Malik Shelp
Malik Shelp
Malik specializes in esports photography, videography, video editing, and graphic design. He has also written Overwatch and DOTA articles for over 2 years for DBLTAP and other esports outlets. You can learn more about Malik on our About page.

Valorant First Strike UMG Closed Qualifier Ends with TSM Victory

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The UMG Closed Qualifiers ended with TSM walking away with a 3-1 victory over FaZe Clan, and two other teams will be joining them at the First Strike North America Regional Finals in December.


The UMG Closed Qualifiers was the last tournament before the First Strike North America Regional Finals, and it was an exhibit of anything that can happen in competitive Valorant will. Between TSM’s 7 round comebacks to Shanks filling in and not missing a beat, there is a lot to break down from this previous weekend. First things first, in the Group Stage, eight teams, two from each group, moved on to the Playoffs, where they were fighting for a spot at the main event. From Group A, Luminosity Gaming and Cloud9 Blue qualified, in Group B, it was TSM and FaZe Clan, in Group C, Gen.G Esports and Moon Raccoons made it through, and in Group D, T1 and Immortals dominated.

Quarterfinals and semifinals

There were high hopes for teams like Serenity and Moon Raccoons, but neither qualified for the Regional Finals. Unfortunately, we won’t see Cloud9 Blue or Gen.G at the First Strike North America Regional Finals, which is a considerable upset to what many predicted. In the Quarterfinals, Immortals beat Luminosity Gaming 2-0, TSM defeated the Moon Raccoons 2-0, Gen.G lost a bitter 2-1 to FaZe Clan, and T1 dunked on Cloud9 Blue with a 2-0 win. At the Regional Finals, T1, FaZe Clan, TSM, and Immortals will be joining Renegades, Sentinels, Envy, and 100 Thieves at the First Strike North America Regional Finals.

Immortals can thank a majority of their success to the pure confidence that Shanks exuded when subbing in for Shot_Up, who faced health issues starting in their match against T1 in the group stage. Despite Immortals’ loss to TSM, Shanks and the rest of that squad should be proud of what they have accomplished. Not only did he secure that team a spot at the Regional finals, but he also proved he was able to swap in and be successful. TSM brought the entire gun show to the Semifinals match, and as soon as Wardell was warmed up, everything seemed to fall in line. T1 vs. FaZe Clan started as a close battle on Ascent, but it quickly snowballed into an avalanche that buried T1.

The UMG Closed Qualifiers Grand Finals

The Grand Finals was a rematch for FaZe Clan, a chance to reconcile their loss to TSM in the Winner’s Finals of Group B only two days prior. The fighting spirit of the FaZe squad was in every round win. Babybay had no lack of tricks up his sleeve, but it wasn’t enough to stop Wardell from flexing. On Haven, TSM put up eight-round wins, only dropping two to FaZe Clan, and on Bind attack, TSM won six rounds back to back, dropped one round, and then put up two more to secure a map victory. It was clear that FaZe Clan wanted the win against TSM, pulling out all the stops to try and catch the team off guard. It wasn’t enough, however, as they fell to TSM 1-3.

The UMG Closed Qualifiers was more than an opportunity for TSM and, FaZe Clan to flex on the rest of North America. It was an event that showcased the unpredictability of Valorant and what teams like Moon Raccoons can accomplish in the right environment. It will be exciting to see what the First Strike North America Regional Finals has to offer, considering it is Riot’s first major Valorant tournament. The Quarter Finals matches are on December 3rd and will be Envy vs. Immortals, renegades vs. TSM, 100 Thieves vs. T1, and Sentinels vs. FaZe Clan. These matchups bring so many storylines to the NA Valorant scene and set up for an event filled with drama.

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