This weekend, Nov. 7-9, the finals of the Nerd Streed Gamers (NSG) qualifier for First Strike North America took place. With regional finals seeds on the line — and some of the best teams in the region vying for them — the competition was steep, and not without a few upsets.
Notably, TSM and Cloud9 Blue, ranked #2 and #3 in NA, respectively, couldn't get past the quarterfinal round. Both teams were swept 0-2, though not without putting up a fight. C9 faced Renegades and opened with game 1 on Split, that went into 17-15 of overtime into RNG's favor, before losing Ascent 13-9. TSM also went to overtime against 100 Thieves. After losing Ascent 13-7, TSM pushed 100T as much as they could, but ultimately lost Haven 15-13.
Team Envy took first place in the end, cruising relatively unopposed through the bracket. NV dropped only one map in their playoffs run (13-11 loss on Ascent against RNG in the semifinals), but otherwise were unstoppable. In their seven won maps, NV dropped only 3.8 rounds on average — a great showing from the Pop Flash silver medalists. 100 Thieves, Renegades, Sentinels are the other three teams to accompany NV directly to the First Strike regional finals.
Four Cloud9, TSM, T1, and Complexity, First Strike is not over just yet. These four teams will get another shot at the UMG Tournament, but they will need at least a top 4 finish there. Otherwise, the biggest NA event in VALORANT's short history will go on without them.
Esports editor and journalist of 10+ years. Lives on black tea and corgi love.