Acend is the best in the world - VCT 2021 Champions

VALORANT's first world championship, Champions 2021, has ended and the first world champion of this brand new game is Europe's one and only Acend! Acend defeated CIS representative Gambit in the final best-of-five match and took the $350,000 prize money plus their undisclosed share of the Champions 2021 Skin Collection. Let us take a look at how we got here and what happens next.

Champions 2021 and the VCT 2021 as a whole have been an amazing journey with many surprises that have left us all with unforgettable memories. From the fall of North America to the incredible performance of KRÜ Esports, it was one hell of a first major event. It's safe to say that VALORANT's professional arena proved its worth in 2021, and I am excited to see what happens in 2022.

2021 is almost over and Riot Games will probably introduce their new tournaments in 2022, but VALORANT’s professional arena hasn’t stopped. Find the best VALORANT events, check the betting odds and bet on them at Luckbox’s VALORANT page.

The final series

I keep saying how incredible Champions 2021 was as a whole, but the final series between Acend and Gambit is pretty special. It's always nice to see a complete best-of-five game in the grand finals, but the high level of play has made this series an important part of VALORANT's history.

Image via Riot Games

Two maps that were banned by the teams were Haven and Bind. Acend chose Ascent and Icebox, while Gambit Esports opted for Breeze and Fracture. Thus, Split had to be the decider. Interestingly, both teams won the maps they had chosen. Although this should be the case most of the time, it is not.

On the first map, Breeze, Acend had a big lead. With Jett from cNed leading the way, they made it 9-3 in the first half. Then the 9-3 curse was activated. Gambit Esports, known for their clutch plays and comebacks, showed incredible resistance in the second half. They won the first two rounds, but when they gave away the next two, it looked like Acend would end the map as the score was 11-5. However, GMB came out on top with an 8 round winning streak. nAt's 29 kills and 337 average fight points for Viper were certainly the deciding factor.

With BONECOLD's Sova, starxo's Astra, cNed's Jett and zeek's Kayo splitting the carrying responsibilities evenly among themselves, Ascent went so much smoother for Acend. With the right team play, they took home their own pick 13-7.

However, that did not faze the ice-cold Gambit Esports on the following map, Fracture. Outscoring Acend 11-1 in the first half, GMB annihilated the Acend defense. nAts was once again the highlight with 26 kills and 394 ACS Cypher.

Icebox was another close result. A combined carry by Jett from cNed, Reyna from zeek and Sage from starxo secured the map again for the European team, but it was far from easy. Both halves ended 7-5 for each side, leading to the overtime. Chronicle, sheydos, d3ffo, they all played at least as well as Acend's players, but it was not enough. Acend was the team that was able to focus on the game in overtime and quickly ended it 14-12.

This sent the series into the decider, Split. Once again, Acend managed to share the load between its players and not put its fate in the hands of cNed. On the other hand, it looked like Gambit needed d3ffo to carry them. Although they had a great start in the first half, Acend ruined it by taking a few rounds away from GMB.

With the score at 7-5 and the switch to attackers, Acend's chances dwindled as Gambit pulled away to 9-8. Acend needed four rounds to become world champion, to be the best in the world. They did it by concentrating on the game.

After the game, cNed showed great humility by saying that it was wrong to refer to Acend as "cNed and friends", claiming that he had underperformed during the tournament and that his teammates had carried him. While it is not true that he played badly, his teammates really excelled and showed that they all deserved the name. cNed, starxo, zeek, BONECOLD and Kiles. They created an incredible synergy and every single one of them was instrumental in this success. Congratulations Acend!

Image via Riot Games

Champions 2021 aftermath and comments

Overall, Champions 2021 was a success. From start to finish, we have seen incredible things. We saw Keyd Stars almost outclass Acend, we saw Sentinels, Team Envy and Vision Strikers get bullied. With VS out, Korea was eliminated early while NA had a chance with C9 Blue, which I regret. We should see more from Korea next year.

We should also see more from Turkey, Stage 3's overperforming region. But now when we get to the quarterfinals, we also need to say a few words about SEA and LATAM. X10 Crit eliminated Team Envy and then challenged Gambit Esports, the Masters Berlin champions.

Latin American team KRÜ Esports, founded by iconic footballer Sergio Agüero, was also one of the highlights of this event. KRÜ really outdid themselves. LATAM should get more attention next year. They deserved it.

The battles between the powerhouses were also incredible at Champions 2021. Not only were there surprises, but great teams showed their level and competed against each other. Sentinels vs Team Liquid, Fnatic vs Vision Strikers, Acend vs Team Liquid and Acend vs Gambit in the grand final were satisfying battles between titans.

Split became the most played map in Champions 2021, being picked 15 times. In contrast, Fracture was banned 20 times, making it the most banned map of the event. The map that favoured one side more than the other was Ascent, where the defenders won 55.2% of the rounds played.

The player with the most kills was Chronicle with 295 kills. There are four Gambit players in the top 5 and the fifth is not that far away, Redgar is in ninth place on the list. On the KDA, however, Team Vikings' Sacy is number one with 1.85. Of the teams that made it to the playoffs, Doma has a KDA of 1.75, followed by Zeek of Acend with 1.73. As for average combat value per map, Derke of Fnatic tops the list with 278 ACS/M. Derke also had the most kills per map with 22.2.

The viewership of Champions 2021 was 1,089,068, which to be honest is not too high compared to League of Legends and CS:GO. However, considering that it is a new game and the first world championship being played, this is impressive. The event had an average of 469,143 spectators. Many thanks to Esports Charts for these statistics.

Image via Riot Games

VCT 2021 has come to an end

VALORANT's first official tournament circuit has come to an end now. Of the three international tournaments, two were won by the EMEA. The North American Sentinels won Masters Reykjavik, where Korea showed its strength, and CIS' Gambit won Masters Berlin, where EMEA and NA dominated the tournament. In the end, Champions 2021 was won by a European team, Acend.

Next year we will probably see a similar cycle, though the word is that Riot Games will introduce more league-like structures instead of running tournaments throughout the year. After such a great start, we can only assume that Riot Games will try to push VALORANT even further and launch the CS:GO competition.

When a group stage match between G2 and Sentinels had more viewers than the ESL Pro League final, it was a win for VALORANT. However, compared to PGL Major, Champions 2021 had a much lower viewership. The game still has a long way to go.

You can find the best VALORANT events left in 2021 and those that will start in 2022, find the betting odds and bet on them at Luckbox’s VALORANT  page.