VCT Masters 2 Reykjavik Grades: SEN Get An A+
VCT Masters 2 Reykavik is done, and that means Riot’s first international VALORANT LAN is in the books. The event produced several great stories and moments. Sentinels’ dominant run through the upper bracket. Version1’s statement win over Team Liquid. Fnatic’s resilient performance alongside Boaster’s rise to stardom. The Korean legend Solo perhaps ending his career on a high note.
The tournament was not perfect as a whole, but rarely is any esports tournament perfect. Reykjavik was the final piece of VCT stage two, and like how a big group project sometimes ends a semester, we’ve got to hand out some grades.
Sentinels definitively and flawlessly answered the question of who the world’s best VALORANT team is. A perfect 9-0 record throughout their upper bracket run. Their only close calls came against a team playing them a second time after a confidence-building lower bracket run. Tyson “TenZ” Ngo has made a case for being the game’s most mechanically gifted player. He led the entire field of players in ACS (average combat score) and KD ratio.
The team around him is tremendous on its own, bringing an aura of control, confidence, and crispness. Combining the two gets you the results we saw in Iceland: utter dominance. They also took the biggest leap forward solely from being on LAN. They’re at the top of the class.
By no means did Fnatic have low expectations for VCT Masters 2 Reykjavik, but they still pleasantly surprised a lot of viewers. While many like myself thought Derke would be the one to carry, and he did have some great maps, it was Magnum who came up massive whenever Derke was having a quiet map. Outside of Sentinels, Fnatic handled whatever was thrown at them, in the form of Version1, Liquid, and NUTURN. Even against Sentinels the second time, they looked far more dangerous than they did in their opener.
And if the participants of Masters 2 Reykjavik were a class, Boaster would, hands down, be the teacher’s favorite. He can be goofy and talk a bit much, but he brings up the energy all by himself, he’s an absolute delight, and past his goofy exterior he’s incredibly bright.
If Team Liquid were a group project, they’d be one with two members doing all the work while the whole group uses a dated textbook. ScreaM was a standout throughout the entire tournament, and against Brazilian/Latin American opposition, Liquid looked untouchable. But any team with championship aspirations should be able to handle the lesser regions. This is no disrespect to those regions, but the amount of CSGO talent that’s migrated in Europe and NA has resulted in a sizable disparity.
It was against those regions where Liquid struggled, losing to V1 and Fnatic. Whether it was pressure put on themselves like V1 vanity believes plagued them, their unwillingness or inability to use or prepare for Astra, or just some off days, their losses in their big matches leave a mark.
Any LAN event is bound to have some technical problems. Given that this was Riot’s first crack at hosting an international LAN ever, some pauses were sure to be expected. But there were certainly more than there should have been, and some of them were really long. As a general rule of thumb, if you run out of pre-made videos because the pause duration is so long, that’s a bad side. It’s not the fault of the production/operations crews, they’re doing the best they can, but some of the pauses really took viewers out of it.
The talent at VCT Masters 2 Reykjavik gets an A though. Talented names from CS:GO, League of Legends, and Rainbox 6 among others showed out across the analyst, host, caster, and observer role. Casters specifically showcased a variety of styles, with established veterans like Rivington, ddk, and Pansy proving to be reliable as ever, while newer casting faces like EsportsDoug had breakout performances.
Listen, there’s not a ton you can do with a ten-team format. If it were up to me, it would have been two round-robin style groups of five, with the top three teams advancing to a six-team playoff. The winner of each group would get a direct spot in the semi-finals. There’s nothing wrong with a double-elimination bracket, but the way of going about seeding at Reykjavik didn’t make a great deal of sense.
The winners from NA and Europe getting top seeds in the second round just because of the region’s player base size is a weird metric to use. Forcing half of the remaining teams to start in an upper bracket play-in also doesn’t make sense, because they either get sent down to the lower bracket right away or they half to play a “top seed” if they win their play-in. And if there is going to be an upper bracket, it’s strange to see the upper bracket winner get no advantage. Not that Sentinels needed one, but not even a map veto advantage seemed like a weird omission.
The performances from all the attending teams were incredible. They produced big plays, got hype on stage, and had a lot of fun with introductions and during the pauses. After months of watching players sitting in dimly lit bedrooms and home offices, seeing them come alive on stage is a welcome sight to viewers and a great sign for the future of competitive VALORANT.
Even with the myriad of tech pauses and questionable format decisions, VCT Masters 2 Reykjavik was a success for VALORANT’s first LAN. Compared to some of the biggest CS:GO events ever, Reykjavik hit high marks for average and peak viewership. Its 1.08 million peak viewership number is third behind ELEAGUE 2017 and 2018 majors, and its average of 488,276 is second behind ELEAGUE 2017. The future is bright for VALORANT esports, and the hype for Masters 3 Berlin is already building.