The VCT Masters Reykjavík event is finally here. The twelve best teams from across the globe will meet at Rejyavik to crown a champion. We take a look at who is in the running, from favorites to underdogs.
The VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) 2022: Stage 1 Masters – Reykjavík event is finally here after six grueling weeks of regional competition. The twelve best teams from Europe, North America, Asia, and South America will meet in Iceland for a two-week grind to crown a champion.
Of the twelve qualified teams, six of these organizations are making their first appearance at VCT Masters Reykjavík. That includes the likes of Brazilian super team LOUD, North American champs The Guard, and South Korea’s DRX. And, with Sentinels, M3C (formerly Gambit), and 2021 World Champs Acend missing the cut, there’s guaranteed to be a brand new champion.
The field feels wide open with European winners FunPlus Phoenix unable to attend the event due to travel restrictions. Unfortunately, fans won’t be able to see the massive improvements FPX has made over the last year.
Let’s start with the favorites, shall we? With the return of Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev to the Fnatic lineup, the 2021 Masters Stage 2 runner-ups bring together a lethal combination of individual skill, LAN experience, and cohesion in execution that most rosters lack.
Although the loss of primary Sova main Andrew “BraveAF” Gorchakov is a costly one, Fnatic’s depth and solid foundational structure give them a significant edge against inexperienced teams heading into an event of this magnitude.
Derke (, ) 2022 stats
- ACS: 250.7 (3rd)
- K:D: 1.14 (9th)
- KPR: 0.88 (2nd)
- FKPR: 0.24 (1st)
- KMAX: 46 vs M3C (1st)
Moving onto Fnatic’s European counterpart, G2 Esports, who enter as tournament favorites, according to Odd Sharks betting odds (+225). After dispensing Fnatic 3-0 in the EMEA Lower Finals, it feels as if this talented roster took the next step closer to a deep bracket run at a Masters event.
From a roster in limbo with Wassim “kelloqz” Cista being in and out of the lineup, to the now locked starters featuring Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas on the Chamber/flex role. The team has seen many different iterations but has finally found a lineup that will stick.
Moreover, Mixwell permanently situated in the flex role has given G2 the freedom compositionally to try a mix of unorthodox comps including triple sentinel on Icebox. More importantly, Žygimantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas can now flex onto Sova or Jett, allowing their comps to dictate the style of play. G2 is peaking at the right time heading into Iceland.
G2 nukkye (,) 2022 stats
- ACS: 258.1 (1st)
- K:D: 1.27 (2nd)
- KAST%: 77% (2nd)
The Guard and OpTic Gaming
As for the North American representatives, The Guard and OpTic Gaming feel equally capable of making a magical bracket run (huffing the NA Copium at this point). With FPX not in attendance, the playing field has seemingly leveled out and both these loaded teams have enough agent and map pool versatility to compete with the more seasoned competition.
In the epic five map North American Grand Finals, The Guard edged out OpTic and proved to be an extremely dangerous team on a World scale.
Despite their youth and inexperience, The Guard has cemented themselves as a team willing to drill executes and setups hard in practice and enter games overly prepared. And when facing European teams that maximize their repetitions in practice, that’s essential to staying competitive.
trent (,,) lead all non-duelist in ACS, K:D, KAST%, ADR, KPR, and finished second in HS%
ACS: 230.6 in 548 rounds (6th)
K:D: 1.32 (3rd)
KAST%: 77% (2nd)
ADR: 155.5 (2nd)
KPR: 0.82 (6th)
HS%: 34% (2nd)
As for the minor region teams to keep a close eye on, that list starts with the Brazilian all-stars LOUD. The former Team Vikings duo of Gustavo “Sacy” Rossi and Matias “saadhak” Delipetro have assembled a monstrously talented roster centered around the enormous auto-aim skill of Duelist Erick “aspas” Santos.
In similar fashion to Trent Cairns on The Guard, aspas came in at the beginning of 2022 and rapidly made a name for himself, putting up huge performances consistently.
LOUD ended the playoffs with an astounding +55 round differential in three games. That accounts for the highest round differential across al VCT Masters Reykjavík regions.
- LOUD (BR): +55
- DRX (KR): +45
- KRU (LATAM): +44
- ZETA (JP): +38
- FPX (EMEA): +33
- PPRX (SEA): +33
Looking at sleeper picks, KRU Esports is returning with the same lineup from their 2021 Champions run, where they were rounds away from a Grand Finals berth. Even with a sloppier finish against region rival Leviathan Gaming, KRU handled their business and made it back to Iceland. With the ninth best odds (+3300), KRU is undoubtedly the most slept on teams once again.
The last serious threat comes in the form of Team Liquid, who by virtue of FPX dropping out, have been granted a second-chance at life. However, the lack of a reliable in-game leader remains a problem and with facing well structured teams, the uneven results feel inevitable. Regardless of the lackluster result against Fnatic, it’s still a team with the potential to put it all together for a Masters run.
The former South Korean Vision Strikers roster DRX is arguably stronger now than at any point in the team’s history. The introduction of Chamber has elevated BuZz’s form to new heights. The team ran through stiff regional competition and showed to have a deeper map pool than previous iterations. We even saw them face adversity in groups only to go on to eviscerate the same On S2ayers roster in the playoffs.
VCT Masters Reykjavík Players to Watch
G2 Nukkye: If G2 wants to win Masters, it’s all about activating nukkye on Jett. His recent form is otherworldly and could be the difference between G2 winning and losing a championship.
The Guard Trent: The 17 year old going from ranked to Rejyakvik. Let’s observe to see if the pressure of this stage gets to him or if he continues to show nerves of hardened steel. One of the best non-Duelist mains in VALORANT.
OpTic Gaming Victor: Watch for OpTic on Split putting Victor on the Neon. The win conditions center around Victor’s ability to take space in mid and push teams deep into site is ridiculously entertaining to watch. He’s the catalyst to an OpTic run.
Fnatic Boaster: Less for his play and more for his pure beaming excitement that gets captured on camera.
DRX Buzz: Versatile Sentinel with one of the worlds most proficient Chamber’s in VALORANT. In what feels like a meta where Chamber feels basically essential on a large percentage of the map pool. And, having a player like BuZz in your back pocket gives DRX a significant advantage when it comes to being prepared for the unexpected.
LOUD Aspas: Easily one of the hottest up-and-coming players in the world of VALORANT. This is his moment to prove himself against the best of the best. His numbers in Brazil are eye-poppingly brilliant, as he leads in almost every major category.
VCT Masters Reykjavík Bracket and Where to Watch
The action begins at 8am PST on Sunday April 10th starting with Japan’s ZETA Division vs DRX. The matches will be streamed on official Riot VALORANT channels. Here’s the bracket and the pick-ems link in case you want to join in on the fun.