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Who will Dominate the VCT Americas League Kickoff?

Zakaria Almughrabi

The long VALORANT off-season is finally over. VCT Americas begins its 2024 Season on February 16. The two-week tournament is a chance for every team to show off their new rosters and vie for two spots at the first VALORANT LAN of the year, VCT Masters Madrid. A lot has changed since Evil Geniuses brought home North America’s first Champions title last August. Here are the top teams to watch going into the VCT Americas League Kickoff.

LOUD VCT Americas

Image Credit Riot Games | Stefan Wisnoski


LOUD is back in 2024 with mostly the same roster that took third place at VALORANT Champions 2023. Led by Matias “Saadhak” Delipetro, LOUD wants to continue its streak of never missing a VCT LAN event.

The only member of LOUD to depart the team following Champions 2023 was Erick “Aspas” Santos. Aspas was LOUD’s Duelist player, and he was a flashy and reliable one. Replacing him is no easy feat in theory. However, LOUD already has the structure of a top-tier team. If anything, finding a talented young player to slot in a Duelist is much easier than replacing an IGL or a role-player.

LOUD decided on signing 20-year-old Gabriel “qck” Lima from FURIA Esports to complete their roster. Said as “Quick,” Qck played last year off-role as a Sentinel. Even off-role, he was one of the bright spots on FURIA. Now, LOUD is giving him a chance to return to his Duelist roots and prove himself a top-tier player.

Despite aspas being much stronger than qck on paper, LOUD should still be an extremely dominant force in VCT Americas. They have some of the strongest players in every other role in the region. It would be a massive surprise if they didn’t finish in the top two and book their ticket to VCT Masters Madrid.


NRG was North America’s leading hopeful coming into VALORANT Champions 2023. However, they failed to make it out of the Group Stage, a massive disappointment for the team. NRG immediately planned on making roster changes heading into next season. One of their first moves was dropping long-time in-game leader Pujan “FNS” Mehta.

With big questions surrounding the team, NRG made the move to reach for two of the most valuable players on the market. They signed the duo of Max “Demon1” Mazanov and Ethan “Ethan” Arnold from Evil Geniuses. For their fifth man, NRG brought in Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen for an OpTic Gaming reunion with Austin “Crashies” Roberts and Victor “Victor” Wong.

On paper, this new NRG roster has the talent and the experience to come in as a top contender. Many want Demon1 to continue his Champions 2023 MVP form to get this team off the ground. There is a big question regarding this new look at NRG.

Previously, FNS called in-game for the team. FNS had over a decade of IGLing experience dating back to Counter-Strike. NRG’s new in-game leader is Ethan. While Ethan has been a pro tactical shooter player for about eight years now, he’s never been an IGL, especially not for a team with hopes as high as this. It will be a steep learning curve for Ethan, but certainly one that a player of his caliber can make. The question is if NRG can pull everything together in such a short tournament.


Ever since 2022, Sentinels has been stuck in mid-level team limbo. Their results have been a shell of what they were in 2021, even after overhauling their roster last year. Moving into 2024, Sentinels needed to make changes to elevate Tyson “TenZ” Ngo’s squad to the upper echelons of the Americas.

Sentinels had an issue with leadership in game last year. They’ve enlisted the help of Mouhamed “Johnqt” Ouarid to come to IGL the team. His exploits include leading M80 to the VCT Ascension Americas Grand Finals at the end of last year. Sentinels also moved Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro back to the main roster from the bench.

With Johnqt at the helm, Sentinels won the biggest off-season tournament at the AfreecaTV VALORANT LEAGUE in December. Their run included wins over DRX, Team Liquid, and last year’s Champions runners-up, Paper Rex (twice to boot). While an off-season tournament can’t be valued at the same level as VCT, this was still an awe-inspiring performance from Sentinels.

Coming into the VCT Americas League Kickoff, expectations for Sentinels are higher than they’ve been in years. While it’s no guarantee that they can solidify a top-two spot, Sentinels should have a head start thanks to this roster’s time together on a big stage in a two-week tournament; that alone could be enough to outperform the field.

Honorable Mention


One of the most exciting teams coming into VCT Americas is Leviatán. They’re coming into the new year with a rebuilt roster. Headlining these changes is the addition of Asas as the Duelist. Additionally, Leviatán signed EG’s support from their Championship run, Corbin “C0M” Lee. The main issue with Leviatán comes with the mix of players from different teams. While they look like a promising roster, it might be difficult to pull everything together off the bat.