Saturday, June 25, 2022

VALORANT: Summary of all teams qualified for NA Stage 1: Challengers Group Stages

Let’s take a look at the 12 teams that will battle it out in NA VCT Stage 1: Challengers Group Stages.

To summarize, teams have qualified for the Challengers Group stages in three ways. The first is a direct invitation to 4 teams by Riot Games based on various factors. Factors such as team ranks in North America, performance in previous tournaments, and of course popularity among the audience. Second, is teams that have qualified through Open Qualifiers #1. We can assume that these are the Tier 2 teams in the beloved VCT region. Finally, the third is teams qualified through Open Qualifiers 2 and can also be considered Tier 3 teams in the North American region.

So read: NA VCT Main Event: Here are the first two teams to qualify for the main event from Open Qualifiers 2

Qualified Teams for NA VCT and what we expect from them

1.Teams that were invited:

  • Cloud9 Blue– Cloud9 Blue is one of the four invited teams for Stage 1 Challengers. They finished 2021 as the top team in North America and were the only NA team to reach the playoffs at Champions. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t make any moves in the offseason.
  • sentinels Like C9 Blue and Envy, Sentinels have not made any offseason moves. They also have not participated in any tournaments since Champions. When we see them next they’ll still feature the same core four lineup that has been together since the summer of 2020 and led by IGL Shahzeb “ShahZam” Khan, plus Tyson “TenZ” Ngo who has been with the team first on loan and then permanently since June 2021. Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty joined as coach just ahead of Champions last year and he is still with them.
  • envy Envy are another one of the invited teams, and they also have not made any moves in the off-season. They haven’t played in any tournaments since Champions. When they next enter the server for the main event, they’ll be running the same lineup we saw them with last year, led by IGL Pujan “FNS” Mehta and star duelist Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker.
  • 100 Thieves 100 Thieves are the only one of the four invited teams to have made any roster moves. They didn’t qualify for Champions so they have had a much longer offseason. Their last match was in October during the NA Last Chance Qualifier. Spencer “Hiko” Martin, Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk and Ethan “Ethan” Arnold are now joined by Hunter “BabyJ” Schline and Adam “ec1s” Eccles, who is the team’s new IGL.

2. Teams qualified through Open Qualifiers #1

  • Version1– Version1 is back. After losing IGL Anthony “vanity” Malaspina and failing to make it far in the NA LCQ last year, this team was no longer considered one of the best teams in NA. They did some tinkering with their roster in the offseason before bringing in former SoaR player Alexander “Zander” Dituri to round out the roster. After winning six matches without dropping a map in the first open qualifier, V1 have proved that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Stage 1 main event.
  • XSET XSET were probably the best NA team in 2021 that didn’t qualify for any international events. They made one move in the offseason, adding former SoaR player Matthew “Cryocells” Panganiban in place of Bryce “PureR” Lovell. XSET also played in one tournament in the offseason. They won one of the qualifiers for Nerd Street’s VALORANT Winter Championship. They only dropped one map in the VCT open qualifier en route to qualifying for the main event.
  • The Guard The Guard are a relatively new organization that began play last fall. They’re owned by Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, Fittingly, their roster features a former Overwatch player, Ha “Sayaplayer” Jeong-woo. They beat a revamped FaZe Clan in the open qualifier and only lost to XSET. Like XSET, they also won one of the Nerd Street VALORANT Winter Championship qualifiers during the offseason.
  • NRG– NRG were the fourth and final team to make it to the main event via the first open qualifier. Like The Guard, their only loss was to XSET. In the qualifying match, they beat Rise in dominant fashion, by scores of 13-3 in both maps. In the offseason they added former TSM player James “hazed” Cobb. NRG were fairly active in the offseason. They reached two finals, but lost to Cloud9 Blue in the Knights’ VALORAMPAGE tournament and to XSET in one of the qualifiers for Nerd Street’s Winter Championship.

3. Teams qualified through NA VCT Open Qualifiers #2

  • Evil Geniuses– Evil geniuses broke through for their biggest win yet when they beat Rise to reach the main event. The team completely rebuilt their roster since last summer, adding Kelden “Boostio” Pupello in the fall and Jeffrey “Reformed” Lu, Alexander “jawgemo” Mor and Diondre “YaBoiDre” Bond in January. YaBoiDre was a star on Luminosity Gaming for most of 2021 and was briefly with 100 Thieves in 2020.
  • Knights– In a battle between two Pennsylvania teams, the Knights beat the Soniqs to advance to the Challengers main event. They came close to qualifying in the first open qualifier, beating TSM and Soniqs and only losing to The Guard and NRG. In the second open qualifier, not only did they beat the Soniqs again, they also beat Built by Gamers. Their big offseason addition was former Immortals player Amgalan “Genghsta” Nemekhbayar.
  • Luminosity GamingLuminosity had an impressive lower bracket run, beating Bait Academy, Pioneers and Soniqs to qualify. LG added former Andbox player Adam “mada” Pampuch and former TSM Academy player Brandon Michael “bdog” Sanders to an already strong roster that was competitive last year throughout the VCT season.
  • rise Fourth time was the charm for Rise. They lost in an upper bracket qualifying match in both the first and second open qualifiers. In the first open qualifier, they also lost their lower bracket qualifying match, but they finally broke through in the second open qualifier with a victory over Built by Gamers. Rise hasn’t made any roster changes since last summer. Late last year they came within one win of winning the NA LCQ to go to Champions.

So read: NA VCT Main Event: Here are the first two teams to qualify for the main event from Open Qualifiers 2

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