It’s official: Team Heretics have beaten SUMN FC and seized the title of champions of Europe.
It was an all over the place series, to say the least. There were moments where SUMN looked completely lost, and moments where it looked like Jake “Boaster” Howlett was about to carry his team to the heavily sought-after European title.
At the end, it was Christian “loWel” Garcia Antoran and the rest of Team Heretics coming in clutch and winning First Strike themselves.
An Underdog Story
When First Strike was announced back in September, not many expected the two teams competing in the Grand Finals would be SUMN FC and Team Heretics. That’s because Heretics hadn’t yet entered Valorant and SUMN had barely cracked into the European tier-two scene.
Even as the First Strike qualifiers came to an end and analysts began prepping for the main event, the public still viewed the likes of G2 Esports and FunPlus Phoenix as the heavy favorites to win it all.
Then came crunch time, and Team Heretics upset Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom and Team Liquid. Then, with the towering G2 Esports as their next challenge, the Heretics once again came through and upset the tournament favorites, while SUMN FC upset FPX across the bracket. During their last remaining challenge and final opportunity to prove themselves, Team Heretics were the ones to come up clutch, and proclaim themselves the one-and-only champions of Europe.
Coming Up Clutch
It truly was the little things that pushed Team Heretics over SUMN FC this series. Although they seem insignificant, brief moments of coming up clutch with pistols piled up, leading the Heretics taking 14 out of the 16 total pistol rounds.
Although the score may make it seem like Heretics dominated all the way through, this series was incredibly close, coming down to brief, intense moments that Team Heretics had the upper hand in.
The clutch factor from players like loWel and Melih “pAura” Karaduran was seperated Heretics and SUMN. Coming into the day, all ten players knew that they would have to step up. Fortunately for the Heretics, they were able to execute under the mounting pressure, when SUMN failed to.
SUMN Simply Not Ready
Unfortunately for SUMN and their newly-made fans, the team’s performance was lacking and not up to par with a championship-contending team.
As a roster loaded with young talent, it looked as though the team was just not ready for what Heretics were throwing at them. With three out of their five starters never even playing in a LAN tournament before, that inexperience showed against a talented Heretics squad.
All five of SUMN’s players went through periods of struggle, as highlighted by their 13-1 loss on Ascent. Only SUMN player Muhammad “Moe40” Hariff managed to get more kills than deaths throughout the series.
SUMN FC’s inability to play the game the way they wanted to was another contributor to their loss. SUMN are a team that rely on Boaster’s brain to outmaneuver their opponents, but for whatever reason, it was clear from their strategies that they just weren’t ready for Team Heretics.
As an in-game-leader coming into a tournament with so many different teams, you can only prepare for so many of them. It’s very possible that with Team Liquid gone, G2 Esports beaten, and FunPlus Phoenix defeated, SUMN just didn’t have enough time to prepare for Team Heretics.
Nevertheless, Heretics came through when they needed to, and took the throne for themselves. Both Heretics and SUMN FC have proven to be two of the top teams in the region. Going into 2021, the two will look to continue their domination, but only Team Heretics will be remembered as the first ever champions of Europe