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A look back on the VALORANT Invitational

VALORANT Invitational image

It hasn’t even been a full month since VALORANT’s closed beta first launched. But since then, we’ve already seen a significant amount of high-level play during its first tournament, the VALORANT Invitational held by ESPN Esports. During this event, we witnessed some impressive matchups leading up to Wednesday’s semifinals and finals. Team Canyon, consisting of Apex Legends professionals, ended up beating Team Mirage, which comprised of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pros. The final match went 2-1 in a best-of-three rounds. But who was ultimately the MVP and how does the future look for VALORANT as an esport?

Who is considered MVP?

Three ESPN journalists sat down to discuss who they thought most-deserving of the title of MVP during the entirety of the invitational. One name that immediately came up was Spencer “Hiko” Martin. Team Mirage is already playing at a significant professional level and had some incredible statistics for the duration of the invitational. But it was ultimately Hiko that helped in setting up the rest of the team to clean up with fantastic Breach play. Still, this pick is somewhat controversial since Team Mirage ended up not winning the finals. Still, the team pushed the game to the limit. One match that stood out was the game between Team Mirage and team Dev as the players during the game showed significant levels of skill.

Another name that came up was Justin “Kellar” Kellar. Not only was he part of the winning team, but he proved his mettle on the field of battle. The team needed him at multiple points and he delivered with impressive skill. There were multiple times when he had to go one-versus-the-team to clutch out a round. But he proved calm and collective, making the most of ever opportunity to pull a win for the team.

A look at the Team Mirage vs. Team Dev match

The one matchup that is mentioned the most from this invitational was the one between Team Mirage and Team Dev. This showed the crowds a very satisfying glimpse of what VALORANT can be as an esport. Neither team was overly aggressive throughout the match, but it was still a remarkable game to watch. One team had the advantage of knowledge, whereas the other had a better grip on mechanics. It was ultimately Team Mirage that pulled out with a win, but Nicholas “Nickwu” Wu Smith and Salvatore “Volcano” Garozzo still proved that they are players to be reckoned with.

Nickwu’s remarkable gameplay set the bar for standards of how to play Sova. He showed remarkable control over the garage doors both when it came to attack and defense. Apart from one stray arrow that backfired, his strategy during this match translates perfectly to an instruction manual. The skill of each team’s players resulted in a very back-and-forth match, but this shows how the game was meant to be played. While VALORANT is still in its early inceptions, this match shows the vision and knowledge that its players have already managed to glean from the game thus far.

But the finals and the match between Dev and Mirage weren’t the only noteworthy parts of the VALORANT Invitational. What were some of your favorite plays and/or players?

Ryan Goodrich

Ryan has been writing since long before he could even write. He's written resumes, software user guides, consumer electronic reviews, and myriad web content spanning a variety of industries. But now he's writing about video games, which is much more interesting.

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