North American VALORANT is back in a big way, with hundreds of teams signing up for the two open qualifiers feeding into the first NA VCT Challengers One main event of 2022. In that main event, 12 teams will compete in a round-robin group stage that determines seeding for a double-elimination bracket that will produce the two NA teams that represent the region in the first Masters LAN event of the year.
The 12 teams consist of four direct invites, four teams from the first open qualifier bracket, and four teams from the second open qualifier bracket. The main event action begins on Feb. 11. But before that, let’s meet the 12 teams that will be competing.
The invited teams
- Team Envy
- 100 Thieves
- Cloud9 Blue
These four teams represent the best of the best that North America had to offer in 2021. Sentinels ran roughshod over NA in the first two stages, claiming both the Masters One and Two trophies. Envy had a breakout event at Masters Berlin, reaching the grand finals without losing a map before eventually falling to Gambit. 100 Thieves were a contender all year, while Cloud9 Blue rode a hot streak from the NA Last Chance Qualifier all the way into the playoffs at Champions.
With the exception of 100 Thieves, all of the rosters from last year have stayed the same since the end of 2021. 100T saw the departures of both nitr0 and steel, bringing in BabyJ and ec1s during the offseason.
The first open qualifier teams
- The Guard
- NRG Esports
These four teams are the first to emerge out of the open qualifier. Version1 secured their spot first in dominant fashion, without dropping a single map during the entire open qualifier off stellar performances from Zellsis and Zander. XSET only dropped a single map in their run, with their new young Jett star Cryocells having a massive impact in his debut with the team.
Down in the lower bracket, The Guard rallied from a big loss to XSET with a solid victory over Akrew to secure their spot. NRG also lost to XSET early but went on an impressive run through the lower bracket propelled by both eeiu and s0m.
The second open qualifier teams
- Evil Geniuses
These four teams are the final group to join the main event after advancing through the second open qualifier. The new EG roster showed incredible fortitude with two straight reverse-sweep wins over both Ghost Gaming and Rise, with Knights qualifying on the same day after a win over Soniqs. Down in the lower bracket, Luminosity also punched their ticket with back-to-back reverse-sweep wins, just like their former player YaBoiDre did with EG. Rise, the breakout team from last year’s final stage, finally got across the finish line after a close series win over BBG.