Liquid crush NA’s hopes with sweep of Cloud9 Blue in VCT Champions quarterfinals

An underwhelming performance by NA comes to a close.

Photo via Riot Games

Team Liquid took down Cloud9 Blue today in a close series, despite it only going to two maps, to advance to the semifinals of VCT Champions. A heroic performance from C9’s leaf wasn’t enough for the NA Last Chance Qualifier winner and NA’s last hope is now heading home.

Liquid changed up the Bind composition they showed against Sentinels, opting to place their star ScreaM on Reyna instead of Jett. The ability to devour and dismiss made the headshot machine even more dangerous, but the dominant player of the first half was leaf, whose pistol round ace fueled an 18-kill performance on defense. The two VALORANT teams traded rounds into a 6-6 tie at halftime.

Liquid jumped out to a three-round lead after claiming the pistol round on their defensive half. Both ScreaM and leaf continued to throw haymakers back and forth, and vanity got in on the action with a handful of late-round clutches to bring C9 back into it, taking a 10-9 lead. But Liquid responded, punishing C9’s B executes with either crisp retakes or brutal Judge multi-kills from L1NK under hookah window. In a huge two-vs-two post-plant on B, with Liquid leading 12-10, Nivera capitalized on a shocking blunder from vanity to secure the defuse and the map 13-10.

Both Jamppi and leaf took Jett on Ascent and both duelist stars were the big playmakers for their respective side in a hotly contested first half. Leaf continued his hot streak from Bind with 11 kills in just the first five rounds of Ascent, including another ace. Liquid salvaged a few unlikely rounds but still trailed 7-5 at halftime.

The two teams tied it back up at 8-8 before back-to-back strong site holds on A and B from Liquid bankrupted the C9 economy, with Liquid’s duelist duo of Jamppi and ScreaM stepping up in a big way. Liquid put their foot on the gas and got up to 12-8 before C9 rallied with a couple of big B executes. In the last regulation round, the two teams popped Killjoy ultimates at the same time in the post-plant, but Liquid got the frags needed to get the defuse and secure the map 13-11.

Liquid now advance to the semifinals on Saturday, Dec. 11, where they’ll face Acend in a rematch of the Red Bull Home Ground Two event from just a month prior. Liquid came out on top in that series 3-1.

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Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.