VCT NA Challengers 1 – The Guard Defeats 100 Thieves

Posted on February 21, 2022

Yesterday we covered the European VCT region and mentioned some of the upsets that occurred during week two. Today, we’re taking a look at the North American region which had its own fair share of surprises.

The Guard, the new kids on the block, continued their dominance in group A after completely demolishing 100 Thieves and sending them to the 5th spot where they’ll be fighting for survival along with Evil Geniuses. Cloud9 also secured their second victory, this time against XSET.

Over at group B, Version1 and Sentinels still remain undefeated, both sitting comfortably at the top with two wins each. Sentinels took an easy 2-1 victory against Knights, while Version1 scored an important victory against Rise.

OpTic and Luminosity both scored their first victories, leaving the danger zone for now and placing in the third and fourth place within their groups respectively.

The Guard vs. 100 Thieves

Things are looking grim for the 100 Thieves squad. Two consecutive defeats, first one against Cloud9, and now the second one against The Guard. One more strike and they could be out.

The Guard, on the other hand, has had a stellar start in the new season. Despite joining the Valorant esports scene in early November last year, this team has done wonders already. They beat Luminosity in week 1, which was one of the easier opponents in group A. But after they took down 100 Thieves, one of the strongest NA squads, there was no longer any doubt about this team.

They’re currently sitting in the first spot in group A as they await their week 3 challenge against Luminosity gaming.

the-guard-100-thieves-victory
Image Credits | Riot Games

Cloud9 Stops XSET in Their Tracks

Cloud9 secured their second win in the VCT NA Challengers 1 tournament and increased their Valorant odds of making it to the playoffs.

XSET kicked things off with a win against EG in week 1, but after this defeat vs. Cloud9, they’re going back to the drawing board. They’ll have to face The Guard next week, which could be a cause for concern, especially after seeing their match with 100 Thieves.

Cloud9 will face EG next, which could be a great opportunity for the team to solidify their spot at the top. EG is a bit shaky, and they’re bottom last in group A, which will certainly put a lot of pressure on them in their match against Cloud9, potentially causing them to make fatal mistakes Cloud9 will exploit to their advantage.

Strong Performance by Version1

Version1 took down Rise, one of the stronger teams from week 1, and made it look easy. Both maps went to Version1 and Rise simply didn’t have any answers to counter them.

Both Breeze and Fracture finished with an identical 13-6 score for Version1, and the same story played out each time. Version1 would come out strong and apply pressure that would accumulate into a significant early lead, which later on snowballed into a clean win.

Many Valorant fans praised Rise’s first week performance and their strong potential, but we didn’t really see much of that in week 2 against Version1. Perhaps it was just a bad day for them, or Version1 was just that strong of an opponent. In any case, this victory secured Version1 the first spot in group B, while Rise dropped down to the fourth spot.

version-1-rise-win
Image Credits | Riot Games

Sentinels Still Undefeated

Sentinels remain undefeated, sitting with two victories at the second spot in group B. However, while they won both matches, it wasn’t really in the usual Sentinels style. They won both matches against relatively easy opponents, at least compared to their team.

They struggled against NRG in week 1, but somehow persevered. And again in week 2, they lost a map to Knights on Ascent, although they had no issues on the next two maps that followed.

It’s still too early for the Sentinels fans to panic, but they also can’t relax into a false sense of security. The reality of the situation is that Sentinels fought the two weakest teams in the group so far, and still struggled at times. This early 2-0 lead could turn into a 2-3 score by the end of the group stage, if they’re not careful. Version1 is looking stronger than ever, and both Rise and OpTic have some incredible upset potential, so we’ll see how things turn out in the end.

We do believe Sentinels will qualify for the Playoffs, but it’s unlikely we’ll see them dominate the tournament like they used to do in the past.

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Denis Alihodzic

Freelance writer with a passion for gaming and esports. Loves a good old-school RPG, and enjoys spending time with his dogs.

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