This evening’s match at the VCT North America Last Chance Qualifier is a competition between the talented underdog squad of Shopify Rebellion, and the team once considered the best in North America, Cloud9. The match also marked the men’s Shopify debut VALUE team, although these players previously competed together in Luminosity.
After a night of overtime rounds and close maps, C9 and Shopify did not disappoint and delivered another close match. Recording their first shutout in the LCQ, C9 defeated Shopify 2-0, a scoreline that encapsulated just how close the series was.
While their absence from the roster looks very unlikely in 2022, they are no match for the other top teams in NA. C9, despite having made international LAN events in the past, has been seen out of roster changes early in the season.
For Shopify, fans are hoping that organizational changes can breathe new life into a team that has yet to break through the ceiling to the top tier. VALUE despite some close matches against some North American favorites.
C9 started the Ascent in a defensively dominant manner. Once Shopify got a foothold, however, the moose made a difference for the team with creative toys made smoking. Sneaking by defenders and firing shots, Shopify erased the deficit C9 opened up. The map was tied 6-6 at the half, making it anyone’s game.
After continuing to battle back and forth through 23 rounds, C9 took the map 13-10 to start the series.
Fraktur was the playground for Shopify’s Chamber bdog players, who ended the map with 40 kills to only 20 dead. The teams battled early with contrasting compositions and destroyed each other’s economies, with bdog showing star potential as he did in Challengers Stage Two.
Faced with bdog’s phenomenal performance, Vanity and Xeppaa made a difference for C9 with some important plays. The post-plant clutch potential of these two players cannot be underestimated, and they take on the attacking side with renewed energy. Vanity has been hailed as one of NA’s best game leaders in the past, and he proved at Fracture that he still has what it takes to be a team stalwart. After several rounds of overtime, C9 took the map 17-15. The veteran squad did well to show team balance and coordination, overcoming the bdog attack.
The biggest takeaway from this match is that every team in NA is fighting hard for this final LCQ spot. Even though both teams are not at the top level of the region, they are progressing and progressing.
C9 will advance to face the Sentinels in the upper bracket tomorrow, while Shopify faces the Sentinels in the lower bracket on Sunday.