VCT NA Challengers Finals Preview
The Valorant Champions Tour has given competitive Valorant more growth than possibly any esport to come before it. Valorant is huge and is simply not going anywhere. Arguably, Valorant’s popularity is at its peek in North America. Massive organizations such as 100 Thieves, Cloud9, Sentinels, and more have brought plenty of eyes to the esport. Perhaps uncoincidentally, some of those aforementioned organizations are also some of the powerhouses in NA Valorant. They are just some of the teams participating in the Challengers Finals tournament to determine which teams will represent the region at Masters Reykjavík.
The Challengers Finals event will begin with its Quarterfinals round. Eight teams will go at it in a double elimination format. The tournament will consist of an Upper Bracket and Lower Bracket with two teams duking it out in the Grand Final. While those two teams face off for further NA supremacy, they can rest easy knowing they have locked in their trip to Iceland. North America’s representatives could be 100 Thieves, Andbox, Version1, Sentinels, Team Envy, Cloud9 Blue, XSET, or NRG.
Run It Back has the preview of the opening contests.
100 Thieves is 100 Thieves. That’s just a plain fact. At the time the VCT was announced, though, no one would have predicted Andbox being in this position. They have improved tenfold, being in a spot that the likes of FaZe Clan and Gen.G Esports are not. Andbox has lost some big match ups recently, but have also bested both Sentinels and TSM. 100 Thieves, on the other hand, hasn’t lost an official series at all in April. Valorant can be pretty random, but 100 Thieves are also very consistent. Look for Andbox to try and upset the First Strike champions, but don’t be surprised if that doesn’t happen.
Version1 is in a similar position to Andbox. No one expected them to be here, especially qualifying before Sentinels did. Well, that may come back to bite them as the seeding pits them against Sentinels in the Quarterfinals. While Sentinels has had some surprising losses, they have no trouble winning when it counts. With recent victories over FaZe Clan, Cloud9 Blue, and a BBG squad that shockingly upset Sentinels, V1 should not be underestimated. Sentinels most certainly knows that and will no doubt bring their A game to advance in the Upper Bracket.
Team Envy has been one of the best North American Valorant teams since the current iteration of the roster was established back in September. Cloud9 Blue has been extremely hot. Their only loss in the Stage 2: Challengers 2 Main Event was in the Grand Final to Sentinels. In fact, that series saw them lose their first map of the entire tournament. Of course, the easy thing to do is predict a Team Envy win. Cloud9 Blue could take it just as easy, though. This could be the most exciting match of the Challengers Finals opening round.
XSET is a team that has surprised a lot of people. It should not be that surprising, though. While they haven’t seen many first place finishes, they have constantly hung around with the best of the best. They tore through the Lower Bracket of Stage 2: Challengers, finally falling to 100T in the Grand Final. NRG is another team that has immense talent, but did not seem capable of pulling the trigger. They have made their presence known throughout the Valorant Champions Tour and this is the time where they can show everyone exactly who they are. NRG and XSET both have so much to prove. Remember Team Envy vs. Cloud9 Blue being the most exciting match of the Quarterfinals? Scratch that. This one could end up being a bloodbath.
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Brandon "Mothman" Moore
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