After two days of competition, The Guard The Guard North America Rank #4 have conquered the Ludwig x Tarik Invitational by defeating TSM TSM North America Rank #6 in what is the final competition for both teams before Challengers North America begins.
The Invitational was set up as a four-team tournament: two partnered teams — Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #13 from the Americas and T1 T1 Korea Rank #3 from the Pacific — would match up against The Guard and TSM, two teams invited to Challengers NA. The two content creators put together a $50,000 USD prize pool that would be decided in a double-elimination bracket.
Most of the tournament was played out on the first day, which hosted the two opening matches, as well as the upper final and the lower semifinal. Due to time constraints, the upper final was reduced from a Bo3 to a Bo1, while all other matches were played out as Bo3.
The partnered teams each faced the Challengers teams in the opening round, but had split results. Sentinels had no qualms sweeping TSM, while T1 let slip two chances to close out their match against The Guard, which allowed the valyn -led squad to take an opening 2-1 victory.This is how you open up a tournament.
The Guard and Sentinels found themselves in the upper final, facing off for the first time since last year's NA LCQ where The Guard handed Sentinels a 2-1 result. This time, the two would be playing just one map to decide who'd move to the final of the LxT Invitational. The two squads tied both halves in the Bo1 match on Split to send the game into overtime, where The Guard won 16-14 to extend their unbeaten record against Sentinels to 3-0.
T1 and TSM returned to play soon after, in the Bo3 lower semifinal. The Korean squad struggled greatly against hazed and co., which ended in a crushing 2-0 loss that showed T1 still had improvements to make before VCT LOCK//IN. TSM were able to win Fracture (13-8) and Ascent (13-7) fairly handily, placing them in the lower final against Sentinels.
The lower final took place earlier today, opening the day of competition just prior to the showmatch. TSM carried over their performance from the first day of competition, showing great form against Sentinels and dropping just 15 rounds across the two maps to give themselves a 2-0 win. TSM had to claw together a win on their Fracture pick (13-9), but a near-spotless attacking half on Icebox gave them a clean 13-6 win that allowed the squad to move up to the grand final. For the new Sentinels roster, they had just hit their first big bump in the road in just their third match as a team a month out from the start of LOCK//IN.corey held up a 1.53 rating and 310 ACS on Icebox.
After a showmatch which pit shroud against tarik for the first time since May 2017, when both still competed in CS:GO, The Guard and TSM entered the server for the grand final. TSM managed to find their way back into Pearl on defense, which allowed them to force overtime for a 14-12 win. On Ascent, after an 8-4 defending half, The Guard held off a comeback from their opponents for a 13-11 win that triggered the Haven decider.
The final map was an absolute stomp from The Guard, who managed an 11-1 defending half off of six retakes. Two rounds later, the map was over with a 13-1 victory in favor of valyn's men. A faultless last map gave The Guard glory at the LxT Invitational, from which they also walk away with $30,000 USD.
With the LxT Invitational brought to an end, half the teams will have a month's break while the other half gets two more weeks to prepare for competition.
T1 and Sentinels will now gear up and continue preparing for the São Paulo-hosted VCT LOCK//IN, which will kick off the 2023 VCT season, while The Guard and TSM have until February 1 to lock in their final preparations for Challengers NA, where they'll get the chance to return to tier 1 competition.