Edward Gaming surprised everyone in their first match on the Valorant Champions stage by picking Pearl as the first map of their series against Paper Rex.
This tournament is the first to have the newest Valorant map in the rotation and EDG wasted no time in showing it off on the Champions stage. The pick was even more surprising considering that the Chinese team qualified from the East Asia Last Chance Qualifier, so the team had a short time period to practice the new map.
“We had less than a week,” EDG IGL Haodong ‘Haodong’ Guo said in a post-match press conference when asked how long they had to practice the map.
EDG almost notched their first map win on the international stage on Pearl, narrowly losing map 13-11 to Paper Rex.
Pearl has been out for casual and ranked play for some time at this point, but only tournaments outside of the Riot Games Valorant Champions Tour circuit have featured the map professionally.
EDG almost win opening Champions map
Paper Rex’s IGL Benedict ‘Benkai’ Tan said after the match that his team wasn’t expecting such a bold pick from EDG, but they were prepared to play on the new map.
“It’s definitely something we didn’t really expect, but we were prepared for it and as the map button went on it was pretty obvious that it’s still in a very unrefined stage,” Benkai said in a post-match press conference.
“But it’s good though, because that gave us the data on what to work on to improve for the next match.”
When asked what is different about Pearl compared to the other maps that EDG could have played, Haodong said that the map is played much slower.
“What I feel about the new map is, comparatively, we cannot be in like a rush to the bump side. It’s more like you have to play slowly,” the IGL said.
EDG went on to lose the series 2-1 against Paper Rex and move into the lower bracket of their group at Valorant Champions.