The grand final of the North American LCQ would see the fourth and final team to secure their place at Champions. The Guard The Guard North America Rank #4 trent Trent Cairns dropped just one singular map on their way to the final, facing a 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #3 bang Sean Bezerra Cryocells Matthew Panganiban stellar Brenden McGrath Derrek Derrek Ha Asuna Peter Mazuryk team that won three straight elimination matches to earn their chance to face the world's best.

Entering from the upper bracket, The Guard could mold the Bo5 matchup as they liked with two bans. The team opted to remove the two maps 100 Thieves were undefeated on in the LCQ: Breeze and Bind. Breeze was also the lone map loss for The Guard coming in. The map pool appeared to lean heavily in The Guard's favor.

Map 1 - Icebox

The Guard The Guard North America Rank #4 trent Trent Cairns 's first map selection was Icebox where they had found success in the LCQ. The Guard were 2-0 in the tournament, defeating both Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #15 TenZ Tyson Ngo ShahZaM Shahzeb Khan shroud Michael Grzesiek dapr Michael Gulino and FaZe Clan FaZe Clan North America Rank #5 POISED Kevin Ngo BABYBAY Andrej Francisty . 100 Thieves had also taken down FaZe on Icebox, but lost to NRG Esports NRG Esports North America Rank #8 s0m Sam Oh in their opening match.

Prior successes would not help The Guard out much. Despite winning the second and third rounds after a pistol loss, The Guard quickly found themselves down 6-2. JonahP attempted to turn things around for his team with four kills and a clutch, but The Guard's attack side left much to be desired.

The P was certainly pushed from JonahP on Icebox.

Winning both the pistol and eco to start the second half established a 10-4 lead for 100 Thieves. A few desperate retake attempts and nice Operator play from Sayaplayer were not enough to surmount a comeback. Derrek continued his impressive run of clutches with two 1v2's to help close the map out for 100T at 13-7.

It felt as though 100 Thieves had done their homework and more. Every push from The Guard had an answer. 100T gained access to the bombsites as they pleased, planting six times in just eight attack rounds. Derrek and Asuna each provided 20 kills and 177 ADR to lead 100T to the victory. The Guard in-game leader valyn struggled on KAY/O, finding just 5 kills in 20 rounds.

Can anyone stop this guy?

Map 2 - Fracture

After an impressive map one, 100 Thieves continued their momentum on Fracture. Yet again, the attack side from The Guard produced lackluster results. The aggressiveness from Asuna on Neon combined with support from his teammates found 10 first bloods for 100T in the opening half. When The Guard were able to shut down 100T's defensive executions, they then ran into the buzzsaw that was Will . Will finished on a 14/3 stat line to complement Asuna's dominant first half. 100T held a 9-3 lead heading into their attack side.

The second map ended up even less of a contest than the first. The Guard managed their first pistol win of the series and brought the score to 10-6 after a few round wins. Even with a weak economy across the final three rounds, 100T won each one in a scrappy fashion to go up 2-0 in the series.

trent tried to give his team a chance with this round, but it wasn't enough.

trent was the only player positive for The Guard on Fracture. Asuna remained blazing hot, contributing 322 ACS and 219 ADR to help lead his team to the victory.

Map 3 - Haven

The Guard's only hope of returning to LAN required a reverse sweep starting on Haven. In the upper final, they had dismantled FaZe to the tune of a 13-5 score. They found much more success to start when compared to the previous maps. Jumping out to a 5-3 lead, it looked as though The Guard had woken up. On their attack, The Guard took advantage of 100T's propensity to play for retakes; out of 12 first half rounds, The Guard managed 10 plants.

On the broadcast Sideshow mentioned 100T's 46% win on retakes heading into the matchup. That capability really shone throughout during the series, and no more than on Haven. Of the seven defense rounds won for 100T, five came from a defuse. Off the back of their teamwork and strong individual skill, 100T won the final four rounds in the first half to regain the lead at 7-5.

stellar finished off a retake with a 1v2, on the good side of a Phantom moment.

Those four rounds kicked off the run that ultimately broke The Guard. Winning the pistol, eco, and bonus gave 100 Thieves a stranglehold on the match at 10-5. The Guard pulled off a few of their own retake wins to try a desperate comeback to keep their 2022 VCT season alive, allowing them to survive a little bit longer to pull things to 12-9.

Round 22 had a weak buy from 100T, involving just two rifles. Three players went on the flank to try and crunch the fast 100T execute on the A site, but a whiff from Sayaplayer 's Raze Showstopper foretold disaster on the round.

The moment that clinched 100T's spot in Champions.

The Guard converted just 21 rounds across the three maps in the series. Despite some brief instances of success, the momentum never felt on their side. The Guard let 100T convert many weak buys into round wins across the series, resulting in The Guard's own weak economy at times. Ultimately, those issues let their dreams of returning to the international stage to avenge their prior appearance at Reykjavik crushed.

For 100 Thieves it was an all-around effort to secure their Champions slot. Every player except for bang went +10 or better in the series. The team as a whole seemed to improve the further the tournament went on. By ACS, Asuna was statistically the best player across the LCQ. Bang was not far behind him in 11th place. Derrek pulled off an insane 18 clutches as well.

This will be the second international appearance for the 100 Thieves organization, although Asuna remains the only player left from just under a year ago. 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #3 bang Sean Bezerra Cryocells Matthew Panganiban stellar Brenden McGrath Derrek Derrek Ha Asuna Peter Mazuryk joins OpTic Gaming OpTic Gaming North America Rank #1 and XSET XSET North America Rank #2 as the three teams that will represent North America in September at Istanbul.