The most action-packed match of the competition so far.
M3 Champions conquered the first spot for the Last Chance Qualifier of Europe after one of the most remarkable series of the tournament against Team Liquid. The roster without an organization fought nails and teeth until the last two rounds in overtime of the third map of the best-of-three match.
The two teams started facing off on Breeze, a map picked by M3C, who started on the attacker’s side. The team only got to win the first pistol round before TL established their presence and dominion all over the map. Round after round TL kept on winning thanks to their synergy and communication that enabled precise, synchronized movements. When the sides switched, M3C looked more coordinated and confident on their map of choice. However, despite some flawless rounds from M3C, TL sat in the driver’s seat all along, and with an ace from Nivera, they closed the game at 13-8.
If VALORANT fans were astonished at M3C’s choice to start the match on Breeze, they would then have been left speechless to learn that TL decided to play on Bind, a map that historically is not part of their comfort picks. Once more, M3C started on the attacker’s side, and once more, it was TL who gained a significant lead in the first few rounds of the game. M3C got back up with relentless attacks and proactive plays on both the maps sides, thus closing the first half of the game in the lead with two rounds over TL. And M3C just kept on winning: the second pistol round, the flawless bonus round, and so on until they first reached the two-digit rounds mark. TL responded to M3C aggression with precise coordination and well-timed peeks, slowly closing the gap between the two teams, but it was not enough. Their individual mistakes, however small they may have been, were not insignificant and contributed to M3C’s victory, handing TL their first defeat in the entire tournament.
The third map and how it was played transformed this match from an interesting series to a great one. The teams played the deciding game on Icebox, and for the third time in a row, it was M3C who started on the attackers side, but this time TL won the first pistol round. In the first two games, it was TL who gained significant advantages in the first few rounds, but the story in Icebox was different as the two teams initiated a back-and-forth exchange of rounds between them. But once M3C found their rhythm and imposed it onto their opponents, they started a winning streak that lasted well over the switch of sides. With a sturdy and oppressively powerful defense, M3C widened the gap between them and their opponents so much that they claimed double the rounds of TL, reaching the matchpoint at 12-6 in their favor.
But the game and the match were far from over. TL broke their opponents momentum with several clutches and even a mind-blowing pistol ace from Nivera, remaining in the run for the win despite some potentially fatal individual mistakes. Their resilience and cold blood in the face of dire situations provided them a different kind of confidence and strength than before, allowing them to close the rounds gap one bullet at a time. Their individual talents and team experience brought TL to tie the score with M3C to 12-12, bringing the last game to overtime.
The next ten rounds would be a demonstration of the mental strength and technical talent of each of the ten players in the match, each fundamentally skilled and with the right inventiveness to hold their own against their equally talented opponents. But in the final moments, it was M3C who held their nerve and exploited their opponents’ almost imperceptible missteps to their advantage, using all their resources to engage in vigorous combat and ultimately win the series. Despite TLs brilliant and thrilling comeback, M3C claimed the victory with 18 rounds to 16, and locked in the first spot in the Last Chance Qualifier Grand Final.
The rematch between the two teams might still happen as TL still has one chance to make it to the Grand Final by winning todays match against the winner between G2 Esports and OG London United in the Lower Bracket Final.