April 8, 2022
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VALORANT’s esports scene is pretty busy right now. After an incredible series of regional events part of the VALORANT Champions Tour, fans had plenty of surprises – some good, some not so great – and an incredible amount of content coming from their favorite players and teams as they headed to the upcoming Masters event. From the wildcard regions to the bigger leagues, VALORANT’s esports is in a great place.

Now, the upcoming week will see things turning up to eleven, as the VCT circuit takes its next step. Starting Sunday, the second edition of the VCT Masters is set to start, and the twelve best teams from all major regions from the circuit will be competing offline in Iceland at VALORANT’s biggest stage.

Before the event itself starts, though, we have a golden opportunity to review everything you need to know before the tournament starts, as well as the storylines going on. And in this page, you’ll find all that and then some more!

TOURNAMENT DETAILS

The VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 Masters: Reykjavik will start this Sunday (10th), at 3:00 PM UTC. The event will kick off with between DRAGON X and ZETA DIVISION from Group A, and you will be able to follow all the action through VALORANT’s official Twitch and YouTube channels.

As for the tournament format, the VCT Masters 2022 will feature two stages. At the group stage, eight low-seeded teams will compete in two GSL groups, each with four squads. All matches will be best-of-three maps’ series, and the top two teams will advance to the playoffs, which is the second stage of the event. There, we’ll be seeing a double-elimination bracket in which the four qualified teams from the group stage are joined by four high-seeded teams. The lower-bracket finals and grand-finals will be BO5 games.

Finally, the event’s prize pool has yet to be disclosed by Riot Games, but it’s expected to be around $500.000. Moreover, circuit points will also be up for grabs, and the champions will be taking home 750 VCT points, while the two teams to finish in last place will end up with 125 points each.

Now we have the basics down, let’s take a look at VCT Masters’ group stage bracket, followed by the storylines for you to keep an eye on!

RISING CHALLENGERS

KRU is coming to VCT Masters with high hopes

While many will give their full attention to the favorites of the tournament, the first edition of VALORANT Champions last year proved that VALORANT has an incredibly deep team pool, and many of their underdogs around the globe can surprise. Case in point: KRÜ Esports.

Back last year, KRÜ surprised the world with their deep run into VALORANT’s biggest event to that point. With wins over FNATIC and SENTINELS, KRÜ established themselves as a powerhouse from the South American region. Now, they’re coming to another major event in Riot’s circuit, and of course, they’re coming here to impress.

Now, it’s also clear that no team will underestimate this KRÜ roster after such a performance, but it’s not like this was the reason behind their success. The Chilean powerhouse has found an incredible leader in Nicolas “Klaus” Ferrari. Klaus knows very well to use his players, and Angelo “keznit” Mori has fit perfectly into his system. Roberto Francisco “Mazino” Rivas Bugueño has also proved to be a rock-solid initiator for his team.

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT KRU

While KRU certainly has been a fan-favorite after their storyline last year, there’s another team stealing the underdogs’ spotlight. Coming from Brazil, LOUD had a very strong campaign so far in 2022. The organization certainly is content, as in less than three months since the organization entered VALORANT, their first roster is already making to the game’s biggest stage.

However, differently than KRU which has already proved themselves in the international leagues, this is LOUD’s first appearance on a major, international tournament. The stakes are incredibly high and the pressure will be on, and this creates a dangerous scenario. Yet, LOUD seems to know how to deal with such conditions. Admittedly, LOUD looked shaky at the start of VCT: Brazil Challengers, but the team quickly worked on their main flaws, and had an incredibly strong showing at that event’s playoffs.

LOUD could go even further than KRU did at VALORANT Champions 2021 here at VCT Masters. The Brazilians have found an incredibly mix of firepower with precise mid-game calls and this makes them one difficult opponent to battle no matter which team faces them. So, it’s no exaggeration to say that for LOUD, it’s a matter of being ready to achieve the greatness they’re bound to find.

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

Every region in VALORANT has their favorites. Yes, even though things are a bit more complicated in Europe and North America right now. In the same way, these favorites also have some rivals, following them so closely, that it’s fair game to say they are in their shadows, just waiting for an opportunity to rise above and get ahead of them.

Coming to Reykjavik in a position not much different than the one described above is OpTic, Team Liquid and even FNATIC. These three teams are closely following the best teams in their regions, and now that some of the previous favorites are out of the way – like Cloud9 and ACEND, this tournament will end being the perfect opportunity for them to overtake their rivals.

Of course, it won’t be easy. At the European side of the ring, we will be having G2. Žygimantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas squad themselves is looking to take the spot of best team in Europe by themselves here. Back at VCT EMEA Challengers, G2 failed to best FunPlus Phoenix, and since FPP will miss this tournament, they won’t be getting a rematch soon. Still, winning this event and concretizing themselves as the disputable best team in their region will be an achievement for sure.

As far as North America goes, things are a bit clearer. The Guard has risen from the shadows themselves earlier in the year. Now, all things considered, they are among the favorites to win this whole tournament. OpTic, in the other hand, has always been a decent team, but not one that could consistently challenge the best squads in their region. Until now, that is. After beating Cloud9, and even The Guard once, they could be in their way to give us yet another surprise.

THE OUTSIDERS

Europe and North America have always been the most popular regions in VALORANT, with South America and Asia slowly rising in popularity over the months. However, it’s undeniably that there still is a massive gap in prevalence between EU and NA to the rest of the world. Fortunately, the VCT Masters gives teams from smaller countries a chance to change this. KRU certainly did this last December, and LOUD could be the break through story this time around.

However, what about Paper Rex, from Singapore, XERXIA, from Thailand? There’s also DRAGON X, from South Korea. And let’s not forget about ZETA DIVISION either, the Japanese squad which by now is already a household name. What about these four teams? Well, these are wildcard teams, and they could surprise us just like every other team around, but it’s undeniably that they haven’t proven to be in the same league as the dark horses of the event.

Still, the playstyle these teams use is certainly interesting. Furthermore, it’s great to check the progress squads like these four manage to achieve since the last time we last caught up with them. Not everyone closely follows the Asian-Pacific circuit, for example, so the VCT Masters serves as an opportunity for these rosters to showcase how much they have advanced, and hopefully, they can take a win or two in their run.

ALL EYES ON REYKJAVIK

This Sunday, VALORANT will kick off its first premier LAN of 2022. After the opening game, fans of Riot’s FPS will be set for a week of great games and surprises. And in order to keep up with all that, make sure to follow us here!

@mjunior