Now that the VCT NA qualifiers are over, it’s time to take a look at the Stage 1 Challengers and see what we can expect. The twelve qualified teams will be battling it out for a $200.000 prize pool and two VCT Masters 1 slots on February 11th.
Aside from the monetary prize and the Masters seeds, teams can look forward to accumulating some extra VCT 2022 NA Circuit Points, which will come in handy for later stages of this year-long tournament.
We’ll first cover some basics about the tournaments, go over the format, and then check out this year’s VCT NA Challengers 1 teams. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!
The Tournament Format
This year’s Valorant Champions Tour Stage 1 NA Challengers 1 will consist of two stages – the group stage and the playoffs. The group stage will begin immediately, with 6 teams split between groups A and B.
The Group Stage will see teams play in a series of best-of-three round robin matches. The top four teams will advance to the playoffs, while the remaining two will be eliminated.
Once the Playoffs kick off, the teams will battle in a double elimination format where all the matches will once again be played as best-of-three. The only two exceptions are the Loser’s Final and Grand Final matches, where the teams will play in a best-of-five format.
The two teams that make it to the Grand Final on March 27th will automatically qualify for the next VCT Masters stage.
Prize Pool Distribution
The VCT: NA Challengers 1 $200.000 prize pool will be distributed in the following way:
- 1st place $50.000
- 2nd place $32.000
- 3rd place $26.000
- 4th place $20.000
- 5th-6th place $14.000
- 7th-8th place $10.000
- 9th-12th place $6.000
The Twelve Teams
With the format out of the way, it’s time to check out this year’s VCT NA Challengers 1 teams. Among the twelve, four were directly invited. Those are Sentinels, 100 Thieves, Team Envy, and Cloud9.
The remaining eight qualified through the two NA open qualifiers. The first batch of teams that qualified were Version1, XSET, The Guard, and NRG. The last four teams that made it here through the second open qualifier were Evil Geniuses, Knights, Luminosity Gaming, and Rise.
Overall, this looks like a pretty well-balanced pool of teams. We see many last year’s favourites as well as some new faces like Knights and The Guard.
— VALORANT Champions Tour NA (@valesports_na) February 7, 2022
Favourites and Underdogs
We won’t go into too much detail in terms of predictions for this tournament, but we will point out some interesting teams to look out for.
While Sentinels were all the rage last year, they fell off considerably by the end of the VCT 2021 and went silent for a few months. We’ll see whether they’re back in their full glory, or if this tournament will perhaps be their breaking point.
The same goes for 100 Thieves and Team Envy, the two squads that had a pretty good last year. Cloud9 managed to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the Valorant Champions 2021, so we’ll see if they can manage to surprise us once again.
It’s great to see the return of teams such as Luminosity Gaming and Evil Geniuses. They were fairly active during the first stages in VCT 2021 but then slowly faded out of the Valorant esports scene.
And last but not least, we have the two newcomers – Knights and The Guard.
These two squads have been hard at work grinding through the qualifier matches and finally landed in the NA Challengers 1. While this is already a huge accomplishment, the hardest battles are yet to come. Hopefully they can persevere and fight through the group stage. There’s potential here for a real underdog story.