We’re slowly drawing closer to the end of the first Valorant Champions Tour Challengers event in North America, as the top eight teams begin their preparations for the Playoffs.
The group stage is finally over. Group A saw Cloud9 take down The Guard in the final week and finished with a perfect 5-0 score. At the same time in Group B, Version1 completely destroyed Sentinels with 2-0 and also finished the group stage without losing a single match.
Not everyone was a winner, though. 100 Thieves and Evil Geniuses finished last in Group A, while NRG and Rise ended up being the weakest links in Group B. These four teams have had a rough time in this first Challengers event and will be ending their journey earlier than they anticipated. Hopefully they’ll have more luck next time.
Group Stage Impressions
The VCT NA Challengers 1 group stage was an absolute joy to watch. It had everything you’d expect of a top-tier Valorant tournament.
Group A’s biggest surprise were undoubtedly Cloud9 and The Guard. These two squads engaged in a toe-to-toe fight and the results were even until the very end, where Cloud9 finally decided to settle the score and claim the first place in group A.
XSET didn’t disappoint either and they remained somewhere around the middle throughout the entire group stage. Luminosity put up a good fight and had some great moments, but just not enough to place them higher on the leaderboards.
Seeing 100 Thieves go 1-4 was quite a let-down, and Evil Geniuses was a total disappointment with an 0-5 final score.
Version1 was by far the strongest team in group B. They defeated everyone that stood in their way and finished first. The only two times they lost a map was against NRG in week 3 and then against OpTic in week 4. Their Valorant betting odds for the Playoffs are looking great.
The ex-Envy squad, OpTic Gaming, secured the second spot and performed incredibly well in the group stage. They started off on the wrong foot by losing to RISE in week 1, but they quickly picked up the pace and got right back on track.
Sentinels are sort of a mixed bag here. They’re still good, but at the same time, they’re a far cry from what they used to be. They finished third in group B, just behind OpTic Gaming.
Knights somehow pulled through and ended the group stage in the fourth spot. Since NRG was doomed from the start, many expected RISE to survive and for Knights to end up being eliminated.
However, Knights managed to win two crucial fights versus NRG and RISE, which was just enough to secure them the Playoffs.
— Version1 (@version1gg) March 13, 2022
Predictions for the Playoffs
Now that the group stage is over, we’re finally entering the Playoffs where some interesting matchups are waiting for us. There’s a lot at stake here and none of these teams will go down without a proper fight. With that said, let’s get right into the predictions!
Cloud9 vs. Knights is the first match on the schedule, and probably the easiest one to predict. Knights made it out of group B alive, but they’re now facing a 5-0 Cloud9. This should be a safe bet on Cloud9 and we expect them to take a clean 2-0 and send Knights down into the lower bracket.
The next match on the list is between XSET and OpTic Gaming. Back when OpTic was still under Team Envy name, they fought XSET in the VCT Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs and won 2-0 in the lower bracket. Statistically, OpTic does have an edge here, but you should never underestimate XSET as they’re still a big threat. We believe OpTic will persevere here and take the win, but not without casualties.
Version1 is in top shape and there’s hardly any chance they’ll lose now to Luminosity. They’re brimming with confidence and their Valorant odds are looking great. Luminosity was simply dealt a bad hand here. Our vote goes to Version1.
Finally, we have the most interesting match of the bunch. Sentinels will face The Guard in the final match of the Playoffs to decide who will move to the Semifinals. Sentinels are looking a bit shaky, but they’re still the same powerhouse that dominated 2021. On the other hand, The Guard has been the dominant team in group A alongside Cloud9. This will be a coin toss match. We’ll take a little risk here and side with The Guard, hoping for their underdog miracle run to continue into the Semifinals.
You can check out the best odds for these matches at GG.Bet review.