Our Stay Plugged In Valorant esports athletes began their journey toward the $1000 prize pool last Wednesday, as the Summer Series Invitational presented by Coca-Cola kicked off it's Day 1 matches on the Stay Plugged In Twitch stream. Fans and colleges tuned in to witness the top 8 teams battle it out. As expected, the two teams with the top records in the league made their way into the Finals. Even still. some really stellar talent got left behind in the thick of things. This time around, we will give you the breakdown of some of the matches we got to see first-hand, and go over how you can see the finalists in action next week.
Claremont High School vs Spartans
Watching competitive Valorant at Breeze can feel a bit repetitive. There's a good reason for that. The A-site is one of, if not, the most open site in all of Valorant. Viper can use her Toxic Screen to section off an entire space where the spike can be planted, and the defense can't get to it without either passing through the wall (typically a death trap), or by drawing up an obvious flank. Claremont could not figure out this puzzle in the first half, as Spartans took 8 or their 10 round wins via this tactic. The other two involved reading a full stack of A-site and playing towards B with virtually an empty site to work with.
Due to the Spartans carrying a (10-2) lead rolling into the half, and to their heightened ability to time crosses through the Toxic Screen when Claremont attempted the same A-site strategy, Spartans walked away with a (13-4) win to advance to the Semifinals. Miyamoto, yungchin, poptart lead the way with a combined 47/29/14 KDA, most of which could be contributed to fillup's toxin toolkit and shinuendo's 13 assists with KAY/O's nades.
Bald Babies vs Eclectiq Academy
A slow start for Eclectiq Academy, a statement which I never imagined I'd say through the two weeks we were able to see the team in action during the regular season. Though many had Bald Babies as an underdog in this matchup, I knew they would test Eclectiq early. That's what we got in this one. Bald Babies played disciplined, true to their positioning and trust teammates communication. Through 5 rounds, Eclectiq Academy was only able to muster up one round victory, and they were forced to use both Nightfall and From the Shadows ultimates to secure it.
Eclectiq's chamber "Boom" was a large reason for their turnaround. Boom is so effective with the Operator, and the numerous kills fed his ult points allowing him to switch back and forth between it and the Tour de Force (essentially an even better version of the Op). EQ won 9 of the next 11 rounds to push to an (11-6) lead. By this time, EQ had already found their stride on the defensive side. Calculated balanced switching between aggressive and conservative positioning based on the intel collected, EQ closes out the match with a (13-7) win. All five members of Eclectiq Academy finished in the top 6 in combat score, and Crush just edged out Boom as MVP with a 21/10/9 KDA.
IHT and EQ Advance
It was a solid run for the two UFEA Valorant high school teams here in the Summer Series. Spartans (VPHS) and CHS Esports knew that they would eventually end up against a squad not restricted by the confines of their school district, and when those two teams push respectively late into VCT open qualifiers on occasion, the cards were stacked against these two rosters.
CHS Esports went round-for-round against Eclectiq Academy in the first half of Map 1 at Breeze. Only 2 rounds separated them moving into the latter half, as they doubled up walls from their Neon and Viper to cut off the sightline of EQ's sniper-specialist, Boom. Eventually, Boom would make moves toward a more up-close and personal approach and became the match MVP, ending with an impressive 40/16/10 KDA in the two maps played of EQ's (2-0) win.
Meanwhile, Spartans (0-2) loss against Iron Head Tappers wasn't quite the blowout it could have been. Fillup came up with some highlight reel worthy clutch plays. Miyamoto, didn't shy away from the challenge as a duelist, keeping up the pace with the IHT crew. Both CHS Esports and Spartans would walk away in the 3rd-4th place slot, with $100 dollars in hand.
FINALS MATCHES AND HOW TO WATCH
Iron Head Tappers vs Eclectiq Academy
The Finals of the Summer Series Invitational presented by Coca-Cola starts at 7 pm ET next Wednesday on the Stay Plugged in main Twitch channel. Make sure to tune in to the pregame show, featuring another Coca-Cola Real Magic Moment, along with the end-of-season Player Awards ceremony beginning at 6:30 pm ET.