AUTHOR: CHRIS "BEARLIGHT" LEE / @BEARLIGHTCASTS
Road to Radiant Week 38 took place this past Wednesday for our Stay Plugged In Valorant esports recruits, sending us full speed ahead into the final month of 2022. Over the course of the past 11 months, Road to Radiant has seen an influx of teams enter to improve their play, display their dedication to the recruitment journey, and connect with colleges of interest along the way. We have seen numerous teams compete in Road to Radiant since it's launch at the beginning of the year, and this week one of those teams were able to validate the notion that hard work pays off. See which familiar faces took the Finals in this week's BearLight breakdown.
FINALS: JITTERBUGS vs YOUMATTER
Given the fact that both teams had a pretty trouble-free route to the Finals, both teams agreed that a best-of-three would be most fitting for the finish of this week. You have to love when the competitive instinct kicks in and all players are willing to deny the easy way in exchange for more challenging options, allowing for more practice for themselves at the end of the day. The Finals started at Ascent.
MAP 1: ASCENT
It was clear that the Jitterbugs' attack chose the aggressive approach when SMRTY (Raze) as an entry ... duelist?? ... led a 5-player rush onto the A-site in round 1, planted the spike, and waited for the opposition's attempt to retake against a full-hold. Jitterbugs would take that round and the next three through pure force. Their methodical, heavily coordinated pushes into A-main and B-main, and subsequentially through the choke points of their respective sites put YouMatter on their heels early.
However, after a strong start on a round 5 mid push by the Jitterbugs, ASCE managed to keep them at bay back at Defender's Spawn and picked off two when outnumbered 4-2 to even out the playing field. Jitterbugs swung out to pick off Asce on his final kill, but a quick trade from SABO would bring us to a 1v1 scenario. Although Sabo had the HP advantage by about 150%, it was SMRTY he would have to duel with. The two danced back-and-forth there in spawn, but eventually SABO would pull off the clutch to give YouMatter their first round win.
That would be the highlight moment in an otherwise map-to-forget for YouMatter, as Jitterbugs would head to map-point after a decisive 13-3 victory. Standouts for Map 1 include YEETNATIC (Brimstone) with 15 assists, and SMRTY (Raze) and REZAH (Phoenix) with a 24/10/10 and 17/8/7 KDA respectively, all members of the Jitterbugs.
MAP 2: FRACTURE
YouMatter had a few minutes to regroup, but would it be enough time to adjust against one of the top North American up-and-coming teams? Fracture is a map that doesn't get a ton of love, but the excitement every time it is chosen keeps it in the rotation for us. SMRTY also made a move to the agent Killjoy, which was interesting given his strictly Raze play in the past and on a map that typically calls for a Raze, no-less. The thought that perhaps this could be a break for YouMatter began circulating the Stay Plugged In HQ.
Unfortunately for them, this map started out precisely how Map 1 did. Four-in-a-row for Jitterbugs set them up beautifully for another stronghold later on in the map. YouMatter wrestled a couple of rounds away by the end of the first half (score at 10-2), and with a pistol-round win to jumpstart the second, they finally found a small opening for their first back-to-back round win set which would move them closer to striking distance. VIXI was playing exceptionally well, averaging just under one kill per round at this point and was attempting to keep spirits high amongst the rest of the YouMatter prospects.
A valiant effort against a stellar team, however YouMatter would fall in the next three rounds and be bested in the best-of-three Finals.
WINNERS & FINAL THOUGHTS
Congratulations to the Jitterbugs for their Road to Radiant title again this week! This team continues to get it done, even with new players rotating in over time. This time it was REZAH and ZEEZ newly fitting in to the victorious equation. PLEX and YEETNATIC continued to be staples in this group, and it was SMRTY is awarded the MVP title again here in Week 38.
Just a couple of more weeks left before Road to Radiant pauses for the holiday break. Make sure to hop on and challenge the Jitterbugs for their title next Wednesday by visiting the registration pages located on our events page. You can also keep your eyes on that same page as more events are announced for the upcoming season.