TSM come out on top in Challengers 2, setting up the playoffs bracket. The top 3 teams will represent North America at Masters Berlin.

With Challengers 2 concluded, the bracket is set for Challengers Playoffs in North America. 8 teams will duke it out from August 11th to 15th. On the line are three spots to represent the region internationally at Masters Berlin. So who made it through, and who are the favourites?

TSM are finally back in form with Challengers 2 win

It’s been a long time since TSM were competitive in North American VALORANT. Ever since First Strike, at the end of 2020, they’ve been unable to even make it past an open qualifier, bar one time in Stage 1 where they were immediately sent home in the next round. But we’ve now finally seen them make significant roster moves, and it’s paid off. TSM are the champions of Challengers 2 and move on as the fifth seed.

TSM’s first match was a crazy one against Gen.G. One of their maps went to 44 rounds, and the whole series took a massive four hours. After that, though, they’d find considerably less opposition. A 2-1 win against T1 qualified them for Playoffs, and subsequent wins over Luminosity and FaZe secured them the first seed. While they were seeding games, considered much less important, they still cruised through these last two matches with some ease.

Speaking of teams back in form after a long time, FaZe Clan secured the second seed. They haven’t been competitive since Stage 1 earlier this year, and it’s good to see them back up top. Luminosity and Rise also secured spots. Notably, Reykjavik representatives Version1 are out of the running for Berlin, after placing 7th-8th.

Challengers Playoffs bracket and opening matches

Credit: VLR.gg.

First seed Sentinels will take on Rise in the opening match of Challengers Playoffs. This is a series the world champions should take easily – they’re far and away the favourites to win this whole event. Envy and TSM alongside them, however, will be a great matchup. Envy have consistently been a top four team in North America, while TSM are on the come-up and coming off a big tournament win.

On the other side of the bracket, 100 Thieves take on FaZe. This should be another close match, though I think most would rate 100T as a few steps ahead of FaZe. XSET-LG, meanwhile is a very interesting series. Both teams look reinvigorated following some roster swaps, and XSET have a deserved reputation for choking in these final events.

Who will be going to Berlin?

When it comes to favourites, Sentinels are way out in front. While there were some close series, Sentinels won Challengers 1 and clearly have another gear they can shift to.

Sentinels lift the Masters Reykjavik trophy. Image credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games.

I’d also say TSM are a strong contender. Roster move buffs seem to be real in VALORANT. We”ve seen it time and time again that a team will make a personnel swap right before a big event and find some serious success. TSM seem to be riding one of those highs right now; we’ll see how far they can take it.

Finally, Envy, 100T, and XSET are clearly top contenders. Each of these teams has been among NA’s best for a long time, and is now looking for their big international breakthrough. It’s also likely one of them takes a spot, as TSM and SEN are on the same side of the bracket. But can another stave off hungry teams, like TSM, in the lower bracket?

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Shawn

Shawn "Germanicus" Heerema

Writer of the Month: August | Twitter: @GermanicusCVIII

A writer from Niagara, Canada, Shawn covers VALORANT and League of Legends. Previously of THESPIKE.GG, he's a fervent follower and supporter of the Asian VAL scene. And somehow, he remains convinced that PUBG is the most fun esport to watch as a spectator.