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Acend wins ‘Valorant’ world championship, defeating Gambit in Berlin

Acend competes in the finals on Dec. 12, 2021 in Berlin. (Michal Konkol/Riot Games)

Acend is the world’s first “Valorant” champion, beating Gambit Esports in the grand finals of Champions, the capstone event for the game’s first tournament circuit. The grand final, which took place at Verti Music Hall in Berlin, went to five maps in a best-of-five format, with Acend cinching the victory on the map Split, with a score of 3-2.

Acend takes home $350,000; Gambit will receive $150,000. The semifinal losers, Latin American team KRÜ Esports and Europe’s Team Liquid, walk away with $90,000 each. Event viewership peaked at 1,089,068 during the grand final, according to viewership tracking service Esports Charts.

“Valorant,” released in June 2020, is a first-person tactical shooter in which teams of five square off to be the first to win 13 rounds. Attacking teams need to plant a bomb in a designated site and stop opponents from defusing it. Defenders, by contrast, need to keep attackers away from the bomb sites or defuse the bomb once it has been planted. Also, both teams can win a round by killing all of their opponents.

After a year-long series of tournaments and qualifiers, 16 teams representing a range of global regions played at Champions. Gambit Esports, which is based in Russia, won the previous international event leading up to Champions, Masters Berlin. Acend lost to the North American team 100 Thieves in the quarterfinals of that event.

A number of the other squads viewed as possible finals contenders, most prominently the North American teams Envy and Sentinels, never made it to the quarterfinals. Instead, both squads were eliminated in upsets in the group stage by X10 CRIT, a Thai esports team, and KRÜ Esports respectively.

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