Cloud9 overcame The Guard 2-1, topping Group A and remaining the only undefeated team in VALORANT Champions Tour: Stage 1 Challengers. This result also means The Guard have endured their first loss of VCT in 2022.
— Cloud9 (@Cloud9) March 11, 2022
The Guard start hot…
In this match between two of the best NA VCT teams, The Guard started out strong on Bind and hit halftime up 8-4. Cloud9 put up a fight in the second half, but The Guard finished the map 13-7. Bind turned into Trent “trent” Cairns‘ playground, as he led the lobby in kills (21).
As for Ascent, Cloud9 showed off why they were also undefeated. Much like The Guard did on Bind, their first half was strong, leading to a 9-3 score at halftime. After a strong pistol round from Mitch “mitch” Semago and great defense on a force buy, they kept that momentum up. They finish the map 13-4 with a stronger map win than The Guard had on Bind.
…but flame out
Both teams won on their map picks, leaving it all down to the third map: Haven. The Guard perform well on Haven, with a 87% win rate going into this match.
However, they set that stat before the patch, which included nerfs to Astra, a key agent for The Guard’s composition. Cloud9 took that advantage and ran a comp with Omen and Breach, starting off the game 6-0 before losing their first round. A crucial clutch by Son “xeta” Seon-ho ended the half with Cloud9 up 10-2.
After a pistol round ace by Nathan “leaf” Orf, the score climbed to 11-2 — though the match and series were effectively over by then.
Following this defeat is when The Guard can truly demonstrate whether they are top contenders in NA. How they perform in the next phase of the tournament, after only losing once to one of the best teams in the region, should be telling. Cloud9, meanwhile, will fight to hold onto their undefeated streak before eventually running into their counterparts in Group B, Version1.