VCT NA Challengers 1 – Select Match Analysis

Week 1 of the North American VCT Challenger Stage 1 provided a good snapshot for teams who did not compete in tournaments prior to the start of VCT. The loss 100 Thieves had against Cloud 9 was definitely a shocker, considering the strength of the team last year. Week two will be a key week for 100 Thieves to prove to fans dropping b0i had been a correct call, and for newer teams to establish themselves and gain recognition.

VCT 2022 North America Stage 1 Challengers - Week 3 Overview

XSET vs. Cloud 9

XSET started the year off strong with a win in the NSG Winter Championship in a dominant fashion. They have also carried this strong performance through to VCT, earlier defeating Evil Geniuses 2-0 in week 1. Likewise, Cloud 9 have also secured a win earlier this year prior to the start of VCT, placing first in the Knights Arena Valorampage. C9 have similarly managed to 2-0 their opponents in week 1. Both teams are looking very strong this year, making this one set to be a close game between two well established teams of North America.

Prediction: XSET 57% l Cloud 9 43%

Version 1 vs. Rise

Despite once being one of the top teams in North America, Version 1 had a disastrous Stage 3 in 2021. Following their pick up of Zander as the team’s new in-game leader, the impact of this roster change has yet to be realized, the team placing an unfortunate 5-8th place in the NSG Winter Championship. On the other hand, Rise is an up and coming team with great promise. While it is only their second time participating in the VCT, many consider them to be the underdogs for the event. A key eye will be kept on Shanks, a streaming personality known for his dolphin-like laughs, but lazer aim during competition.

Prediction: Version 1 40% l Rise 60%

Optic Valorant

NRG vs. Optic Gaming

NRG have the potential to be a top team but have also been widely inconsistent in 2021. Bringing on hazed at the end of 2021, the team intended for a more experienced player to bring better structure and consistency. However, with a second place finish in the Knights Arena Valorampage contrasted by a 5-8th place ending in the NSG Winter Championship, NSG are once again unpredictable. Optic Gaming had taken over the largely successful Team Envy roster, an undoubtable top team in North America and a global force who placed 2nd in the Berlin Masters. Having retained the full Envy roster, Optic Gaming are poised to once again be one of the top contenders for the NA VCT Challengers Stage 1.

Prediction: NRG 28% l Optic Gaming 72%

The Guard vs. 100 Thieves

The Guard only signed their Valorant roster at the end of 2021, making them the newest line up (excluding Optic who took over Envy) competing in the NA VCT. The team had a rocky start in their debut, placing 5-8th in the NSG Winter Championship. However, they have shown slight promise having defeated Luminosity Gaming in week 1 in a dominant fashion, 2-0. On the other hand, 100 Thieves were amongst the best teams in North America in 2021, a force who even managed a top four placement in the Berlin Masters. In an effort to push for the top spot, 100 Thieves made significant roster changes, signing ec1s and BabyJ. While the team dropped their first match in VCT, they are expected to continue to be a top team as they continue to build synergy.

Prediction: The Guard 34% l 100 Thieves 64%