The non-franchised VCT teams performed better in the first VALORANT tournament of 2023.
The Ludwig x Tarik Invitational was the first offline tournament held in the VCT 2023 calendar. Although it was a B-tier event with only four teams, many VALORANT fans tuned in to watch the two-day tournament over the weekend. While Sentinels were considered favorites going into the Invitational, The Guard surprised everyone with their performance. They conquered every team, winning the tournament and taking home $30,000 in prize money.
Apart from co-hosts Ludwig Ahgren and Tarik Celik, many notable personalities from the VALORANT scene like Sideshow, Balla, AEvilcat, Bren, and sgares also came together to commentate on the matches and proceedings.
On the first day, The Guard beat T1 and the Sentinels decimated TSM, allowing both winning teams to advance to the upper-bracket finals. Unfortunately, Sentinels lost here and dropped to the lower bracket, while The Guard qualified for the grand finals. Meanwhile, TSM triumphed over T1 and was set to face Sentinels the next day.
On the second day, TSM played against Sentinels in the lower bracket. They were able to win back-to-back maps to kick Sentinels out of the competition and move to the grand finals. Next was a show match between Offline TV (Tarik, Masayoshi, Brodin, yvonnie, and QuarterJade) and Mogul Moves (Ludwig, shroud, Aiden, envy, and Yingling). It was a back-and-forth series with the Offline TV team securing a 2-1 win over Mogul Moves.
The Guard looked more prepared than TSM in the grand finals. Even though TSM won on Pearl and took the lead, it was a close call. The Guard bounced back by winning on Ascent to equalize the series. In the decider game on Haven, TSM got wholly crushed. The Guard dominated and had dropped only one round before winning the map and the series.
With Guard winning the Ludwig x Tarik Invitational, the VALORANT offseason draws to a close. Although the non-franchised VCT teams like TSM and The Guard performed much better than T1 and Sentinels, the latter teams cannot be written off. Many teams are still in midst of adapting after the roster shuffle in the offseason. As they settle down, these huge talents are bound to pop off at VCT events.