VALORANT North American First Strike Finals: A brief overview and best picks

The First Strike Global Finals is just three days away from crowning regional champions. With the inauguration of First Strike, RIOT wants to set a solid foundation for the VALORANT Esports scene. 

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When it comes to competitive VALORANT in North America, organizations like TSM, Sentinels, 100 Thieves & T1 are the most common names. Amidst the colossus, Team Envy has proved themselves to be a formidable foe. As for Tier-2 teams, Moon Raccoons is also capable of putting up a fierce resistance; sadly, they could not qualify for the main event.  

Before jumping into our top picks for First Strike Global Finals, let’s take a look at some of the potential usurpers. 

T1 & 100 Thieves

Slowly but surely, T1 has demolished all criticism with their fantastic performance during the closed qualifiers. After losing to TSM in NA Ignition Series Final, T1 decided to keep a low profile until their star player Skadoodle could get back to form. Food & Crashies were released from the active roster. The return of Skadoodle with the addition of Dazed provided the roster with some much-needed fuel. Except for Sentinels and Faze Clan, they were able to beat Cloud9, Immortals & Dignitas in the UMG Closed qualifiers. 

As for 100 Thieves, the newly formed roster had to prove many things before getting any recognition. The team has shown significant progress in the NSG Closed Qualifiers. They managed to win over TSM, Sentinels & LG. Asuna & Dicey’s implementation in the team brought substantial firepower to the squad. 

Moving forward, here is our overview of the championship title contenders.

Team Envy

The arrival of Food & Crashies worked like a charm for Team Envy’s journey to First Strike’s Main Event. With a 3-0 Scoreline against 100 Thieves, they secured 1st place in the NSG Qualifiers. Team Envy ensured their spot at the Final event with relative ease. Individual performance from Kaboose, FNS & mummAy helped to establish a perfect rhythm for Food and Crashies to assert their influence in important matches. Ultimately the team managed to qualify without any setbacks. 

TSM  

Home to North America’s elite Operator Wardell, Team Solo Mid is a frightening name in the VALORANT scene. With experienced players like Hazed, reltuC, and Subroza, TSM has a solid chance at reclaiming the title of North America’s finest VALORANT team. Recently, TSM improved their team chemistry and individual performance. During the UMG Closed Qualifiers Grand Final, TSM defeated Faze Clan with a 3-1 scoreline. Subroza’s mastery over agents like Omen and Reyna produced significant outcomes for TSM in maps like Ascent and Haven. If everything works out ideally for TSM, they should be able to retake the throne from Sentinels. 

Sentinels 

Sentinels had been outright consistent with their playstyle since their formation in April of this year. The organization hosts the former Overwatch World Cup Champion Sinatraa & Counter-Strike veteran ShahZam. Statistically, Sentinels holds the highest probability of winning the First Strike Tournament. However, TSM is lagging behind Sentinels on paper. While other teams rely on carefully prepared strategies, Sentinels squad is naturally aggressive and confident in their abilities. Needless to say, the general expectations from this roster is relatively high.

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While the North American Counter-Strike scene has been absent, it’s time for RIOT to grab the opportunity. First Strike Tournament will solve many puzzles and force teams to carry out extraordinary plays. 

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