The pressure is on for the 10 teams competing at VCT Masters Reykjavík later this month. Only one will be crowned champions.
Riot’s first international VALORANT event kicks off on May 24 in Iceland. With seven different regions represented at the tournament, fans are bound to see varied metas and agent comps on a match-to-match basis. Will new controller Astra be a popular pick across the board? Which regions have the edge against their competitors? And who’s the favorite to take it all?
To assess what’s arguably the biggest event of the year, Dot Esports’ VALORANT writers addressed three burning questions going into Masters Two.
Which agent will be the biggest difference-maker at the international competition?
Andreas: It has to be a controller. Astra’s competitive presence, at least in NA, has been scrutinized since players think she has no counter play. Her play rate does vary from region to region, so it would be interesting to see how teams deal with her on the international level. Post-buff Viper is also a menace now that she instantly inflicts 30 decay with her abilities. Teams who optimally use her line-ups and poison can easily control the tempo of a push. And at the highest level of play, you can expect her to be a difference-maker.
Hunter: Jett is a strong candidate. Her mobility makes her crucial for operator play and her ultimate is essentially a gun on save rounds. However, I think it’s Astra. She can do so much by herself in terms of utility and synergizes with other meta agents as well. The combinations she can pull off with, say, Sova, Viper, and Omen really haven’t been explored in-depth yet, and I think we’ll start to see flashes of that synergy in Iceland.
Jalen: Astra is the newest agent in VALORANT and has already impacted NA. Her strong ability kit allows her to dictate the tempo of a round, and anyone using Astra can help their team from any location on the map. Any team can add Astra to their comp and be successful, and it will be exciting to see how the different regions use her.
Jerome: I strangely think Brimstone could be the biggest difference-maker. The few teams that play him will have a distinct advantage on the attacking side on maps like Bind, Haven, and Split. His toolkit fits perfectly in a post-plant situation where brains often outperform brawn. I can foresee teams struggling to deal with Brimstone at the tournament.
Scott: So much of VALORANT is support agents setting up plays for the duelists, and Jett is the biggest recipient. Her mobility makes her a prime candidate for operator players, and her kit lets her entry sites and initiate plays like no one else. On top of that, her ultimate can be a real momentum shifter, since it can be used in a save round to create a better opportunity for a thrifty round win.
Which region’s style is most conducive to being successful in Iceland?
Andreas: These teams have never faced each other before so it’s hard to predict which region’s style is better than the next one. But what better way to introduce yourself to the world than with an in-your-face, aggressive game plan that’ll catch your opponents off guard? North America has the edge here. If they can (strategically) bull rush past some of the other regions’ tactical utility usage, it should be smooth sailing.
Hunter: The European use of utility will be strong, but the game is still in its infancy. For that reason, I think NA is strong as a region, as their gunskill can take over rounds where utility usage is imperfect, as it still is across all regions.
Jalen: Europe understands how to use utility to push teams out of their comfort zone and how to force them to adapt on the fly. Aggressive teams will likely win a few rounds with raw talent and fast executions, but Europe will have the upper hand if it constantly control the map.
Jerome: The general consensus for the tournament is that North American teams will have a guns-blazing, no-nonsense style, while European teams will be more tactical, methodical, and slow. But I don’t think this really paints an accurate picture. Europe is more than capable of meeting NA (or any other region for that matter) head-on. Fnatic and Team Liquid are strategic, but they also have the firepower to match or better Sentinels and Version1.
Scott: Europe. Their use of utility is unmatched, and they’re one of the best at utilizing two of the most useful agents of the current meta in Reyna and Viper. Europe was the first to start bringing Viper back while the rest of the world is still catching up, and that’s going to be a big difference.
Who is the favorite to win VCT Masters Reykjavík?
Andreas: NA fanboy here, but I have to pick Sentinels. I didn’t think the team could get any better, but TenZ proved me wrong. They’ve won 21 of their last 23 matches, only dropping six maps in their victories, and they’re clearly in sync with one another. They’re smart, boast unrivaled star power, they have a great IGL in ShahZaM, and they’re tactically aggressive. They know how to win and they’ll prove that in Iceland.
Hunter: I’m going to go with Sentinels. I think they’re a mechanically excellent team, and I like their adaptability. More than anything, though, I like Sentinels’ resilience. They’ve been routed on the first map multiple times and eventually won the series 2-1. This team isn’t a stranger to adversity. When combined with a long-term winning culture and an impressive record in grand finals, Sentinels as the choice becomes easy.
Jalen: As much as I hate to show bias, I think Sentinels is going to bring home the title. The team has devastated almost every team in the NA region and has some of the best talent in the world. TenZ was the best pickup possible, and he easily meshes with the rest of the roster.
Jerome: It has to be Team Liquid; they’re the finished product. They have ScreaM, who is probably one of the best players VALORANT has ever seen, Jamppi, an operator specialist and all-around frag machine, and a scary British backline in Kryptix, L1NK, and soulcas. Liquid have the personality and flair to win a tournament of this caliber.
Scott: Team Liquid. There is a night-and-day difference between the first iteration of Liquid and the current one. The addition of Jamppi has added a combination of firepower and versatility that allows the team to win without needing ScreaM to carry. They absolutely dominated the competition at the EMEA Finals, and they’ll do the same in Iceland.
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