The rise and fall of FaZe Clan, Luminosity, and Gen.G before Iceland
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Masters 1 attendees FaZe Clan, Luminosity Gaming and Gen.G Esports have all missed out on their chance to attend the offline event in Reykjavík, Iceland at the end of May.

The North American Valorant Champions Tour qualifiers leading up to the Masters events have been a long and tedious road. Over 128 different teams competed against one another to advance in the tournaments leading up to the Iceland event. While there will be several options to continue their run after Masters, most teams were shooting for the chance to compete offline internationally.

North America has seen multiple teams succeed in Valorant without one team claiming the title of best in the region. Sentinels, 100 Thieves, FaZe Clan and Envy have all been considered the best of the best at some point. Each has won their own qualifiers or event. Some have finished first at several events, like Sentinels. However, some of these top-teams have now missed their opportunity for greatness despite past performances.

FaZe Clan

FaZe Clan has been on a steady incline since they began showing up at the qualifiers for the VCT. They excelled for most of the Stage 1 Masters, cruising their way to a finals appearance against Sentinels. Despite their best efforts, FaZe Clan was swiftly 3-0’d by an even-hotter Sentinels that came from the upper bracket. Regardless of the results from Masters, FaZe Clan was still one of the best teams in North America.

With Challengers Finals around the corner, it would be an uphill battle for FaZe Clan to ensure their qualification to Masters 2 in Iceland. Unlike other esports tournaments, despite an impressive performance at Masters, FaZe Clan would have to battle their way through more qualifiers for their shot at Iceland.

“We definitely felt like we were a shoo-in for at least top eight,” said FaZe Clan’s head coach Thomas “Trippy” Schappy. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. So, moving forward, we are going to be tightening some things up and looking to improve ourselves. We’re going to make sure that we meet those expectations for us and our fans.”

FaZe Clan fell short during the Stage 2 Challengers first qualifier, falling 2-1 to Version1 and finishing in the bottom-16 of the tournament. Despite their lackluster performance during the first qualifier, they still had another chance at Masters during the next qualifier. However, they fell short again to T1 during the second qualifier, just barely missing their chance at Iceland.

“Leading up to Masters 1, we had been building this style for a long time. Then, leading into Masters 2 we felt like that style wasn’t as good anymore,” Trippy told Upcomer when reflecting on what happened between tournaments. “We tried to make a switch and obviously did not have a lot of time. It might have been the downfall of us [during the qualifier]. I think we have a nice chunk of time here to get back into our groove. We’ll see another iteration of us in Masters 3 as we saw in Masters 1.”

Gen.G Esports

Gen.G was regarded as another top-team in North America, alongside FaZe Clan and several other teams. The roster showed what they were capable of during B-Tier tournaments, and continued that momentum into Masters 1. Gen.G defeated XSET, 100 Thieves, and Envy in the lower bracket of Masters before losing to FaZe Clan to finish third at the event. Despite this third-place finish, Gen.G also had to fight their way through the next two open qualifiers.

Like FaZe Clan, Gen.G fell short during the first Challengers Stage 2 qualifier. They lost to Cloud9 Blue, who were ramping up their performance. They finished in the bottom-16 at the qualifier, and have to try again at the next one for their chance at Iceland. Gen.G’s performance at the second open qualifier was only marginally better than the first, ultimately falling to TSM.

“I think it showed that we can compete with some of these teams and do really well,” said Gen.G coach Matthew “mCe” Elmore when reflecting on their performance at Masters 1. “Obviously, I think we peaked and individual players peaked as well during that time. We hit a good timing together as a team and came together and played well. I think if we played FaZe on a different day, not ten minutes after going through a grinder of a match versus Envy, we could have had a better result.”

Gen.G will have a substantial amount of time before the next event, which mCe says could be sometime in June. After losing to both Cloud9 Blue and TSM in both open qualifiers, Gen.G will look to transform themselves before the next event as much as possible.

“We need to fix a lot of the issues we were having. We need to work on our consistency issues, opening our gameplay to include a lot more things, including agent picks,” mCe went on to detail what all is currently wrong with the Gen.G roster. “I am not even concerned about a tournament right now. We’ve just got to fix our issues in the approach to the game.”

Luminosity Gaming

Outside of their third-place finish at the Stage 1 Challengers, Luminosity struggled at Masters 1, and the two open qualifiers that came after. While they were counted among the top-eight teams at Masters, they ultimately fell to 100 Thieves to finish fifth at the event. Luminosity, like Gen.G and FaZe Clan, were shaken at the first open qualifier after Masters 1. They were knocked out early in round 32 of the open qualifier by Noble — who went on to face off against Sentinels.

“It’s [failing to qualify for Iceland] not as big of a deal as it could be,” said Luminosity’s assistant coach Jared “MAC” Schneider when asked what Luminosity’s takeaway was from the event. “Obviously, it sucks not qualifying but it shows what we need to improve on and all of our weak spots. It’s also better to get it out of the way sooner rather than later.”

After losing to Noble, Luminosity got another shot at qualifying for Iceland in the second open qualifier. However, despite a much better showing this time around, the team still fell short against NRG Esports in round eight. NRG Esports, after defeating Luminosity, went on to qualify for the Challengers Finals event to fight against the top eight teams for a spot at the Iceland LAN tournament.

“We would look at a few of the team’s VODs [to practice for the VCT],” said Luminosity’s head coach Benjamin “trainer” Bravo when asked how they prepared for Masters 1. “Since we don’t have a demo system it’s hard to look into specific player POVs because you could potentially miss something important. I’m pretty much staring at the map the whole time trying to figure out what abilities people are commonly using in what spots and what their tendencies are.”

Much like FaZe Clan and Gen.G, Luminosity will have to wait until Masters 3 to show the work that they have put in during the off-season. However, with that next tournament being several months away, we could see several changes come from each of these rosters. Riot Games has strived to pit the best of the best against one another in their tournament structure for the VALORANT Champions Tour which has seen three teams that were considered the top eight in North America fall short before the first offline event. Gen.G, Luminosity, and FaZe Clan will all be returning for revenge after Master 2 concludes in Iceland at the end of May.

Danny Appleford is an esports journalist for Upcomer that started writing for Daily Esports in 2020. He now specializes in articles surrounding League of Legends, Call of Duty, VALORANT and Halo.