Top Eight Teams at VALORANT Masters Tokyo Locked In
VALORANT Masters Tokyo’s Group Stage has ended. Of the 12 teams that flew to Japan, only eight remain in the fight for the $1,000,000 prize pool. The first four of which were granted automatic seeding into the playoffs for winning their respective regional leagues, except for Fnatic, who secured a second spot for EMEA by winning VCT LOCK//IN in São Paulo earlier this year.
|Top 8 Teams at VALORANT Masters Tokyo
NA Dominates Groups
After NRG’s loss to LOUD in the North American regional finals, NA would be left out of a group stage bye for the first time since this format for VCT Masters events was adopted. They took this personally, as NRG set out on a mission in Tokyo. In their opening match, NRG dominated Natus Vincere on their opening map of Ascent, but then lost on overtime on Lotus. The tiebreaker of Split was even more one-sided for NRG, leading to a 2-1 win.
The winners’ match against T1 started out with a narrow 13-11 loss on Lotus. NRG quickly picked up the pieces on their Bind pick, convincingly tying the series up. Pearl would be the final map to decide who moved on. Sam “s0m” Oh’s Harbor was a stable fragging force, earning a 1.32 rating with 257 average combat score and a huge 92% KAST (kill, assist, survived, traded). Duelist Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks also popped off on Jett by racking up nine first kills, good for a +6 differential. The 13-11 win secured a playoff berth for NA’s best team.
NRG wasn’t the only NA squad to show up big. Evil Geniuses came out swinging in Group B, earning their first seed finish without dropping a single map. While their opener against FUT Esports did have a close overtime call on Lotus, their dismantling of DRX in the winners’ match was truly impressive. They looked tactically superior on their Fracture pick, winning all but one round on the attack side and taking the map 13-5.
On Ascent however, EG’s stars outshined those of DRX. Max “Demon1” Mazanov crushed his opposition on Jett, going 7-0 in opening duels and laying down 183 average damage per round. That edge helped EG once again put up a dominant attack side, closing out the series with a 13-9.
EDward Gaming Make History
While China has been a dominant force in Riot’s other game, League of Legends, for many years now, the same cannot be said of Valorant. While Invictus Gaming and FunPlus Phoenix were winning Worlds titles, no Chinese team has ever cracked into the playoffs at a VCT event. That was until yesterday, when EDward Gaming broke through that barrier.
The org that won China’s most recent Worlds trophy in 2021 were coming off a disappointing end to their regional VALORANT season. They went into the FGC Grand Finals as heavy favorites with a two-map ban advantage, but were still bested by Attacking Soul Esports in the best-of-five. Still, EDG had done enough to make it to VALORANT Masters Tokyo as the very bottom seed. Their opening match was as much of a gut punch as possible. Against T1, EDG came close to stealing their Fracture pick, tied up the series convincingly on Haven, then lost an excruciating overtime on Pearl to drop to the losers’ match.
Needing to be near-perfect from here on out, EDG embarked on their lower bracket run. First up was NAVI. While the match ended in a 2-0, both maps were as close as could be. Pearl featured a quadruple overtime, eventually won by EDG after a phenomenal Operator round by Zheng “Zmjjkk” Yongkang. Bind marked the third overtime played by EDG in two matches. This time, only one extra period was required to crown EDG the winners, keeping their hopes alive.
The final match of the VALORANT Masters Tokyo Group Stage was between EDG and T1. Winner went to playoffs, loser went home. While many expected T1 to win the rematch much like they did in the opener between these two teams, EDG had other ideas. This was the most one-sided game of the tournament so far, as EDG crushed T1 13-4 on Fracture and 13-6 on Haven. The highlight of the match was Zmjjkk. He earned 42 kills and 204 ADR over 36 total rounds of play. This absolute clinic propelled EDG to the playoffs, making history for China in VALORANT.
The World Awaits the Favorites
While seeing all these Group Stage teams make their mark early in the tournament has been entertaining, VALORANT Masters Tokyo is about to really kick off. The double elimination format guarantees 14 of the highest level VALORANT games ever played.
The second international tournament of the VALORANT calendar year promises tons of highly anticipated clashes, including a potential rematch of the LOCK//IN Grand Finals between LOUD and Fnatic. Granted those two squads will start out on the opposite side of the bracket. In round one, fans can look forward to a VCT Pacific League grudge match between Paper Rex and DRX, a rematch of the five-map reverse sweep Finals that took place at the end of May.
Another regional showdown between LOUD and Evil Geniuses is also present in round one. While EG was not in that Americas Final, LOUD still stuffed them in the Winners’ Finals, dooming them to third place at the hands of NRG. This is an early chance for revenge for EG.
The VALORANT Masters Tokyo Playoffs will begin on June 15th at 11:00 PM ET (June 16th 12:00 PM in Japan). The initial matches are:
LOUD vs Evil Geniuses
Team Liquid vs EDward Gaming
Fnatic vs NRG
Paper Rex vs DRX