Red Bull Home Ground Preview: Cloud9, 100Thieves and Team Liquid square off in Manchester
Will 100Thieves or Cloud9 become the first NA Team to win the Red Bull Home Ground crown in Manchester this weekend?
The Red Bull Home Ground has finally arrived, and some of the biggest names in Valorant have turned up to compete in this one-of-a-kind tournament. This will be the third iteration of this tournament, but this time around Red Bull have invited a number of Americas League teams to participate. This tournament will not only be a chance for Valorant fans to catch a glimpse at some of the new franchise rosters ahead of the new season, but it will also serve as one last NA vs EMEA bout to round out 2022.
Red Bull Home Ground Format
The Red Bull Home Ground will be taking place from December 9 - December 11 in the O2 Victoria Warehouse in Manchester, England. It will start with the Group Stage on December 9 and conclude with the knockout stages on the December 10 and December 11.
This year there will be eight teams in attendance for the Red Bull Home Ground. Four from EMEA, three from the Americas league, and one from the Turkish qualifiers. Here is a quick table showing who will be in each group:
The teams will be divided into two groups of four. From there the teams will play out a series of best-of-five matches against each other. With the Group Winners advancing straight to the semi-finals and the fourth placed teams being sent home. Here is where things get interesting. Unlike other Valorant tournaments, the Red Bull Home Ground has a very unique twist to proceedings.
Before the start of each match, teams will select their strongest map to represent their "home ground." At which point the first two matches will be played out on their respective home grounds. If one team manages to win on their home ground as well as one their opponents map pick, then that team will immediately win the match. If there is a stalemate after the first two maps, then the match will continue as a regular best-of-five series.
How to watch the Red Bull Home Ground
For those of you wanting to watch the Red Bull Home Ground but will not be attending the event in person, don't worry about it. Fans will be able to watch The Red Bull Home Ground live via Red Bull Gaming's YouTube and Twitch channels. Here is a brief overview of the schedule for the event so that you don't miss out on the action:
- Friday, December 9, Group Stages: 1 p.m. GMT/8 a.m. EST - 9:30 p.m. GMT/4:30 p.m. EST
- Saturday, December 10, Quarterfinals & Semi-finals:1 p.m. GMT/8 a.m. EST - 9:30 p.m. GMT/4:30 p.m. EST
- Sunday, December 11, Semi-finals & Grand Finals: 1 p.m. GMT/8 a.m. EST - 9:30 p.m. GMT/4:30 p.m. EST
Teams to watch at Red Bull Home Ground
The Red Bull Home Ground is overflowing with talent, but there are definitely a few who stand out amongst the rest. Below you will find a brief look at the teams to watch out for throughout the tournament weekend.
Team Liquid return to defend their Home Ground title from last year, and look to be one of the favorites going into this tournament. Though they have said goodbye to star duo “ScreaM” and “Nivera” they have managed to find more than adequate replacements for them in the form of M3 Champions’ Igor “Redgar” Vlasov and Ayaz “nAts” Akmehtshin. Unfortunately, due to visa-related issues, neither one of them will be present at the tournament. Which has led to Team Liquid bringing in former Fnatic player Enzo “Enzo” Mestari as well as the former G2 player Johan “Meddo” Lundborg in as substitutes.
Will Team Liquid be able to defend their Red Bull Home Ground title in Manchester? (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
While Liquid will still be fielding the bulk of their current roster in , Elias “Jamppi” Olkonnen, “Soulcas” and Saif “Sayf” Jibraeel, their will no doubt be concerns as to how much of an impact Redgar and nAts’ absence will have on the team’s performances at this tournament. Nevertheless Team Liquid remain one of the strongest teams competing at the Red Bull Home Ground and are certainly one to keep an eye on.
100Thieves have been somewhat of an enigma during their time in the VCT. They were one of the best teams in the world during the 2021 season, but struggled through the 2022 season. After a series of team changes, the NA side looks to be back in business and will be looking to make a strong statement at the Red Bull Home Ground ahead of the 2023 season.
Will Cryocells make an immediate impact for 100Thieves at Red Bull Home Ground? (Photo by Lance Skundrich/Riot Games)
Much of the focus regarding this 100Thieves roster has got to be on their new duelist Matthew "Cryocells" Panganiban; who they signed from XSET during the off-season. The OP-er was one of the best players in the NA region with XSET last season and showed off his immense talent, particularly one Jett, during his team's run at Champions 2022.
Kru Esports will be the first South American team to be taking part in the Red Bull Home Ground. The LATAM roster is one of the most beloved teams in the VCT, and have provided fans with plenty of jaw-dropping performances. Like with the other teams on this list Kru have gone through a major reshuffle, having lost Angelo "Keznit" Mori and Roberto "Mazino" Rivas to Leviatán in the offseason.
How will this new look Kru Esports roster get on at the Red Bull Home Ground? (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
Though they have added in the likes of Alexander "xand" Zizi from Ninjas In Pyjamas and Marco "Melser" Amaro from Leviatán, there are a lot of question marks surrounding this new Kru roster. But if there is one thing Kru is known for, it is defying all expectations and making the bigger teams sing for their supper.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding this new Cloud9 roster, and it is with good reason. Like with Liquid and 100T, this event marks the first time that fans will get to see this high profile Cloud9 roster in a LAN-based environment.
Will Cloud9 become the first NA team to win the Red Bull Home Ground crown? (Screengrab taken from Cloud9 Valorant Twitter)
All eyes are on new Cloud9 ace Jaccob "Yay" Whiteaker as well. The former OpTic Gaming duelist is widely regarded as the best player in the league and he certainly showed why that was the case last season. But following on from the massive Chamber nerf in the most recent update, it will be interesting to see how much that will affect his performances with his new team.
Contributor | Twitter @TheMaverickJB
James Bassett, otherwise known by his in-game name Maverick, is a freelance writer, gamer, and sports enthusiast from Reading, England. He has been an avid follower of Call of Duty esports for 8 years. Having written for sites such as TheGameHaus and DBLTAP, Maverick looks to provide people with entertaining, and insightful content. He is a proud London Royal Ravens fan.