New year, new split – the Student Champs are back and counting down the weeks until the Grand Finals event. But, there is plenty of action to come between now and then, and this week we kicked off with some VALORANT matches from four new teams battling for the top spot.
Tommy looks back at all of the action between Steel Haze and BCoT 7Ronin, and GC Esports Valorant and Hopwood Hawks from Wednesday 25th January 2023.
GAME ONE – Steel Haze vs BCoT 7Ronin:
Map – Icebox
Steel Haze (attacking first):
3110332 – Reyna
Nataniel – KAY/O
Kurisu – Viper
Cloak – Jett
Wheatley – Sage
BCOT 7RONIN (defending first):
Roomba – Reyna
RaZgArItA – Viper
KittyDestroyer – Sage
H20 Myst – Skye
JackHotep – Yuro
VALORANT Student Champs is back! To mark the start of the 2023 spring Steel Haze and BTOC 7Ronin picked up the gauntlet and stepped into Icebox.
Steel Haze started the match off on the attacking side. They barrelled through A site to quickly secure the pistol round and that economical momentum needed to take the second round. Like the first two rounds, Steel opted for another fast A hit for their bonus buy but a fully prepared retake from 7Ronin gave the defenders their first round win. Round 4, both teams purchased full utility and weaponry. Seemingly magnetised to this one area, Steel haze threw their speedy aggression at A site. This instantly got matched by a rapid retake. KAY/O(Natenial) managed to thrift an impressive 3k with quick reflexes and impeccable timing but ultimately fell short. This pivotal round went to 7Ronin.
A brutal back and forth ensued as the rounds progressed. The attackers hit B site 3 times, left Mid barren bar 2 rounds, and remained loyal to A. Steel Haze’s mechanical skill gifted them 5 points on the board with Reyna(3110332) leading the charge and picking up some crucial first bloods, but their lack of utility usage gave them an incongruous form which BTOC 7Ronin exploited. The half ended 7-5 in favour of 7Ronin.
The second half begins in deja vu – Ronin goes for 3 fast A pushes, winning the first two but losing out on the third, mirroring the opening of Steel. After this, Ronin started to wrangle the pace of the game, taming the tempo by questing into each round, poking and prodding to feel out the weak spots of Steel. This change of pace was a subtle stroke of genius as Steel were appearing to be struck with restlessness, over peaking and needlessly pushing, compromising their defence. Acutely aware players like Wheatley (Sage) were able to clean up overzealous defenders with ease, anticipating their moves and racking up their ultimate points to gain that important economical advantage.
A deeper understanding of the map and solid default strategies led BTOC 7Ronin to a deserved victory. The talent from the Steel players was undeniable and made this match interesting, it was a battle between intuitiveness and prudent planning. Unfortunately for Steel Haze, the 7Ronin team had a fairer balance of both. The game concluded 13 – 7.
GAME TWO GC Esports Valorant vs Hopwood Hawks:
Map – Ascent
GC Esports Valorant (defending first):
bugs in my skin – Sova
Clout – Omen
ekulul – KAY/O
Femboytastic – Killjoy
Doritos Bag – Jett
Hopwood Hawks (attacking first):
Cloud – Jett
Aeris – Omen
HopwoodHawks10 – Sova
mrjamigamingTTV – KAY/O
Jeiku – Killjoy
Hopwood Hawks vs GC Esports Valorant, the final game of the day, began in stark contrast to the previous match. Hopwood Hawks introduced a cautiously slow pace to the game, gingerly testing their opponent’s pressure points. A promising Hopwood execute on to B site was met by an anchoring Killjoy, kills were traded but GC came out on top with an impressively cohesive retake. Following this, GC stacked momentum on top of momentum with a variety of ever-changing defensive set-ups, and whimsical acts of disciplined aggression – GC seemed to be firing on all cylinders.
As round preceded round, the Hawks became increasingly tentative. Coming up against a team so congruous and prophetic can be truly tilting, and this is the mental dimension that Valorant places so much weight on. In the face of GC’s solid defence the Hopwood Hawks were plagued with indecision. The rounds seemed to slip past until the half ended 12-0 in favour of GC Esports Valorant.
GC was a team who knew their worth in this game, and the final round was concluded with a clumsy knife kill. GC found their groove and had fun dancing within it, this showed progressively as the match continued. Finishing 13-0, it’s certain the Hopwood Hawks have work to do. Often the most robust forces are made in fire and Brimstone, so I doubt this will be the last we see of them.
Eager for more Student Champs action? You can catch weekly streams over on the British Esports Twitch channel at 4pm every Wednesday, with the next stream featuring two Overwatch 2 matches.
As well as this, the Overwatch 2 Women in Esports Division of the Student Champs will be starting again in the next few weeks, with streams being featured every week over on the Women in Esports Twitch.