With the growing gaming culture and popularity of esports, the CONQuest Festival 2022 prepared a two-day event at the SMX Convention Center where Filipino gamers and enthusiasts were granted an experience of a lifetime. CONQuest also saw special appearances from influential gaming creators and the intense competition of the AcadArena Alliance Games.
DLSU Viridis Arcus’ (VA) Call of Duty Mobile team rostered Markquis “Static” Lim (IV, CPE), Jericho “iPao” Gurtiza (I, BSA-ISA), Gabriel “E-Kove” De La Torre, Jericho “YungJ” Vibora (IV, OSDM), Marthur James “Mjay” Bayle (I, MGT), Joshua “Vegeta” Victoriano (I, MKT), and Jone “Poopy” Tajan (III, ISC). They completed their perfect undefeated season run with a 3-0 sweep in a masterclass against FIT Dasig at the AcadArena University Alliance Games Grand Finals.
The team from Taft won the map set: Summit Hardpoint, 250-196; Raid Search and Destroy, 7-6; and Summit Domination, 150-113.
On the Valorant side, VA capped off their season with a bang in a 3-1 win in the Grand Finals against the Ateneo LG Terra. The challengers from Katipunan put up a fight, showing that they can hang with the best but ultimately fell short in a jaw-dropping Map 4 duel. As heavy favorites, the stacked squad of Xavier “Xavi8k” Juan (II, MGT), Aaron “F1ssion” Sablay (I, AEL), Miguel “Guelson” Dy (II, CIV), Ron “Grossof” Rieta (IV, CIV), Arvin “Vintage” Vinluan (II, MGT), Derrick “Realist” Ong (I, APC), and Andrej “Ya0” Yao (I, APC) won in four maps. They conceded Haven, 13-11, but won the next 3 maps: Bind, 13-5; Split, 13-9; and Breeze, 13-11.
Perfect season, perfect ending
After achieving an undefeated record in the qualifiers, the VA CODM team were favorites in the Grand Finals. As VA consists of individual talents worthy of professional careers, the team was challenged with finding sufficient time for the players to conduct scrimmages as a team and to jell as a unit. Despite this hurdle, their experience and talent were enough to keep FIT Dasig’s relentless effort at bay.
Spawning into Summit Hardpoint, it was a close opening break for both teams as they exchanged leads in the first three hills. It was not the expected slay-heavy performance for VA. But after the first few rotations, La Salle found their groove and strung together chunks of significant time on the hardpoint, backed by fearless trades and squad wipes. VA broke every hill with ease as each member earned their chances to go on kill streaks. The final score was 250-196 as VA came from behind to go up 1-0 with the help of 40-kill performances from Mjay and Static.
Taking the first map and closing it out in convincing fashion, VA’s CODM team was surprised when the FIT roster then stole three quick rounds in the opening of Search and Destroy in Raid. However, it was not long until the first bloods, multikills, and trades went VA’s way as they played their man advantages in each round. The Search and Destroy match went back and forth with both teams garnering round wins after one another. FIT Dasig’s “Jyke” and and VA’s iPao and YungJ proved their worth for their teams in the late game scenarios, culminating in a stalemate at match point. Tied at six round wins each, YungJ took down two of FIT’s players. The opening two-piece gave VA the opportunity to wipe out the three remaining opponents and to seal the map. On the brink of a successful championship defense, VA was up, 2-0.
Moving on to the third map, VA gained control of the first half of the Summit Domination, 75-47, on the back of a stellar nine killstreak from Mjay. Determined to put up a fight, FIT Dasig clawed back by playing the objective heavily. But the effort fell short as VA recaptured every lost flag. The CODM team from Taft shifted into another gear, slaying out and raining streaks down to seal their ninth championship win in a row in the AcadArena Alliance Games.
A match for the ages
In AcadArena’s first ever LAN tournament, the stakes could not be higher in the Alliance Games Valorant Grand Finals. It was a classic rivalry battle for Ateneo and La Salle, where VA’s Valorant team aimed to capture their fourth straight Alliance Games championship against a hungry and skilled Ateneo LG Terra squad.
