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Five Takeaways from the Valorant JBL Quantum Cup

The Valorant’s JBL Quantum Cup has come and gone, and it was a wild ride to say the least. Cloud9 and TSM fell out on day one of the tournament, while Tyler “Ninja” Blevins’ Time In managed to take down Corey “Corey” Nigra and FaZe Clan.

Courtesy of Riot Games

As the first notable event in the post-Fist Strike era, fans were able to see their favorite teams (given they were actually broadcast) back in action, and there was plenty to break down.

Hosted by ESL and sponsored by JBL Quantum, this two-day tournament featured some of North America’s strongest teams in 100 Thieves, Sentinels, Envy and Team SoloMid. But the juggernauts of NA didn’t necessarily perform how many thought they would during day one. 

This Tournament is Wild 

As esports fans, we know just how turbulent best-of-ones can get. The fickleness that comes with them has been a burden on esports players since the beginning of organized gaming. But even with that in mind, the results speak for themselves; this tournament is wild. 

Heavily considered one of the top teams in North America, Envy was smacked around by First Strike champions 100 Thieves, falling 13-0. Time In, a temporary team with popular personality Ninja, managed to defeat FaZe Clan in overtime, but then FaZe turned around and beat Envy, who had just taken down Time In 13-2. 

And that was just in Group A. In Group B, Gen.G emerged at the top of the standings, winning against all three of its opponents. The French-Canadian squad impressively defeated Sentinels, and also picked up two dominant wins against TSM and Cloud9. 

In the latest edition of the Sentinels-TSM rivalry, Sentinels crushed TSM 13-1. Cloud9, with stand-in Nathan “leaf” Orf replacing the dropped Josh “shinobi” Abastado, couldn’t bring home a single victory, losing to all three of their opponents. 

In the end, it was 100 Thieves and FaZe Clan making it out in Group A, while Gen.G and Sentinels advanced out of Group B. 

100 Thieves is Really Good

Courtesy of 100 Thieves

In case you haven’t noticed, 100 Thieves is an incredibly good team. Winning First Strike netted them the rights to call themselves “the first official champions of North America,” and in its first look following the championship victory against Team SoloMid, the team seemed to be living up to that name. 

Just a few months ago, 100T was an untidy roster just learning how to play as a team, and now it looks like the clear-cut No. 1 team in North America. 

From Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk’s entry fragging getting more and more deadly, to Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella’s lurk becoming increasingly dangerous, 100 Thieves looks like the most cohesive unit in Valorant

Guys, Ninja Isn’t That Bad at Games 

Screengrab courtesy of Jessica Blevins

Although many esports fans know him as that Fortnite streamer who hilariously failed to make Timer Square Floss, Ninja’s history as an esports pro predates many, and he possesses a long list of games he’s found competitive success in. 

The H1Z1, PUBG and Halo competitive scenes all saw Ninja compete as a successful pro, and even though pro gaming is behind the 29-year-old, that doesn’t mean he still can’t game. 

Racking up a win against FaZe Clan, Ninja’s performance wasn’t anything you’d find in an epic-gamer montage, but battling it out and keeping up with the best of the best is no small feat. Playing as the intel-gatherer in Cypher and Killjoy, Ninja managed to look respectable while playing the critical role for his team. 

The Debut of Leaf

With Shinobi gone, many Cloud9 fans were left wondering just who their next fifth would be. After Mitch “mitch” Semago accidentally leaked that leaf would be the one joining C9, the 17-year-old Counter Strike pro competed as a stand-in for the JBL Quantum Cup. 

Although his official debut against TSM was never actually broadcasted, fans were able to see leaf’s de facto debut against Gen.G. The young prodigy’s performances were subpar, as he never managed to achieve a positive KDA (kill/death/assist) ratio. 

Cloud9’s season has taken a major downturn, first missing out on First Strike and now going winless in this tournament. It’s hard to fault C9, as it hasn’t had many opportunities to practice with leaf, and again, best-of-ones get wonky. 

Cloud9 fans shouldn’t be worrying about their favorite Valorant squad though. With Tyson “TenZ” Ngo and leaf potentially joining as well, Cloud9 has two of the most deadly fraggers in North America, both still in their teens. 

First Strike Rematches

Courtesy of JBL Quantum

On day two of the JBL Quantum Cup, FaZe Clan took on Gen.G while 100 Thieves saw Sentinels, both significant rematches from First Strike. 

FaZe Clan previously knocked Gen.G out of First Strike back in November during the UMG Qualifier, and eventually lost to Sentinels in the regional Quarterfinals. This time around yield the same result, a victory for FaZe in 2-0 fashion

On the other side of the backet, 100 Thieves took on Sentinels. The two battled it out during the First Strike Semifinals, with 100 Thieves taking it in a highly intense series, and, of course, eventually beating TSM to win the event. In chapter two, Sentinels came out victorious in the final map and won the event 2-0 over FaZe Clan.

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