The clout Super Bowl is here – eight teams battling for the final North America Champions spot in the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ).

The clout Super Bowl has arrived – eight teams that qualified during the VCT Challengers season will compete for the final North America Champions spot in the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). Only one team in the crowded field of eight will make it to Istanbul and be granted the ability to compete for the most illustrious title in VALORANT. 

Faze Clan – 3.25 (Numbers include betting odds)

  • Duelist: Andrej “BABYBAY” Francisty
  • Controller: Phat “supamen” Le 
  • Sentinel: Quan “dicey” Tran
  • Initiator: Kevin “POISED” Ngo
  • IGL: Xavier “flyuh” Carlson

Faze Clan enters the week as the tournament favorite, according to Bet365. The third place side at VCT NA Challengers Stage 2 brings back a loaded roster with two stars. Dicey has had mixed results with 100 Thieves but has found new life in the Chamber. In 366 rounds during Stage 2, Dicey led damage numbers nearly across the board and was second in First Duel success rate only behind Jacob “yay” Whittaker.

100 Thieves – 3.5

  • Duelist: William “Will” Chieng 
  • Controller: Sean “bang” Bezerra
  • Initiator: Derrek “Derrek” Ha
  • Initiator: Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk
  • IGL/Sentinel: Brendan “Stellar” McGrath

Time played a major factor in 100 Thieves crashing out of Challengers Stage 2. In a few months, 100 Thieves assembled a brand new roster and coaching staff with virtually no time to become acclimated with each other. Despite losing to XSET and Faze, 100T showed plenty of promise with one caveat: no Chamber player in a meta defined by the French Sentinel.

NRG – 6.5

  • Duelist/Flex: Sam “s0m” Oh
  • Controller: Ian “tex” Botsch
  • Initiator: Daniel “eeiu” Vucenovic
  • Initiator: Ethan “Ethan” Arnold 
  • IGL/Controller: James “hazed” Cobb

Adding Ethan in April brought a new dimension to an NRG roster needing a retool. Furthermore, he got a renewed optimism for a club lacking recent results. After missing out on Challengers Stage 1, NRG turned the corner, went on a rampage in Stage 2 qualifiers, and carried that momentum over to escape out of groups and qualify for NA LCQ. With wins over EG, The Guard, and Ghost Gaming, NRG proved a level of potential but needs more consistent results out of their top fraggers.

EG – 8

  • Duelist: Alexander “jawgemo” Mor
  • Sentinel: Kellen “Boostio” Pupello 
  • Controller: Vincent “ Apoth” Lee
  • Initiator: Corbin “C0M’ Lee
  • Initator/Flex: Jeffrey “Reformed” Lu

Evil Geniuses is a sleeper pick in this bracket. It’s a bracket full of parody among the best team and it appears as if nearly every team has a chance to make a run. EG is in the conversation if jawgemo and Boostio show up to NA LCQ swinging. Boostio on Chamber and jawgemo on Raze are capable of hard-carrying, both sporting top 11 ACS (jawgemo at first overall 264.9 ACS in 389 rounds).

Cloud9 – 9

  • Duelist: Nathan “leaf” Orf
  • Initiator: Erick “Xeppa” Bach
  • Sentinel: Mitch “Mitch” Semago
  • Flex: Rahul “curry” Nemani
  • IGL/Controller: Anthony “vanity” Malaspina
(Photo by Lance Skundrich/Riot Games)
 

Once considered a favorite back in Challengers Stage 1, Cloud9 has dropped down to the bottom half of the North American teams in the NA LCQ. The loss of Son “xeta” Seon-ho and coach Yoon “April” Eu-teum proved to be costly as c9 couldn’t regain their footing in such a short amount of time. Curry has had mixed results on the Initiator and his performance here will likely decide the fate of the roster moving forward. Cloud9 was 2-3 in official VCT matches with curry. 

Shopify Rebellion – 12

  • Duelist/Sentinel: Brandon “bdog” Sanders
  • Duelist: Adam “mada” Pampuch
  • IGL/Initiator: Will “dazzle” Loafman
  • Sentinel/Flex: Kaleb “moose” Jayne
  • Initiator/Controller: Tanner “TiGG” Spanu

The former Luminosity roster is now under the Shopify Rebellion banner. The name is different, but this is the same roster with consistently lacklustre finishes. Despite some big wins over the best NA teams, Shopify has a ceiling problem. Mada and bdog are as strong as any duelist, but this team has a history of failing in must-win games. However, even this roster is capable in a NA Last Chance Qualifier situation with no Optic Gaming or XSET to compete with. 

The Guard – 13

  • Duelist: Ha “Sayaplayer” Jeong-woo
  • Initiator: Michael “neT” Bernet
  • Flex: Jonah “JonahP” Pulice
  • Initiator: Trent “trent” Cairns
  • IGL/Controller: Jacob “valyn” Batio
The Guard could be one of the most potent teams at the NA LCQ.
(Photo by Lance Skundrich/Riot Games)
 

The farthest fall from stage 1 to now is The Guard. The former North American champions dropped 0-2 at Reyjavik and followed it up with a 1-4 record in Stage 2. Now they sit 11th in betting odds at NA Last Chance qualifier, only in front of the gimmick Sentinels roster. 

Trent, neT, and valyn’s ACS average tanked and the team can no longer rely on Sayaplayer’s hard-carry Jett to win important games. The one saving grace is being a one-seed and facing Sentinels in round one. It could build momentum towards a playoff run. 

Sentinels – 18

  • Duelist: Tyson “TenZ’ Ngo
  • Sentinel: Michael “dapr” Gulino
  • IGL/Sentinel: Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan
  • Flex: Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro
  • Controller: Michael “shroud” Grzesiek

The signing of Twitch mega-personality Shroud is an excellent marketing move to bring extra attention to the NA Last Chance qualifier. Sentinels have the exterior of a circus team, but bringing in Zellsis shows a team still going for it. The boot camp memes have expired and now it’s time to see if Sentinels can retain that title as of one North America’s best. TenZ, former destroyer of worlds, is still employed by the black-and-red.

Please only place a bet on Bet365 if you are over the age of 18.

The games begin on Thursday, August 4th at 1pm PST

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