The VCT Stage 3 Challengers 2 is well underway, and Latin America South and Japan have already completed their own events, while several other regions are slowly wrapping things up.
The eight NA teams that qualified for Stage 3 Challengers 2 are waiting for the event to kick off, and all of them have their eyes set on the upcoming Challengers Playoffs. With the biggest obstacles now out of the way, namely Sentinels and the other 3 already qualified teams, the remaining squads find themselves in a really favorable position.
Only the top four teams will secure a spot in the Challengers Playoffs, so this might be the last chance for some of these teams to finally catch a big break. Since there’s no teams that have an overwhelming advantage in this event, it means that we could be treated to some really interesting matchups.
Let’s Look at the Teams
It’s been a while since we’ve seen the NA region compete without some of the big names such as Sentinels, 100 Thieves, and XSET. It’s actually kind of refreshing to not have clear favorites and just awaiting their inevitable victory throughout the entire event. In this case, all of the eight teams participating have an equal playing field, and there’s plenty of old names returning, as well as some new ones that popped up recently.
Gen.G Esports is one of those teams that are always hovering close to the top, but never quite seem to make it there. This event will finally be an opportunity for them to shine and reach the Grand Finals and win.
The two teams that have seemingly disappeared for quite some time, but have appeared once again, are T1 and TSM. Both of these squads had high expectations in VCT, but neither really accomplished much in Valorant Champions Tour so far. TSM, in particular, was one of the most popular teams prior to the release of VCT, but once it started, they just couldn’t seem to keep up with the rest.
Here’s yet another familiar name that seemed to vanish for a good period of time, and that’s Luminosity Gaming. This was a team that showed great promise during VCT Stage 1, and they went on to compete in all three Challengers. Eventually, they kind of fizzled out and we wouldn’t see much of them during the following two stages. This is an opportunity for them to regain some of their former glory and return to the days of Stage 1, but we’ll see if they’ll seize it.
There’s a few more names that qualified for this event, and we’ll go over them right now.
Rise has been an active professional Valorant team since the early days of Valorant, but for some reason Stage 3 was the first time we saw them appear in one of the Challengers events. They fought and won in some of the lower tier Valorant tournaments, which must have motivated them to give VCT a shot. In the end, they achieved pretty solid results, all things considered.
Pioneers was another name we first saw during VCT Stage 3 Challengers 1. Although they suffered a loss against Team Envy, they managed to eliminate Version1 who found themselves in the Lower Bracket after losing to 100 Thieves. By all standards, these guys were considered rookies and yet they managed to beat one of the two teams that represented the North American region during VCT Masters in Reykjavík.
Pioneers show a lot of potential and they could be one of the main surprises in this event.
Can FaZe and Version1 bounce back?
Both of these teams were at the top of the NA scene at one point in time, but would later drop down. We all remember FaZe’s sudden spike in performance during VCT Stage 1 when they won Challengers 2 and secured the second spot in the following NA Masters event.
We wouldn’t see that FaZe again for months, and now they’re finally back. Perhaps they could shine once again and pose a threat to the current top dogs? Maybe. This event will be a real proving ground for them. If they manage to survive these guys, perhaps they’ll be able to stand toe to toe with Sentinels and the others.
Version1 has suffered a terrible defeat during the recent Stage 3 Challengers 1. The loss against 100 Thieves was unfortunate, but understandable. 100 Thieves are still one of the best squads in NA. However, them getting eliminated by Pioneers was a complete shock. Could Version1 be losing their grip? Or was qualifying for Reykjavík just a fluke?
They still have a chance to remedy the situation, and we expect them to do so. If they make it into the top four spots, which is a reasonable assumption, they’ll have a shot at qualifying for the Masters in Berlin during Challengers Playoffs. The Valorant odds are in their favor, but we’ll still have to wait and see how things turn out.