While the heat ravaged the city of Philadelphia, 24 teams came to the City of Brotherly Love to wage battle at the Nerd Street Gamers Valorant Summer Championship. The cream of the crop of tier two Valorant waged war against tier one and tier one point five teams for their share of the $50,000 prize pool. With Pearl being enabled for the first time in major pro play in North America, it was the first chance for the scene to develop the meta. Over the course of the weekend, here is how the event went.
Day 1 Summary
The opening day of groups at the Nerd Street Gamers’ Valorant Summer Championship finals went almost as expected. In Group B, top seeds QoR and Native Gaming Black breezed through the group, with NGB only dropping maps to QoR in the upper final.
In Group C, the local tier two porterhouse Soniqs Esports fought their way into day two. Alongside them, Ghost Gaming qualified for day two of groups. The 7th place finishers in Stage 2 Challengers earned their spot in the first day of groups by only dropping 12 rounds in the Last Chance Qualifier.
Among the teams in Group D, Nightblood Gaming and Virtuoso claimed their spots off of the back of strong chamber play form Add3r and Okeanos respectively.
Yet, the surprise of the first day of groups came from Group A. Nearest Airport, the top seed playing that day, claimed their sport in day two in a quick fashion with two 2-0s. While their success was expected, the failure to qualify for day two from City Boys was biggest shock of the day. The former Akrew roster ran through the Online Opens to qualify Summer Championship, but fell short two times to Roy’s Kitten Shelter, 2-0 and 2-1. The driving force behind RKS’s trip through the LCQ, through day one and into day two rested largely on the back of former Moon Racoons member Dark3st and former DarkZero Esports member ScrewFace showing why they are considered great players.
Day 2 Summary
Day two saw many of the top team make their way into the top eight bracket on Day 3. Group A saw the veteran Nearest Airport (NA) squad fight through the winners side of the group by defeating Oxygen Academy in a heated match on and off the server. Speaking of Oxygen Academy, the young squad defeated a talented Zero MarksMen Black roster to earn their spot alongside Nearest Airport.
Group B ended in rather chalk fashion. The former SoaR Gaming roster breezed through the group stage without dropping a single map thanks to strong efforts from V1c and Bones. From the lower bracket, TSM Academy claimed the final spot out of Group B thanks to strong Fade play from Venture and duelist play from Sym.
During Group C play, Ghost Gaming, likely the best team in the tournament, took the upper finals in a dominant fashion over Cosmic Divide by dropping only four rounds. Despite their top seed in the group, Cosmic Divide failed to joining Ghost Gaming in the top eight. Instead, the legendary tier two roster Teal Seam claimed the final spot from Group C thanks to supreme sentinel and duelist play from d1msumboi and Cade3k respectively.
The last group, Group D, played witness to lower seed victories. Soniqs Esports did not drop a map on their way to the top eight thanks to strong duelist play from former XSET and Gen.G member PureR. Alongside Soniqs, Virtuoso claimed their spot in the top eight. The Canadian organization was on a run of strong results across the NSG Circuit.
The final day of the 2022 Nerd Street Gamers Summer Championships saw a tale of two halves of the bracket. On the bottom side of the bracket, Ghost Gaming and the ex-Soar Gaming roster dropped nine and ten rounds respectively on their way to a semifinal matchup. Ghost’s Koalanoob and ex-Soar’s V1c were their team’s MVPs, largely due to their dominant entry play.
The top half of the bracket saw two tightly contested three-game series. TSM Academy and Nearest Airport played on Haven, Pearl and Bind as the final map. Nearest Airport claimed the opening map in a tightly contested 13-8 affair, but their success did not last. TSM Academy bounced back and claimed Pearl, 13-9, and Bind, 13-8. No one player stood out throughout the series for either team and the final stats show that. In the end though, a titanic third map from Venture (22/10/5, 167 ADR, 275 ACS) secured TSM Academy a semifinal birth.
The other tightly fought semifinal was Soniqs vs Teal Seam. Soniqs were poised to claim the opening map of the series, but Teal Seam won five of the last six rounds to claim Fracture 13-11. Then in map two, despite ending the first half down 3-9, Soniqs forced overtime by winning the last three round and claimed the map 14-12. With a spot in the semifinals on the line and Breeze as the decider, the match was primed for a good crescendo to the series. Yet, the young Teal Seam roster fell flat in the end. Soniqs ended the first half up 8-4, did not let up, and won the map 13-6.
When the semifinals arrived, the two best teams in the tournament squared off in the semifinals. Ghost Gaming and ex-SoaR arrived on the main stage set for a heavyweight title fight. Yet, the first map was anything but that. Ghost Gaming Icebox to open the series to the resounding tune of a 13-5 score line. Come map two, ex-SoaR look poised to push the series to a third map after going up 8-4 on Haven’s defense side. Ghost Gaming rallied back on their defense by winning the last four rounds in regulation and claiming the map 16-14 and the match 2-0.
Back on the other side of the bracket, much like the quarterfinals, it was a tightly contested affair. Soniqs and TSM Academy traded map wins on opposing map picks to open the series. TSM Academy won Soniqs’ pick Fracture 13-9, while Soniqs did in kind on Bind in an attacker-dominated map 13-11. Once again, another series went to Haven to decide the fate of a team. The Soniqs, much like ex-SoaR went up 8-4 on the offensive side. Then, much like Ghost Gaming, TSM Academy won seven of the last eight rounds tp force OT and win the match 14-12.
The grand final paid witness to the tournament’s best team, Ghost Gaming, and the young sensations from TSM Academy. On Pearl, TSM Academy held with the titans to end the first half at an even scoreline. Yet, when they moved to the attack side on the second half, they ran into the big purple wall of Aproto’s Astra. His supers +15 second half helped Ghost close the first map of the series in 13-8 fashion. Despite giving Ghost Gaminig all they could handle on map one, TSM Academy swiftly succumbed to the veteran squad on map two. Aproto, koalanoob and the rest of the veteran roster punished the young TSM Academy squad to the tune of a 13-3 victory to claim the Nerd Street Gamers Summer Championship.
MVP: koalanoob, Ghost Gaming
Given their run from the LCQ to winning the event, the MVP of the tournament has to come from Ghost Gaming. While Aproto was the silent warrior and maybe their key player across the entire finals bracket, the true MVP of Ghost Gaming was koalanoob. He either topped or was top five in every major statistical category across the entire event. As their Chamber & Jett player outperformed every duelist he went up against in all but one map. In the grand finals, he was the player who topped the server. In short, koalanoob was that dude this weekend.
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