The Red Bull Home Ground event provided an interesting twist to the usual Best-of-Five format. With Team Liquid, G2 Esports, SUMN FC, and the Ninjas in Pyjamas in attendance, there were more than enough top teams to make this an exciting event. But at the end, it was G2 Esports again who took home the trophy after a weak conclusion to 2020.
Aleksander “zeek” Zygmunt fits well within the G2 structure. The Polish player rose to international fame under the nolpenki banner, a team that made the European First Strike event. So far, he has been a great replacement for David “DavidP” Prins. With a 1.15 rating for the event, he has positioned himself right behind Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks, who once again led the team in terms of stats.
Your Kings have returned ?
WE ARE YOUR HOME GROUND CHAMPIONS pic.twitter.com/2h0BpjGUzs
— G2 Esports (@G2esports) January 31, 2021
G2 kicked things off with a quick 2-0 over FrenzyGoKill. The particular ruleset of Red Bull Home Ground had both teams pick out a home map. However, if one team win both of these maps, the Best-of-Five was ended prematurely in their favor. So when FrenzyGoKill lost on Split and Icebox, they quickly exited the event. G2, on the other hand, advanced to the Semi Finals versus the Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas and his men won their map pick on a 13-10 scoreline. Kevin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans delivered a monster performance for the Ninjas, but his colleagues failed to hold up. Emir “rhyme” Muminovic only put up 10 kills, whereas the G2 players pulled on one string. On Split, he finally got going, and together with Yaroslaw “Jady” Nikolaev, he secured a quick 13-5 win for his team. Even though the 0-2 loss was now averted, G2 were the clear favorites on Ascent and Bind. They put an end to this Best-of-Five on a 3-1 scoreline and entered the Grand Finals versus Team Liquid.
THE LIQUID/G2 RIVALRY REBORN
Last year, the two teams had already delivered quite a few exciting matches. With Red Bull Home Ground, we had the first opportunity to see them clash in the new year. After all, it stood to question whether G2 would even be able to retain the same level with zeek on board and fight back to the top of the European scene.
Team Liquid kicked the Grand Finals off with a 14-12 victory on Icebox. The overtime loss was especially dangerous for mixwell and his troops, as a defeat on Split would spell the end for them. But zeek proved that he deserves a spot in the team, effortlessly securing a 1.61 rating as he helped G2 defeat Liquid on a 13-6 scoreline. On an even map score, the two teams moved over to Haven, where Liquid secured a narrow victory again. Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom played his heart out for this 13-11 victory, which brought his players within an inch of victory. Just one map win separated them from the trophy.
But at this point, ardiis and Patryk “paTiTek” Fabrowski had enough. Within just a few rounds, they stormed to victory on Bind, and on Ascent, all players jointly delievered a fatal 13-10 blow. Finally, G2 Esports had secured the trophy after five gruelling maps. But even though Team Liquid have only made second place, they just as much feel like winners here.
On a positive note, very big improvement as a team. Getting in some officials game feels good!
VCT is up next on Thursday 4th
Thanks for supporting us ? #LetsGoLiquid
— Liquid ScreaM (@ScreaM_) January 31, 2021
After all, the Grand Finals were much too close to call this a dominant success on G2’s part. Liquid themselves were only three rounds away from taking the victory home. Even though G2 have only played their first event with zeek as the new gun, Liquid obviously had no chance to properly prepare for their new player.
The fight for the top of European VALORANT remains just as exciting and tense. Team Heretics, the winners of First Strike Europe, weren’t in attendance and so the crown cannot properly transition until all these rosters meet. During the VALORANT Champions Tour, we will see which team actually has the upper hand.