The NA VALORANT Champions Tour Stage Three Challengers One main event is just around the corner, and the top eight teams have secured their spots. Expected names like Sentinels, Version1, and Envy made it into the event, while smaller teams like Pioneers also have a chance to make it into the Challengers Playoffs.
The Challengers One main event also features a few exciting matchups, including a series between 100 Thieves and Version1. Version1 is fresh off a trip to Iceland for Masters Two and has established itself as one of the top teams in North America. 100 Thieves did not make it into Masters Two but are still one of the heavy hitters in the region.
One of the teams will advance to the upper semifinals while the other will drop to the lower bracket and will have to fight their way back. Both teams can beat their opponent, but taking a look at their recent performances can give fans a better idea of what to expect.
Version1’s continued success
Version1 surprised North America in the VCT Stage Two Challengers Finals. The team managed to make it through the event undefeated until they faced Sentinels in the grand finals, who defeated them 3-0. But Version1 beat big teams along the way, including Envy, Cloud9 Blue, and NRG. They also secured their spot in Masters Two Reykjavik, the first international VALORANT LAN.
Version1 started strong in Iceland with two wins against Crazy Raccoon and Team Liquid but lost against the Korean powerhouse NUTURN. They were finally sent home by Fnatic, but they were still one of the two North American teams that made it to the international event.
The team’s success earned them a bye into the round of 32 in the VCT Stage Three Challengers One open qualifier. Maxim “wippie” Shepelev joined the team again after sitting out in Iceland because of visa issues, and Version1 had little trouble making it through YFP Gaming and Luminosity without dropping a map.
Version1’s first opponent in the Challengers One main event, 100 Thieves, might be more challenging if they can return to their dominant form.
Stage Three redemption for 100 Thieves?
100 Thieves won First Strike, the first significant VALORANT tournament, but have not won another major event since. They finished in the in a tie for seventh in VCT Masters One and did not qualify for Masters Two. But 100 Thieves has looked strong so far in Stage Three and made it through the Challengers One open qualifiers with little issue.
100 Thieves beat IlluZion Orange and Lazarus without losing a map and beat SoaR in the Round of 32. SoaR managed to win Icebox, but it was a close 13-11 victory. 100 Thieves closed the series with wins on Ascent and Haven and moved on to face Noble in the round of 16. Noble also beat 100 Thieves on Icebox, highlighting what might be the team’s weakest map. 100 Thieves closed their third series in the open qualifiers on Ascent, however.
It is worth mentioning 100 Thieves used former player Quan “dicey” Tran as a substitute for Ethan Arnold against Noble, but only for the first map of the series. The core lineup is back for the team’s next match against Version1, which will undoubtedly be their biggest challenge so far.
An intense matchup
100 Thieves has their workout cut out for them against Version1. Version1 made it to Iceland for a reason and has shown no signs of slowing down against other teams in North America. Verison1 also has an 84 percent win rate on Icebox, according to vlr.gg, which would seem to almost guarantee a map win against 100 Thieves if the map is selected in the series.
100 Thieves does have an incredible roster with multiple CS:GO veterans with years of experience. Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk is also one of the best Duelists in the region and has the explosive power needed to take on Version1. If Version1 can maintain their dominant performance, it will likely be 100 Thieves moving to the lower bracket, however.
The winner of the series will move on to the Challengers One upper semifinals while the loser will face the loser between Envy and Pioneers. Regardless of the outcome of the first match, both teams have already earned a spot in the Challengers Two main event. The top four teams will earn a spot in the Challengers Playoffs.
100 Thieves will face Version1 at 4pm CT on July 8.