The VCT Championship Berlin is here and we take a look at each of the four groups. Which teams will make it to the playoffs?
The VCT Champions is the pinnacle of Valorant esports and it has brought the biggest names from all over the world together at Berlin. While Gambit, Sentinels and others are the favorites, there could be quite a few upsets at the event. Valorant has seen a few updates and Here’s a quick preview of the tournament and what to expect from the matches.
Group A - Acend, Envy, X10 and Keyd stars
Probably one of the more balanced groups, Group A features Envy, Acend, X10 Crit
and KeyD stars. But the real battle will be between Acend and Envy who seem to be the strongest rosters in this group.
Envy had a phenomenal performance at VCT Masters Berlin. The team was undefeated right up till the Grand Finals (where they were swept by Gambit). However, Envy’s performance gave us a glimpse into the team’s potential.
But Envy made a coaching change after Berlin and acquired Chet from TSM. The former Counter-Strike coach undoubtedly has a lot of experience in the coaching role. He was a part of NRG and later TSM in Valorant. However, whether his coaching will provide a significant boost to the players’ performance is still up for debate. The team does not lack firepower, but it needs the strategic strength to overcome the likes of Gambit later in the tournament. Maybe Chet is the right answer. Maybe he is not.
Acend knocked Gambit down to the lower bracket at the VCT EMEA Stage 3 Challengers Finals. While Gambit ultimately climbed back to win the tournament this event showed that Acend is not a team to take lightly.
The EMEA squad started the year strong with a win at the Stage 1 Masters. However, the team has seen a gradual decline in form from the first half of the year. A 5-8th finish at the Masters Berlin is commendable, but the team could have achieved more. The team finished second at the Red Bull Home Ground #2 and won the LVP - Rising Series - Finale. These are small steps but if they keep up with the momentum, they might have a better finish than Stage 2 Masters Berlin.
The biggest advantage for Acend
and Envy is their strategic depth compared to the other two teams in the groups, which is why they are favored to make it out.
Group B - Sentinels, Kru Esports, Team Liquid and FURIA esports
Sentinels has been one of the most consistent teams in Valorant. At one point known as the best in Valorant, the team won Reykjavik without losing a single map.
But there has been a recent change on Sentinels. Not so long ago, Sentinels added former Overwatch League player, Rawkus as their coach. This change is crucial as Rawkus
brings years of experience and is known to adapt his style based on the opponent. Sentinels suffered a massive upset in the Stage 3 Masters when they lost to Envy but they are hoping to redeem themselves in the VCT Champions.
As one of the best players in the world, Tenz’s performance is crucial to Sentinels’ results at VCT Champions Berlin. At the Stage 3 Masters, Tenz played Raze (and not his usual Reyna), and he was visibly not comfortable on the agent. But the player has been putting in hours since then and hopes to bring forth a strong performance at the biggest Valorant event so far.
Can Scream and Nivera lead Team Liquid to glory at VCT Champs? Image Credit: Team Liquid
The other favorite to make it out of the group is Team Liquid. With a roster that Screams
talent, Team Liquid barely made it to the VCT Champions via the Last Chance Qualifier. Despite featuring some really big
names, Team Liquid’s performance is still very inconsistent. It will come down to Scream and Nivera if they can find their form in time for the VCT Champions. With Nivera testing positive for COVID
, Team Liquid’s chances at VCT Champions might just have gone down a notch.
KRU is a dark horse in this group and the team can put up a few surprises. Now Valorant has seen some changes since the last event. There’s a new map, Fracture, which is bound to change the dynamics at Berlin. Kru qualified to the VCT
Masters Berlin quarterfinals with wins over KeyD and Zeta division.
The Chilean roster has been extremely consistent throughout the season and qualified for Berlin after a 3-0 win over Australs in the LATAM Stage 3 Challengers. On the international level, Kru is strategically sound but might just fall short when it comes to sheer firepower. Keznit’s performance will be under the microscope if Kru are to make it out of the Groups.
Group C - Gambit, Team Vikings, Secret and Crazy Raccoon
The winners of VCT Stage 3 Masters Berlin, Gambit esports are the overwhelming favorite to make a deep run at VCT Champions. The team has only improved with time and its loss to Fnatic served to make Gambit better with time. The team qualified for VCT Masters Berlin through the EMEA Stage 3 and put up quite a performance.
At Berlin, Gambit’s result highlighted why the team is a force to reckon with. Gambit was not the topper in Group C, they were the underdogs in the match against Vision Strikers. But as the tournament progressed and they went deeper into the playoffs, the players found momentum and confidence. Playing on LAN requires a special set of skills. Confidence plays a crucial role in any team’s chances.
The players believe they did not play at their full potential at VCT Masters Berlin, a tournament they won. That is indeed a scary thought for their opponents ahead of VCT Champions.
“We’re playing right now at about 60% [of our potential], in my opinion,”
With a 274.6 ACS, nAts was undoubtedly one of the best players at the tournament. Together with Chronicle, the duo has been a menace to many other opponents. Gambit’s ability to dismantle teams from other regions signals a superior playstyle and approach to the game. They come into VCT Champions as one of the favorites to win it all.
Team Secret, Crazy Raccoon or Vikings?
Secret, formerly Bren esports, did not attend VCT Masters Berlin due to visa issues
. So the team is relatively untested and could put up a few surprises at this event.
Crazy Raccoon is a team that has immense firepower, but they lack the strategic depth to the roster. Munchkin’s performance will be crucial for Crazy Raccoon’s performance at VCT Champions. Vikings has a very fast-paced playstyle and their early utility aggression is a key component of their game.
These three teams are relatively evenly matched, although Secret and Crazy Raccoon seem to have a better chance at making it past the playoffs. It will come down to their adaptation of the current meta and how they can counter their group stage opponents.
Group D - Vision Strikers, Fnatic, Full Sense and Cloud9
The Group of Death promises to throw a few surprises. Many teams are capable of moving out from this group. In fact, the quality of teams is so high that will see at least one of Vision Strikers, Fnatic and Cloud9 out of the tournament after the group stage. Let that sink in.
A team that can do seemingly everything, Vision Strikers is a favorite at VCT Champs Berlin. Image Credit: Vision Strikers
Vision Strikers is a team that prides itself on high levels of coordination and skill. The team has not played a lot recently and others’ lack of knowledge of this team’s composition could be a huge advantage for Vision Strikers.
Along with Gambit and Sentinels, Vision Strikers is also a strong contender to win VCT Champions. But their last international match was against Gambit in the VCT Masters Berlin quarterfinals, although they did manage to take a map off Gambit.
Cloud9 dominant run through NA LCQ.
Cloud9 impressed many with their performance at the VCT NA Last Chance event. The team defeated some notable names such as 10Thieves and Rise Gaming to secure their spot at VCT Champions. Cloud9 has always had decent firepower but lacked direction, something they found under their new IGL Vanity. The team has no international VCT experience apart from Vanity, which puts some doubts over their performance in the upcoming championship.
The final team to possibly make it out of the groups is Fnatic. The Boaster-led team performs really well in front of a crowd as evidenced by some of their results. But their results also show a decline in form and it's unlikely they will stand up against Vision Strikers and Cloud9. Fnatic will be directly challenging Cloud9 for the second spot from Group D. With Cloud9 in excellent form and Fnatic's form seemingly very inconsistent, this could be a short ride to Berlin for Boaster and co.
The VCT Champions Berlin kicks off on December 1. All matches will be streamed live on Twitch