Evil Geniuses and the Pittsburgh Knights qualify for the North American Stage 1: Challengers group stages out of winners, while Luminosity and Rise squeak into the last remaining spots through the lower bracket.

Evil Geniuses and the Pittsburgh Knights qualify for the NA Stage 1: Challengers group stages out of winners, while Luminosity and Rise squeak into the last remaining spots through the lower bracket.

After two weeks, hundreds of games, and many upsets, the 12 team North American group stages have been set. Version1, XSET, The Guard, and NRG qualified a week prior during Open Qualifier #1, leaving the final four spots up for grabs. 

VCT Qualified: Evil Geniuses

The famous North American organization has gone through many iterations of their Valorant roster since announcing their intentions to compete back in January of 2021. Full teams have come and gone over the course of the year with no results to show for it. Entering 2022, EG signed talented Sova Diondre “YaBoiDre” Bond, initiator Alexander “jawgemo” Mor, and Viper main Jeffrey “Reformed” Lu. 

The signings went along with bringing on former Overwatch League pro Kelden “Boostio” Pupello before stage three. The acquisitions formed the strongest EG roster in their short history, and pushed them over the qualifying barrier.

Furthermore, EG had arguably the toughest bracket. Facing upstart Team Basilisk, Ghost Gaming, and the top seeded team in Rise. In the wins over notable NA organizations, EG was pushed, but each player on the roster stepped up at different times. Bouncing back from an 0-2 finish at Open Qualifier #1, EG made a statement. 

VCT Qualified: Pittsburgh Knights

The Pittsburgh Knights have been one of the biggest grinders in North America. Playing all the Nerd Street events, slowly improving, and adding talented players in the meantime. All the hard work finally pays off, as the Knights take one of the four qualifying spots, beating Soniqs 2-0 on Sunday. 

Bringing together a number of North America’s best tier two players, like Joseph “ban” Seungmin Oh and Logan “skuba” Jenkins, elevated this team from a good tier two to one qualifying for VCT events. In fact, skuba finished at the top of the group in terms of Attack Combat Score (ACS) on Controller agents. 

VCT Qualified: Luminosity 

Luminosity Gaming (LG) spent the entire 2021 season fine tuning the roster, and struggling to make it past the top teams. However, organizationally, LG has shown a lot of support towards the Valorant side and has spent to make them competitive. In 2022, LG will have their strongest team since January 2021.

Fortunately for them, the bracket lined up to avoid Rise in the lower bracket, after falling to them in the round of 16. It took a 2-1 victory over Pioneers and a comeback from a 11-9 deficit against Soniq’s on map three to secure a spot. 

VCT Qualified: Rise

Of all the qualifying teams, the Rise roster has been together the longest. The same roster that made it to the brink of qualifying for Champions at the VCT Last Chance Qualifier. Unfortunately, Cloud 9 destroyed that dream. Now, after failing to qualify in the first open qualifier, losing to Version1 and NRG. The idea of Rise running through winners bracket felt like a given, but Evil Geniuses pulled the surprise upset. 

Falling to the lower bracket put immense pressure on these players to avoid another upset. In Lower Round 6, facing a Built By Gamers team who put together an impressive run of wins, Rise separated themselves on map three Haven, putting all doubts to rest, dominating 13-2.

VCT Group Stages start on February 11th.

Filed Under
Blake Van Poucke -

Blake Van Poucke

| Twitter: @TokyoDown

Blake Van Poucke is a Valorant writer at esports.gg. He found esports through the early days of MLG and the Super Smash Bros Melee scene. He's been competing and writing about esports dating back to 2008. He has written for several publications and wishes to return to in-person esports events in 2022