Acend emerged as the winners of VALORANT Champions 2021 after taking down Gambit Esports in a five-map thriller on Sunday, December 12. With that, the European squad became the first-ever Valorant world champions.
A Near-Flawless Run
The VALORANT Champions 2021 kicked off on December 1 at Marlene-Dietrich-Halle in Berlin, Germany. It featured 16 of the best Valorant esports teams in the world, who competed for the lion’s share of the $1,000,000 prize pool and the title of world champions.
The field featured juggernaut teams from all regions, including Sentinels, Team Liquid, KRU Esports, and the reigning Masters Berlin champions, Gambit Esports, Yet out of all the squads who attended the event, it was Acend who stood out.
As EMEA’s top seed, Acend were expected to make some noise at VALORANT Champions, yet no one expected them to end up hoisting the trophy. However, the European squad quickly proved they mean business.
Acend got off to a shaky start to the group stage, as they needed three maps to take down Keyd Stars (2-1). However, once Acend found traction, there was no stopping them.
In the final round of the group stage, Acend crushed one of the tournament favorites, Team Envy (2-0), to book a spot in the playoffs. And while many believed that was the end of the road for Acend, they had other plans.
In the quarter-finals, Acend eliminated Team Secret, to which they added a shockingly good performance against Team Liquid in the semis. Expected to struggle, Acend humiliated Liquid with 13-6 on Bind and 13-5 on Split, proving to the world that they mean business.
By qualifying for the VALORANT Champions 2021 finals, Acend were set to face their biggest challenge yet. Awaiting them in the finals were the reigning Major Berlin champions, Gambit Esports, which the esports bookmakers had priced as heavy betting favorites.
But once again, Acend proved all the doubters wrong.
A Close, Yet Well-Deserved Win
The VALORANT Champions 2021 grand finals kicked off on Breeze, and from the get-go, it was clear that Acend came to do some damage.
They took a commanding 9-3 lead, setting themselves up for an easy 1-0, but things did not go as planned. After the switch, Gambit found traction and produced a remarkable comeback to take the series lead with 13-11.
Things looked much different on Ascent, where Acend had full control of the game from start to finish. The first half was relatively close, with Acend securing a 7-5 lead before the switch.
They kept their wheels spinning on the defending side and locked in six of the remaining eight rounds to win the map 13-7.
Tied at 1-1, Gambit and Acend entered Fracture, where it was all Gambit. After losing on Ascent, the Russians turned on their jets and crushed Acend with a dominant 11-1 half as attackers, to which they added two more rounds (2-2) to win 13-3.
After such a dominant performance, all the eyes were on Gambit to seal the deal and take home the trophy. But the pressure was too much for the Russians to handle, as they crumbled in the final two maps.
Acend took a 7-5 lead on Icebox but let it all slip away in the second half when Gambit tied the score at 12-12 and forced overtime. However, they couldn’t close it out and lost the overtime 12-14.
After forcing game five, Acend had the wind in their sails and used the momentum to complete what they’ve started on Icebox. They won on Split with 13-8 to close out the series and emerge as the new Valorant esports world champions.
The First-Ever Valorant World Champions
By winning the VALORANT Champions 2021, Acend emerged as the inaugural world champion. Besides collecting the trophy, the European squad also received $350,000 in tournament winnings, while Gambit took home a $150,000 consolation prize.
Acend managed to complete their road to the title by dropping only three maps across the tournament. Meanwhile, Gambit made their road to the finals as enjoyable as possible, as they saw all of their series go the distance, failing to produce a single clean-sweep.
The VALORANT Champions 2021 also broke the viewership records for a Valorant esports event. As reported, the tournament peaked at 1,089,068 viewers, with 46,015,094 hours watched and an average viewer count of 469,143.