The UMG Closed Qualifier is starting tomorrow and is the last stage of qualifiers for the VALORANT First Strike Main Event: NA which will run from December 3 to 6. Cloud9 Blue, TSM, NRG, FaZe and a few other top names will be trying to get the last four spots of the main event. The sixteen total teams are split into four groups, where each team needs to win two best-of-3s before losing two to advance to the playoffs. In the quarter-finals, the winner of each match will qualify for the main event.
The four teams already in the main event are Sentinels, Envy, Renegades and 100 Thieves. They were the four to get out of the Nerd St Gamers event. The teams that just missed out, T1, Complexity, TSM, and C9 Blue have been waiting for their opponents in their respective groups since that qualifier, as they advanced to the UMG Closed Qualifier automatically.
Group A: C9, Spacestation, Equinox and Luminosity
Cloud9 Blue has been arguably the third best team in North America after TSM and Sentinels. C9 ran through the first qualifier before they lost. Tyson “TenZ” Ngo is one of the best players in VALORANT currently, with three accounts in the top 35 of the NA rankings, as well as a nasty resume against top teams at events. They face Spacestation first, who have recent wins over FaZe and Luminosity.
Equinox is the second seed in the group, having beat Spacestation Gaming in the first UMG qualifiers. They missed out on the main event in the group stages of the NSG closed qualifier after losing to T1. Their opponent is Luminosity, a team that beat beastcoast in the UMG Open bracket to qualify for this event. All three of the teams after C9 have a good chance of qualifying, and if one of them were to knock off C9 it would be monumental.
Group B: TSM, NRG, Andbox and FaZe
This is the group of death. I’ll say it. There is no other group in this event with as much big-name organizations/talent. TSM is the clear favorite, with Matt “Wardell” Yu leading the way. Andbox, NRG and FaZe are the good but unproven teams that need to qualify for the main event. TSM will face NRG to start things off while FaZe will face off against Andbox.
Loic “effys” Sauvageau will be an important part of this team as he was brought in on trial just a week ago. He was able to help NRG qualify for the closed event, despite losing a 2-1 series to FaZe in the Open qualifier. NRG could get a rematch against FaZe right off the rip.
TSM needs to get to the bracket play easily and can’t stumble again if they want to prove they are the best team in NA. NRG might not be able to surprise them, but Andbox or FaZe could slide in and make it a bad day for Wardell and company.
Group C: Complexity, Serenity, Moon Raccoons and Gen.G
Group C is another group where all four teams could find a way out. Moon Raccoons have surprised a lot of people in these qualifiers, and a match against Gen.G to start things off could be critical. Complexity is a team that should be able to bust into the main event and make some noise as a sleeper team. Serenity has two losses to Gen.G, including one that knocked them out of the first qualifier. If they can get over that hump they can get out of the group stage.
Group D: T1, Dignitas, Immortals and Pittsburgh Knights
T1 is one of the big-name organizations that has had roster changes, as well as a fair share of ups and downs. A first-round match against Dignitas in the UMG Closed Qualifier won’t be easy, but T1 needs to find a way to win. Immortals have gone toe to toe with the best teams in NA VALORANT, but fell short to XSet in the first round of qualifiers. A win for them would be monumental, as they start things against Pittsburgh Knights.