The Esports Team survived a scare at the hands of Fangs but had enough teeth to secure a narrow 2-1 series win (11-13 Ascent, 13-6 Split, 13-11 Haven) over the latter in Group B of TEC Gauntlet Group Stage.
Ascent started in a whirlwind, with Jay ‘Badlove’ Patil ensuring The Esports Team pocket the first pistol round on Ascent with a quad-kill. A triple-kill from Shreyas ‘Edit99’ Kshirsagar rescued what looked like an anti-thrifty loss to secure a 2-0 lead. However, Fangs started reducing the map control that TET had with precisely timed pushes and flanks soon, with the score quickly trickling towards 6-2 in their favour. A quick execute at B from TET yielded them their first buy round win. The two teams traded thereafter before a triple-kill from Badlove saw TET try to pull things back at 6-8. Siddhiraj ‘Cactus’ Mane and Kishor ‘Maverick’ Solanki though, came up with triple-kills of their own in the following rounds to push Fangs’ lead to 11-7. TET mustered up a great comeback, with the score poised at 12-11. Cactus broke TET’s hearts with a triple-kill to deny Overtime and secure a 13-11 win on Ascent.
A triple-kill from Mithul ‘Binks’ Nayak and TET started their defence on Split with the pistol round win. A quad-kill from Cactus in the fifth round of the map saw Fangs take the lead, with the scoreline reading 3-2 in their favour. TET spurred on from there onwards, bagging five rounds in a row, thanks to some good reads and strong presence towards mid. Maverick responded for Fangs, with a triple-kill clutch towards B halting TET’s streak, albeit temporarily as Sahil ‘strixx’ Rane was on point with the Operator, sealing 3 kills and an 8-4 lead for TET. Binks & co. didn’t offer Fangs much of an opportunity to make a comeback on Split, racing to a 12-5 lead before taking over the A site in the 19th round to capture the map 13-6 and push the series into the deciding map, Haven.
Fangs showed some teeth from the get-go on Haven, lapping up four rounds in succession before TET got in a win on the thrifty, thanks to Sami Ar ‘SSami’ Rahman and his Blade Storm. SSami stepped up to the plate once again, with a double to level the scoreline. Fangs go the spike down on every round that followed but managed to defend the plant just once, with TET mounting a mini-comeback to lead 7-5 at the halfway mark. A triple-kill from Cactus was not enough to complete the retake on the final pistol round of the series, with TET grabbing it and the following round to open up a four-round gap. The two teams traded rounds thereafter, with Fangs opting to play on the retake, albeit unsuccessfully as TET gradually moved to within a round of sealing the series in their favour, with the scoreline standing at 12-8. With the writing on the wall, Fangs saw their Jett rise up to the occasion once again as 11 kills in 3 rounds featuring a quad-kill and an ace catapulted Fangs to within a round of forcing the overtime. However, a well-thought-out execute towards A yielded control of the site for TET and they converted the same to eke out a narrow 13-11 win on Haven to grab the series 2-1.
Despite being on the losing side, Cactus was undoubtedly the star of the series, reigning supreme on the Valorant servers, with 73 kills over 3 maps along with 16 first kills to his name while handing an initial advantage to the other team on just five occasions. With his performance on the day, especially on Bind, Cactus seals the WD Black MVP for the series.