Right off the bat, it was LG Terra who made their presence felt in Haven. The first two rounds went the way of Katipunan, but in a blink of an eye, it was VA taking control as Grossof and F1ssion popped off to help their team win back-to-back flawless rounds. The Green and White continued to make plays and got each others’ trades to go up, 7-2, when LG Terra was able to win five straight rounds with great performances from “Moses” and “Flex”. With the game slowing down and tied at 11 round wins each, LG Terra went on to claim the final rounds and to secure the first map victory, thanks in large part to a clutch two-piece from Matteo in Round 23.
In an effort to bounce back from an early blunder, Xavi8k’s IQ and gun skill led VA to a five-round lead with the help of Ya0 and F1ssion’s key frags. LG Terra’s Flex and “Matteo” fought back and settled the score at 7-4 at the half, a spark that could mark a momentum shift. Determined to finish the final half of the map strong and with the win, Xavi8k flanked through the enemy spawn to find three of LG’s attackers to claim their first map win in dominant fashion, 13-5.
Loading into map three, VA got hot early to go up, 9-3, behind Grossof, Vintage, and Xavi8k’s unstoppable fragging that set up their post-plants. Ya0 also shined on the map with a triple-kill clutch for VA, to which Ateneo responded with four round wins to bring it back, 11-7. But it was not enough as Xavi8k and Grossof led the way to seal the map, 13-9, allowing VA to gain a 2-1 series lead.
La Salle would seal the deal in a Map 4 Breeze that was chock-full of thrill. Subbing in for this map were Realist and Guelson. Dy explained that the role of the substitutes was essential in Breeze, mentioning the team’s preparation for the map. “I just really believed in what we did beforehand, and it worked out nicely,” he added.
The first half was a firefight filled with highlight plays from Grossof’s Marshal-Jett combo that provided two near ace rounds, a Guelson 1-versus-2 clutch, and a flawless round to help put VA up, 6-3. Keeping their composure was LG Terra who seemed to have figured out every La Salle setup from this point on. For seven straight rounds, Flex led the Ateneo squad to an alarming 10-6 lead with an impenetrable defensive showcase.
On the cusp of a four-peat championship for La Salle, it was F1ssion who provided VA’s relief. In a monumental round that could have brought LG closer to match point, he found himself in a 1-versus-2 situation. With two flicks of his mouse, he clutched the round and gave VA the momentum. “It was that clutch from F1ssion to make the game 7-10 [that] all of us had our momentum from that point until the end,” exclaimed Dy. In-game leader Xavi8k also chimed in to commend his teammate, “Parang nabuhay ako when F1ssion did a clutch—from that clutch it was on and on and on.”
(It felt like I came back to life when F1ssion did a clutch…)
Mounting their comeback, Xavi8k and Grossof helped VA duel their way to three straight rounds that led the way for fail-proof post-plant setups. VA’s other substitute Realist had been flying below the radar for the most part of the map, but made the clutch play to stop LG from forcing a game five. Lining up at the mid doors with Sova in a 1 versus 2, he shot toward the spike at Pyramids to take out LG’s Moses and stopped the defuse.
Now leading 12-11 and at match point, VA made the aggressive push toward B with opening duels going their way to ensure the spike plant. On the retake, LG Terra was picked apart one by one to secure the game and to cement VA’s place as four-peat champions of the AcadArena Alliance Games. After the thrilling matchup, Rieta recounted his team’s dedication, “I know how much they wanted this and how much they deserve this. There’s a reason why we still remain undefeated.”
Only the beginning
After tasting success on LAN, both the VA CODM and Valorant teams have turned DLSU into an esports powerhouse. With a laundry list of achievements online, VA’s first LAN experience only proved that local esports is headed to greater heights. “It’s going on the right track, because the longer it gets, the more it surprises me,” expressed Dy, crediting the effort from AcadArena for producing the event.
With their crosshairs centered on the future, the growing esports community can find comfort in the success of CONQuest 2022 and the first AcadArena Alliance Games Championships on LAN as one of the game-changing events in local esports history.