lead, a technical pause halted the momentum and Sentinels finished FURIA off. The map ended 13-9 in favor of Sentinels, albeit a bit closer than most fans expected.

Match MVP: Tyson “TenZ” Ngo – after starting off slow, he was the catalyst that kept Sentinels on top. He ended the game with a match-leading 65 kills, average damage per round of 172.1 and 14 first kills.

Match 3: Team Liquid vs. KRÜ Esports

Ending the day for Group B, Team Liquid aimed to make their international mark against LATAM team KRÜ Esports. The first map of Haven started off as just that, with the teams keeping it close for the first half before Team Liquid ran off with a 13-5 win.

This led to Ascent, where Team Liquid started off strong and held a 9-3 lead at the half. But, just like the earlier game with a 9-3 lead, the down team fought hard to bring the game back. KRÜ used their momentum as well as some great plays on the attack to bring it to 12-8, but some good defense led to the only 2-0 sweep of the day.

Match MVP: Travis “L1NK” Mendoza – Every time Team Liquid needed someone to step up, L1NK and his Astra did. He led the match in assists with 19, headshot percentage with 42% and led his team in average damage per round with 167.9.

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