The second North American VCT Stage 2 Challengers are almost upon us, and the twelve best teams from the region are warming up for the first set of matches that are about to commence. The tournament will be played online from May 13th until May 26th. Throughout that period, the teams will be battling it out for $200,000 as well as two Masters slots.
Only four teams from the previous VCT NA Challengers 1 received direct invites, while the rest qualified through two sets of open qualifiers. The tournament will kick things off with a round robin group stage where six teams in two groups will fight to qualify for the playoffs, but also to avoid an early elimination.
The Group Stage Teams
The VCT NA Stage 2 Challengers will have two groups with six teams each. All six teams of each group will play five best-of-three matches across five weeks. At the end of the group stage, the top four teams of each group will advance to the playoffs, while the remaining two teams will be eliminated.
While both groups have some incredibly strong teams, it could be argued that group A is an objectively weaker group. The Guard, XSET, and the revamped 100 Thieves squad are some of the stronger picks here. They’re joined by NRG, TSM, and Ghost Gaming. That being said, group A has some strong upset potential with teams such as Ghost Gaming and TSM.
This group has the current Valorant Champions Tour Stage 1 Masters winners – OpTic Gaming. They’re definitely the top pick by default, but they’ll have some tough competition in this group.
Sentinels and Cloud9 will certainly be the biggest concern for OpTic Gaming. Sentinels, while having a rough start in the season, have demonstrated some of their best performances in the recent second open qualifier. Cloud9 missed the Stage 1 Masters by a hair’s breadth, so they’ll try to avoid that mistake this time. FaZe, EG, and Luminosity are also quite strong now, so they shouldn’t be underestimated either.
Week 1 Predictions
The first week of the VCT NA Stage 2 Challengers 2 group stage will have some of the most interesting matchups with great Valorant betting potential. We’ll highlight a few that you should definitely keep an eye on.
The Guard vs 100 Thieves
The long-awaited rematch between these teams will finally happen on May 13th. In this opening match, both teams will attempt to secure an early lead in group A and increase their odds of survival. The last time these two squads met was during the Stage 1 NA Challengers 1, where The Guard defeated 100 Thieves in the group stage and sent them on a losing streak. We’ll see whether they can do it again, or if the new and improved 100 Thieves team ends up being too much of a challenge. Our money is on The Guard.
Luminosity vs Sentinels
This will be an incredibly interesting matchup as there’s great hype for both teams. Sentinels seem to have finally found that missing element with the acquisition of Kanpeki and the return of their coach Rawkus. On the other hand, Luminosity recently climbed the lower bracket of the first open qualifier and Sentinels were one of the teams they defeated. This is another rematch that will attract a lot of Valorant fans, but also plenty of Valorant esports bettors.
OpTiC Gaming vs FaZe
Our last pick will be the match between OpTiC and FaZe. This is probably one of the safest picks of the week as OpTiC is viewed as overwhelming favourites in this tournament. While FaZe do look much stronger in 2022, we still believe they’re no match for OpTic. If you’re looking for a relatively safe betting pick, go with OpTiC.