The conclusion of the lower bracket matches in the North American Last Chance Qualifier brought just as much, if not more excitement than the previous days. Cloud9 Blue Cloud9 Blue North America Rank #4 xeta Son Seon-ho (손선호) Xeppaa Erick Bach leaf Nathan Orf mitch Mitch Semago vanity Anthony Malaspina defeated both XSET XSET North America Rank #5 dephh Rory Jackson zekken Zachary Patrone PureR Bryce Lovell AYRIN Jordan He and 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #2 Hiko Spencer Martin Ethan Ethan Arnold nitr0 Nick Cannella Asuna Peter Mazuryk and will advance to face Rise in the grand final, where North America's last Champions representative will be decided.

Match 1: Cloud9 Blue vs XSET

In echoes of their previous draft the day prior against Version1 Version1 North America Rank #11 Zellsis Jordan Montemurro penny Erik Penny effys Loic Sauvageau wippie Maxim Shepelev Oderus Chad Miller , XSET picked Bind with the hopes of replicating their successes on the map. The first half began with heavily contested fights at the choke points of both sites, with a great deal of utility investment required to safely get into the site. The score at the half was a respectable 7-5 in favor of Cloud9 Blue.

Both teams were running mirrored comps with Astra, Viper, Sova, Skye, and Raze, meaning that attacking teams would have to spend a great deal of time using their own abilities to counter what the defense had put out, or by simply waiting out potentially lethal abilities found in the kits of Raze and Viper.

In the eyes of Rory "dephh" Jackson, he believes that Viper is a mainstay on the map just like in others that have been played a considerable amount in this event such as Split, Icebox, and Breeze. “Just having the Viper delay and the default walls that she (can put down) on A...it's so hard to get up certain sites like hookah and short A. And I can't really see it changing soon unless there are other agents added.”

Which weapon is the better one again?

The second half was much more one-sided for C9B. The only stumbles they had were off the back of individual heroics from dephh in round 15, which gave XSET an easy round win afterwards in a low buy round from C9B. Once C9B were able to get a full buy, the rest of the map went solidly in their favor, giving them the first map in the series.

On Ascent, the second and final map in the series, both teams showed well-practiced attack sides, and looked evenly matched despite the 8-4 half score. The second half of the map was a true nail-biter, with a round 23 timeout by Cloud9 giving them the pause they needed to compose themselves when they were down by two rounds with XSET at match point. Cloud9 Blue eventually prevailed, sending the series to overtime.

In overtime, an off angled Sage wall in B main by Erick "Xeppaa" Bach caught the XSET players off guard, destroying their hopes of a clean site retake. Cloud9 Blue went on to win the next overtime round, ending XSET's tournament run and putting them one step closer towards the grand final.

A common off-angle spot, exploited to the fullest

Match 2: Cloud9 Blue vs 100 Thieves

With both teams desperate to keep their tournament hopes alive, the final match of the day was set to be an exciting one. Icebox was the first map of the series, and 100 Thieves began with a strong attacking side, claiming six straight rounds before Cloud9 Blue were able to get a round on the board. Despite the 8-4 half score, both teams had to fight tooth and nail for every single round.

The second half of the match saw many more rounds go the way of Cloud9 Blue, with seven straight round wins to start the half. Clutch plays by Nick "nitr0" Cannella allowed 100 Thieves to hold off Cloud9 Blue long enough to send the series to overtime. In overtime, 100 Thieves managed to take the map after Spencer "Hiko" Martin proved once again that he is among the best in the world in critical 1v1 scenarios. Peter "Asuna" Mazuryk was the standout player on the scoreboard, netting 30 kills and a 345 ACS.

On Haven, the first half saw slow and methodical plays from both teams, but evenly matched scorelines at the half. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the first half was Anthony "vanity" Malaspina's melee kill through the Astra wall into a 1v1 clutch.

Nobody could have predicted this to happen in a match with such high stakes

With the antics of the end of the first half pumping the team up, Cloud9 Blue came out of the gates in the second half with five straight round wins, forcing 100 Thieves to call a time out going into round 18. That timeout allowed 100 Thieves to compose themselves and secure the next three rounds. Cloud9 Blue weren't willing to let their map pick slip through their fingers, and Xeppaa once again stepped up in rounds 21 and 22, securing crucial kills while 100 Thieves were flooding into the A site to secure Haven and send the series to the third map.

On Breeze, Cloud9 Blue brought back the same agent composition that they used in their match against Gen.G Gen.G North America Rank #9 gMd Anthony Guimond koosta Kenneth Suen NaturE Nicholas Garrison Shawn Shawn O'Riley , which featured KAY/O, an agent that has been starting to see more use as a mix-up over Skye, whose pick rate throughout the event has still been very high.

In the first half, Cloud9 Blue were solidly in control of their attacks onto both sites, precisely dissecting the 100 Thieves defense by frequently having another team member in close proximity to trade. This was key in claiming certain areas of the map that could allow the rest of the team to take a site with relative ease. Cloud9 Blue finished the first half up 8-4.

The second half saw stout defensive play from Mitch "mitch" Semago, whose Cypher presence made 100 Thieves rethink what site they were going to attack mid-round on multiple occasions. In the final round of the series, Mitch and vanity teamed up to create a pincer onto the attackers, splitting their attention between the two threats in A main and the two coming from attackers spawn. This strategy was effective enough to allow Xeppaa and Son "xeta" Seon-ho (손선호) to clean up the remaining members of 100 Thieves and punch their ticket to the grand final.

The final match in the NA LCQ is scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. Eastern, and will be a best-of-five series. Whoever comes out on top will represent North America at Valorant Champions in December.