The ESPN Esports VALORANT Invitational finished up and the results surprised the world. The event was made up of teams featuring current pros, former pros and influencers from Fortnite, PUBG, Apex Legends, CS:GO, Overwatch, League of Legends and one special team. That special team was a team of VALORANT developers. These pros from across all esports came to play against and hopefully beat those pros. The obvious favorites were the team that has won every single tournament this beta, Team Mirage. The team is full of classic CS:GO players. Former big name CS:GO pros like n0thing, Hiko and Skadoodle accompany AZK and Brax, the first two members of T1’s pro VALORANT team. Most other teams featured no pre-existing chemistry except Team Canyon and Team Six. Team Six featured almost all of the 2019 Six Invitational winning Spacestation Gaming Roster. Also, Team Canyon featured two members of Team Liquids Apex Legends roster and two former NRG teammates.
The main focus though is the winners Team Canyon. They started off the group stages with a shocking win over the VALORANT developers in 13-4 fashion. The following matches versus Team Llama and Team Battlegrounds were hard fought and extremely close, but were eventually won by Team Canyon. This set up a semifinal match versus Team Heroes, the team of Overwatch players and influencers.
The semifinal saw a back and forth match with Team Canyon gaining the upper hand early, but a back Team Heroes fought back. Boostio was hard carrying his team clutching multiple rounds and put up over 30 kills. In the end, the heroics of Mendo and Aceu managed to secure Team Canyon the map over Team Heroes in 13-11 fashion.
The Grand Final though was a back and forth affair. Team Mirage opened up on Bind with a 10-2 first half. Team Canyon fought hard and nearly won but Team Mirage closed that map out winning 13-8. The second map, Haven, was a wild game. Despite an early run by Team Canyon, Team Mirage fought their way back. In the end though, the heroics of players like Mendo helped close the map out and won it 13-10.
The final map was Split, everyone’s favorite offensive disaster. Even in the game’s short lifespan this map is already the most hated professional map because it heavily favors the defenders. Team Canyon however had something different to say. After posting a 6-6 scoreline on their attack half, they looked to finish off the champs on defense. After a near comeback by Team Mirage, Mendo produced multiple key plays to claim the match 13-10.
This was the first defeat for Team Mirage across multiple invitationals at the early stages of VALORANT esports. Team Mirage still played Team Canyon extremely close. As these invitationals continue to happen, many orgs will begin to create their full fledged VALORANT teams. While the Kings of the Beta may have fallen, they are still right there on the throne.
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Photo via ESPN Valorant