VCT North America Stage 1 packed full of upsets and mishaps

We are heading into the final stage of Groups at VCT NA Stage 1. Plenty of upsets and mishaps have happened thus far, and with Playoffs around the corner, it is time for a last bit of predictions before the deep dive analysis comes next week.

Vanity C9 Valorant

VCT North America Stage 1 Challengers full of upsets

The start of 2022 has seen some significant movement in standings.

The Guard are currently the underdogs, a newly formed team that has the potential to become NA’s best if they can maintain their consistency and continue to steadily improve. Version1 tumbled in last place towards the end of 2021. However, with the acquisition of new in game leader Zoar, V1 have once again rebounded as a top NA team and are poised to make it into playoffs with ease.

Sentinels still likely to advance into playoffs, have a long way to go if they wish to maintain their crown as North America’s top team. Cloud9 have maintained their position as a world class team, easily dominating the competition in their group. C9 are almost assured to secure a spot in playoffs despite this week’s result. As expected, with the recent roster drama in 100 Thieves, the team have almost definitely lost all chance to qualify for playoffs.

Cloud9 vs The Guard

Since Vanity joined Cloud 9 as the team’s new in game leader, the team have transformed into a top tier team. C9 have dominated their competition in the earlier weeks of the North American VCT Stage 1 Challengers, currently 4-0. Despite being a new team, The Guard have surprised all with their extremely strong first few weeks. Like Cloud 9, The Guard have a perfect 4-0 run, but with a significantly stronger round win/loss ratio. Able to take down XSET so early on, as individual members of The Guard develop synergy, the team is expected to reach even greater heights.

Prediction: Cloud 9 45% l The Guard 55%

NRG vs Rise

Despite winning Tyler1’s Money Match, NRG have struggled against the stronger competition in VCT, currently down 0-4. Rise are similarly down bad, but have shown to be able to contest some of the better teams in their group with extremely close sets. Both teams have had limited roster changes in the past, however, Rise has continuously improved while NRG have stagnated.
Prediction: NRG 36% l Rise 64%

Sentinels vs Version1

Sentinels despite undoubtably being a top team and currently 3-1 in their group, have had a weaker than expected performance. The team had numerous close calls with overtime matches. This is a significantly more disappointing showing compared to their near uncontested dominance in the NA VCT this time last year. On the other hand, Version 1 have had much more decisive victories, currently 4-0 and boasting the highest round win/loss ratio in the event. V1’s consistency places them in a favorable position against Sentinels.

Prediction: Sentinels 40% l Version1 60%

100 Thieves vs Evil Geniuses

100 Thieves had started off slow in 2022, however, the shock roster decision to farewell BabyJ and EC1S have not only negatively impacted the team’s reputation, but their ability to contend for this event. 100 Thieves had an expected slow start given their roster changes heading into 2022, however, with yet another two new players, the team’s morale is likely at rock bottom. Low morale not only stems from their disappointing 0-4 record, but the threat of players being replaced without given a chance to develop. In a similarly weak position, Evil Geniuses also have yet to score a win. While EG also have three new players that started at the beginning of the year, they hold a small advantage with morale not being shot with a mid-season roster change.

Prediction: 100 Thieves 47% l Evil Geniuses 53%

Knights vs Optic Gaming

Despite failing to qualify for VCT multiple times in 2021, Knights have shown great promise in the group stage of the 2022 NA VCT Challengers Stage 1. With the recent acquisition of Genghsta, the team have quickly improved. Optic Gaming on the other hand picked up the well-established Team Envy lineup with proven success. Unfortunately, Optic have also failed to improve and clearly struggled in the early weeks, even dropping a set to Rise. If Knights manage to take this game off Optic, Knights will be a key contender and top force in the NA VCT scene.

Prediction: Knights 50% l Optic Gaming 50%

XSET vs Luminosity Gaming

While XSET are regarded as a top team, they had missed out on qualifying for Valorant Champions despite second place finishes in two NA VCT Challenger events.  However, XSET took a decisive win in the 2022 NSG Winter Championship, ending almost undefeated in the playoffs stage. Luminosity on the other hand have been widely inconsistent, with this year being no different. While currently 2-2, Luminosity have a negative round win to loss ratio.

Prediction: XSET 55% l Luminosity Gaming 45%

Those interested in Valorant betting should take all match predictions under careful consideration. NA is quite unstable in terms of team dominance and almost every team (bar Rise) can come out ahead against any opponent.