Ahead of VCT North America Challengers Stage Two Playoffs, we take a look back at the groups to see which teams were excelling and struggling in specific areas. Pistol, gun, attack and defense round win percentages.
Let's start with the pistol round. With a match round of 13, VALORANT's pistol rounds are incredibly important. Excelling in the pistol round can cut the match in half and essentially gift teams four rounds by winning the pistol and the anti-eco. However, does winning the pistol round guarantee success moving into gun rounds?
In terms of the best pistol teams, each one made the playoffs in stage two. Evil Geniuses (EG) sport the highest win percentage at 70.8% and their best stretch of the season came off the back of nearly unbeatable pistol play. EG had an astounding 87.5% win percentage through the first three weeks before falling back down to earth. It helps when Chamber players like Kelden "Boostio" Pupello can fully utilize the head hunter.
Best Pistol round teams
- EG (70.8%)
- 100 Thieves (60%)
- Ghost Gaming (59%)
- XSET (50%)
- OpTic (50%)
- Cloud9 (50%)
- NRG (45%)
- TSM (45%)
- The Guard (42.3%)
- Luminosity (40.9%)
- Sentinels (38%)
- Faze (37%)
Moreover, the playoff teams hovered around a 50% win rate. The top two seeds, OpTic Gaming and XSET, both ended stage two with a 50% pistol round, showing that the important thing is to win timely pistols and not let it kill the team's chances. Take Sentinels and The Guard, for example, who finished right around 40% and started the majority of their maps down and needed to fight back. While both teams had decent enough full-buys and gun rounds, the pistols sank them.
VCT North America Gun-Round win percentage
In VALORANT, winning gun rounds is crucial as it allows teams to have full utility and all the plays available to them on executes. While pistols and anti-ecos can play a hand, winning gun rounds cleanly is the main contributing factor to winning maps.
Teams have wildly different approaches depending on their roster makeup for how to buy and play in gun rounds. 100 Thieves, even with only four sniper kills all stage, competed with teams heavily relying on the Operator and found different ways to win rounds using Vandals. It's not a one size fits all meta and that's been proven with the wide variety of agent picks and economic strategies.
NRG even unveiled a half-buy strategy that had mixed results. In theory, buying half-shields should give that team a gun advantage in most rounds, while having less eco rounds. Nonetheless, NRG lost those games and shelved the experiment.
Ultimately, they ended near the bottom of the pack in terms of win percentage. The best team in gun-rounds is unsurprisingly the world champs OpTic with a 62.8% round win percentage. On attack and defense, OpTic proved to be the most consistent team, but truly put a hurting on teams once full utility and guns entered the server. On top of that, OpTic ended the stage with the most sniper kills, beating teams in a number of different ways.
Full-buy round win percentage
- OpTic (62.8%)
- FaZe (61.7%)
- 100 Thieves (61.4%)
- Ghost Gaming (60.4%)
- XSET (56.9%)
VCT North America Attack and Defense
Many VALORANT matches are the tale of two halves, however, the key is to stay consistent. In a momentum based game like VALORANT, avoiding long round losing streaks is often the difference between winning and losing. XSET has struck the perfect balance - able to out execute teams on attacking into sites while also being one of the supreme defensive teams in the VCT.
In other cases, it's more of a sole defensive effort. Ghost Gaming and Evil Geniuses have made a living off strong site holds and forcing teams to adjust their attack to a specific playstyle. It's similar to OpTic, which finds success in when and where they take duels on defense. It's how difficult they make the entry at the choke for opposing teams and forcing engagements against supreme rifles and angle holding Operator mains. The best teams have improved drastically at forcing out early utility and punishing.
Sadly, many of the larger issues show up when breaking down sides. Sentinels, a previous Masters champion, struggled mightily to get anything going on attack. Of their group low 44% round win percentage, only 30% of those came from attack. It's been a process trying to build this team back to prominence, but the lack of synergy proved to be a major issue once again. Sentinels had an embarrassingly low assist total (602 in 147 total rounds), showing a team unwilling to work together.