It’s been a blast to follow the first Valorant Champions Tour Challengers across all the regions. But nothing really compares to the hype of VCT Masters.
Fortunately for us, we’ll soon have the chance to witness the first Stage 1 Masters LAN event in Reykjavík, where twelve teams will compete for some great prizes and VCT 2022 circuit points.
The tournament will begin on April 10th and conclude on April 24th, giving us exactly two weeks of intense Valorant action. This year’s Masters will also include a brand new format, which we’ll cover in this article.
Why Reykjavík Again?
Valorant esports returns to Iceland once again for the VCT: Stage 1 Masters in Reykjavík. This is not the first time Riot Games decided to host a major esports event here.
The first LAN of VCT 2021 was also played in Reykjavík. At that time, 10 of the best teams from all around the world competed for a $600,000 prize. It was an era dominated by Sentinels and, unsurprisingly, they ended up winning the tournament.
Later that same year, Riot Games hosted the biggest LoL esports tournament in Reykjavík – LoL Worlds 2021. The event was initially planned to be held in China, but the Covid-19 pandemic threw a wrench into Riot’s plans and they decided to go with Iceland once again.
This begs the question – why is Reykjavík such an attractive location for major esports tournaments?
The answer is rather simple. Iceland has been quite successful when it comes to controlling the Covid-19 pandemic. And in today’s day and age, safety of the players and the live audience is top priority. Then there’s issues with travel arrangements and plenty of other aspects that have become difficult to manage today.
Reykjavík solves these issues for the most part, which is why it has become the prime location for many esports events today, and why Valorant is returning there once again.
The New Format
This year’s Masters will use a slightly different format compared to the previous year. Instead of a single double-elimination Playoffs bracket, the Stage 1 Masters in Reykjavík will use two double-elimination format groups.
Eight low seed teams will compete in two groups in the group stage. The teams will fight in a series of best-of-three matches to decide who’ll advance into the Playoffs. A total of four teams will make it to the Playoffs – two top teams from each group.
The very first #VALORANTMasters of 2022 is BACK!
Still have questions about the tournament? Here’s everything you need to know about Masters Reykjavík! pic.twitter.com/IcnoN9SzfC
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) March 29, 2022
The Playoffs will also have eight teams in total. The four top seeded teams will face the four qualified teams from the group stage. Again, all the matches will be played as best-of-three, with the only exception being the Lower Bracket Final and the Grand Final, which will both be played as best-of-five.
The Group Stage teams, as well as the total prize pool of the tournament, are yet to be revealed.
Who are the Favourites?
The previous Valorant Champions Tour season ended up being dominated by the EMEA teams. The NA region had the strongest start, but as time went on, it fell off.
When it comes to the VCT 2022, there were no considerable changes. EMEA is still the top region. There are three teams from EMEA competing in Reykjavík, and each of these three teams is capable of winning here. This gives EMEA the highest odds in this tournament. So if you’re looking to place some Valorant bets, this is where you should look first. The three teams are Team Liquid, Fnatic, and G2 Esports.
In terms of NA teams, we have OpTic Gaming and The Guard. OpTic Gaming is a solid pick if you’re looking for something safe and reliable. They’ve got a lot of experience under their belts and they’ve consistently placed high on LAN tournaments, such as placing second in the VCT 2021: Stage 3 Masters – Berlin.
Now when it comes to our top pick for this tournament, it definitely has to be The Guard. This American squad has managed to capture the hearts and minds of the NA fans after conquering the first VCT NA Challengers. They’re the new kids on the block.
What makes The Guard so special is the fact they work so hard. They have a great team culture and rely heavily on feedback and support from their coach. And being a young team, they’re hungry for success, which makes them incredibly dangerous in Reykjavík.