The UMG First Strike North America Open #1 was an outstanding display of what unsigned teams can accomplish with the right motivation. In the end, only four teams qualified to move on while the second UMG Open continues this weekend.
The First Strike events have been a display of the unpredictability of Valorant and that any team can win any day of the week. The four teams that qualified this week are Moon Raccoons, Equinox Esports, Immortals, and Andbox. Among the teams that competed this weekend and were defeated are XSET, NRG Esports, FaZe Clan, only proving that Playoffs aren't guaranteed. Moon Raccoons are one of the underdogs that top tier organizations should be looking out for. They managed to defeat FaZe Clan and Mamba Mode Gaming to make it into the Playoffs. This is a huge step from their round one knockout during Nerd St. Gamers Open Qualifier.
The first qualifiers
// And there we have it, the first four teams to qualify for Playoffs for @UMGGaming x @PlayVALORANT #FirstStrike Open #1@Moonraccoonsgg@EquinoxOKC @Immortals @andbox_official #Valorant #ValorantEsports
— VALORANT Esports (@EsportsValorant) November 13, 2020
There is an abundance of unsigned teams that compete in the Open Qualifiers. But the one team that struggled early on was Immortals. Last week they fell to XSET, only claiming victory on Ascent, which is historically XSET's worst map. This week they had an easier line-up, taking down Exodus, Orgles5, and then, SpotUp, before they faced off against Dignitas. Map 1 was close, but right as Immortals started getting into their groove on defense, the tables turned, and Dignitas ran through them.
On Split, the Immortals ran right through Dignitas, barely blinking at Phat “supamen” Le's flashy clutches. Haven was a terrifying showcase of how quickly an 11 round lead can slip away and become a defeat. Once again, Immortals pulled a massive lead on defense only to run a sloppy attack once they switched sides. Dignitas put up 11 round wins of their own. But unfortunately for them, Immortals were able to squeeze out two rounds before overtime became a possibility.
UMG's First Strike Qualifier is currently taking place as the second Open Qualifier gives teams one last chance at the Main Event in December. The next four teams to make it through the second Open Qualifier round will join Moon Raccoons, Immortals, Equinox, and Andbox in the Playoffs.