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The Valorant VCT LOCK//IN Sao Paulo schedule and matchup release cover image

The Valorant VCT LOCK//IN Sao Paulo schedule and matchup release

#News

The matchups and schedule have dropped for the opening season Valorant VCT Lock//in event starting on Feb. 13.

The long-awaited 30-team, single elimination bracket has been released for the Valorant VCT LOCK//IN event in Sao Paulo. The event, taking place on Feb. 13, will include two additional Chinese teams to expand the bracket to a balanced 32 teams.
With the news of late additions, the bracket is well-balanced, meaning all 32 teams will have to win the same amount of matches to take home a championship. Five grueling wins are needed, in the gauntlet of teams from every region – it's going to be a bloodbath

Valorant VCT LOCK//IN Sao Paulo Schedule 

The opening matches will start on Monday, Feb. 13 at 9 a.m. PST. How the schedule is set up is all the matches from the Alpha side of the bracket will take place from Feb. 13 through Feb. 19. And, the Omega side will start their journey on Feb. 22 and will last till Feb. 27. Three matches a day until the bracket gets whittled down to the last remaining teams.
Image courtesy of<a href="https://esports.gg/news/valorant/valorant-pro-players-and-community-reactions-to-vct-lock-in-format/"> Riot Games</a>
Image courtesy of Riot Games
In an effort to consolidate the number of teams playing at once, Riot has split the schedule in two. The Alpha side will play until two teams are left within the span of a week. Then, Omega will get their turn as the Alpha winners get more than a week's break between games. Teams out of the Alpha group will have a considerable amount of time to game plan.
The Semifinals and Grand Finals will round out the event the weekend of March 2-4. 31 teams will be eliminated in a little under 20 days total, resulting in the inaugural champion for the first partner-only VCT event.

VCT LOCK//IN First Round Matchups

More important than format or schedule is the matches themselves. Months of eager anticipation couldn't have readied the audience for the onslaught set to take place. Let's look at the teams looking to take the crown.

Sentinels vs Fnatic

Sentinels and Fnatic once played for a Masters Reykjavik trophy. Two of the most established brands in the VALORANT space now looking down the barrel of a round-one elimination at the hands of the cross-Atlantic rival. 
Both teams bolstered their rosters in an attempt to move on from a forgettable end to their 2022 season. On paper, these two teams arguably have two of the better rosters. But the nature of single elimination means one will take a quick flight home. 
Image courtesy of Riot Games
Image courtesy of Riot Games

Paper Rex vs Cloud9

The new-look Cloud9 faces the returning five-man roster of titans, Paper Rex. Despite the promise of cloud9's Jacob "yay" Whittaker-led roster, Paper Rex is the exact type of team newly established teams want to avoid at the VCT LOCK//IN. C9 could struggle to establish synergy early on. As we saw at Red Bull Homeground, expect an unorthodox approach to compositions and strategies with Paper Rex.

Valorant VCT Sao Paulo: 1T vs Edward Gaming

Edward Gaming entered the 2022 season late, took the world by storm, then exited stage left. Now, without a real partnership slot, they're back competing among the best teams. Unfortunately, they'll get their one shot against a new 100 Thieves roster. Edward Gaming should be looked at as a tournament favorite.
Furthermore, aside from individual, juicy matchups, expect upsets. Tons of upsets. It's the March Madness of VALORANT. And, single-elimination formats always promote underdogs making a cosmic rise when no one expects it.
The festivities start on Feb. 13 and will last till March 4.

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Blake Van Poucke
Blake Van Poucke
Contributor | 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