VCT Stage Two Challengers One preview
The first Challengers event in Stage two of the VALORANT Champions Tour is here. The eight teams that made it through the open qualifiers will fight for a chance to automatically qualify for the Challengers Two main event. The bottom four teams will be sent back to the open qualifiers to fight their way into the Challengers Two main event.
The top eight teams include notable names that previously competed in First Strike and Masters One. There are also new faces who will try to make a name for themselves in Stage Two. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect from each match.
100 Thieves Vs. Andbox
100 Thieves is the North American First Strike champion. The team also qualified for the Masters One tournament but was eventually eliminated by Gen.G. However, 100 Thieves still has one of the best rosters in the region and is ready for another chance at a major event.
Just before the start of Masters One, 100 Thieves surprised everyone by dropping Quan “dicey” Tran. The team replaced him with former CS: GO professional Ethan Arnold, one of the best young players in the scene.
Ethan added a lot of experience and talent to the roster, but many questioned if it was the right choice before one of the biggest tournaments of the season. 100 Thieves beat Immortal 2-0 in its first Masters One match, but it was the last game they won in the tournament.
100 Thieves failed to win a match against Sentinels and were sent home by Gen.G Sentinels went on to win Masters One, and Gen.G had an impressive run that almost no one expected.
The 100 Thieves roster already proved it can dominate the region at First Strike. But its lackluster performance shows there is still room for improvement. If the team can return to its former glory, Andbox will have a tough time staying in the winners bracket.
Andbox is a talented team that has won multiple smaller events. It failed to qualify for First Strike and Masters One but still has a chance to redeem itself.
Anbox won the NSG x Renegades Invitational and placed third in the Nerd Street Gamers – Winter Championship. But it has since struggled to make it into a main event. The team has won its last four matches, but it will face a massive challenge against 100 Thieves.
Cloud9 Blue Vs. Immortals
Cloud9 Blue lost Tyson “TenZ” Ngo after he stepped away from professional VALORANT in January. The team struggled to compete with other top teams after his departure and failed to qualify for Masters One. But it has won its last nine matches and looks good going into Challengers One.
Cloud9’s first match in Challengers One is against Immortals, which bowed out rather quickly from the Masters One tournament. But Immortals have won four matches since Masters, including a decisive 2-0 victory against TSM. TSM previously eliminated Immortals from First Strike, and the team finally got its revenge.
Immortals’ Rhett “Kehmicals” Lynch confirmed the team would be strict in practice after their disappointing finish at Masters One. If the team took the time to learn from its mistakes, it could easily defeat Cloud9 in the first match.
But Cloud9 is on a hot streak with a lot to prove. This matchup could go either way and will be one of the most exciting games in the first round.
XSET Vs. Built By Gamers
Built By Gamers is fresh off a dominant win against Sentinels. This was a significant victory as Sentinels recently dominated in Masters One, and many expected the team to continue its onslaught. BBG recently acquired two new players on Trial: Raymond “rakar” Xu and Jake “Poach” Brumleve. The new roster appears to be effective as the team is currently on a four-game winning streak.
BBG’s first opponent, XSET, made it into the Masters One tournament but failed to win a single series. The team lost to FaZe Clan and Gen.G and finished the tournament in the 7th-8th place slot alongside Immortals.
But the team has since gone undefeated and most recently beat NRG Esports. XSET also defeated GGB twice during the Complexity x NSG Invitational, including a 2-1 victory in the grand finals.
The revamped Built By Gamers roster might be enough to take on XSET, but it should be a close match.
Envy Vs. Version1
Envy was one of the top teams going into the Masters One event but failed to meet expectations. The team struggled against FaZe’s aggressive playstyle but did survive by beating Luminosity in the losers bracket. But Envy was eliminated from the tournament by Gen.G.
Envy has gone undefeated in its last four matches. It recently beat eUnited and Ghost Gaming to secure its spot in the main event. But the team will have its work cut out for them against Verson1.
Version1’s roster consists of former CS:GO professionals and VALORANT players that have already made a name for themselves. The team beat Renegades and, most notably, FaZe Clan to secure its spot in Challengers One.
Envy has strong leadership in Pujan “FNS” Mehta, who has years of CS:GO experience. The team also has one of the most consistent rosters in VALORANT, which means chemistry shouldn’t be an issue.
Version1 will have to prepare for Envy’s meticulous, slow playstyle to defeat the talented team. But Envy did struggle in Masters One, and its possible Version1 could be its undoing.
The VALORANT Champions Tour Stage Two Challengers One main event starts on April 8th at 2:00 pm CT.