Following another red-hot open qualifier full of surprises, eight North American VALORANT teams have now earned their spot in the second Challengers event. This time around, the top-four teams that emerge from Challengers will advance to the next stage of the VALORANT Champions Tour, the Masters.
The eight teams will meet in a double-elimination style bracket, with the top-four squads earning a spot at Masters. Here’s a closer look at the eight teams that will be competing.
The champions of the first Challengers event, Sentinels have shaken off the cobwebs and are back at the top of North American VALORANT. After dropping their first series to Luminosity at Challengers One, they went on a tear in the lower bracket. They defeated Andbox, Gen.G, and XSET before exacting their revenge on LG. Then they defeated Immortals in the grand finals.
While Jay “sinatraa” Won still stands out as the team’s primary duelist, CS:GO veterans and reunited teammates Shahzeeb “ShahZaM” Khan and Hunter “SicK” Mims have been upping their production tremendously. Both SicK and ShahZaM rotate in and out of the duelist role, giving Sentinels excess firepower and versatility.
If Luminosity continue to win at this rate, their two stand-ins won’t be temporary players for too much longer. Prior to the beginning of Challengers, Luminosity added Kaleb “moose” Jayne and Diondre “YaBoiDre” Bond as stand-ins to complete their rosters. Each player has been tremendous and their presence has spiked the team’s overall performance as well.
This group has handed losses to several of NA’s top teams, including Sentinels, Envy, and FaZe Clan. All three of those teams will be at Challengers Two, but their first task will be facing off against a new opponent in 100 Thieves.
Despite all the success they’ve had so far, Immortals still have something to prove. Looking to recover after an early exit at First Strike, they swapped out two starters and added Rhett “Kehmicals” Lynch and Nicholas “NaturE” Garrison. Similar to Luminosity’s situation, the new additions have provided a spark that lit the whole roster on fire.
Immortals took down XSET, Gen.G, and Luminosity to reach the Challengers One grand finals. But the one map advantage didn’t help them at all since Sentinels rallied off three straight maps to take the series. Looking to recover from this loss, they’ll start Challengers Two off against Gen.G.
XSET Gaming were another surprising team to see emerge from Challengers One. XSET stunned NA VALORANT fans everywhere just by making it to Challengers One, winning an exhausting three-map series featuring overtime against TSM. Not content with just being capable of a single upset, their wins over NRG and Envy in the closed qualifier punched their ticket to Challengers Two.
XSET still have a long way to go to establish themselves as a genuine threat. Four of their five map wins at Challengers One came by only two rounds, with the final coming only by three. They face a familiar foe in Envy to open Challengers two, but that might not be a welcome sight considering the form they’re in.
After just narrowly missing the cut in Challengers One, Envy weren’t to be denied a second time. Not concerned about having to withstand another open bracket, Envy made decisive work of their final opponents. Multiple 2-0 victories against beastcoast, Spacestation Gaming, and Renegades propelled Envy back into the conversation of the top dogs in NA.
Both Victor “food” Wong and Austin “crashies” Roberts have to be smiling looking back at the struggles T1 have been facing. Since joining Envy, the duelist and flex player have found tremendous success under Pujan “FNS” Mehta’s leadership. This team isn’t looking for another early exit this time around.
Everyone who saw 100 Thieves’ qualifying run for Challengers one end early knew there was nothing to be concerned about. With Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella away to oversee the birth of his child, 100T fielded a stand-in and fell in the open qualifiers. With nitr0 back in the lineup, though, they look like the same team that ran over opponents during their First Strike championship run.
Similar to Envy, 100 Thieves basically dominated everyone in their way in the Challengers Two open qualifier with 2-0 wins against NSIC, Ghost Gaming, and Andbox. The kings are coming back for their crown.
Gen.G were another surprising name to see still in the open qualifiers. After soundly beating NRG to open the Challengers One closed qualifier, they were surprised by Immortals in the next round. Then they got a dose of bad luck when they met Sentinels in the lower bracket, and boom, they had to go through another open bracket.
Well, that’s exactly what they did, handing out defeats to Down Bad and Cloud9 Blue before finding themselves matched up against TSM. Each team took care of their own map picks with Gen.G winning Icebox while TSM claimed Ascent. Bind, though, became a close affair after the map reached an 11-11 tie. But back-to-back clutches from Gen.G’s newest addition, Kenneth “koosta” Suen, sent TSM home. Gen.G will have a chance at redemption against Immortals to open Challengers Two.
FaZe have punched their ticket to Challengers Two, but they didn’t make it look easy. The team with the ex-Overwatch roster saw all three of their qualifying series against eUnited, Version1, and Built By Gamers go to three maps. There were some impressive feats in those series, however. They beat eUnited 13-0 in the final map and came back from a 1-0 deficit against V1.
Following First Strike, Andrej “babybay” Francisty said in an interview that FaZe were going to get a coach with a CS:GO background and become “the best team in the game.” While they haven’t yet brought in a CS coach, at least officially, they’re still making a case to be one of the game’s best teams. They have some ways to go and having to face Sentinels in the first round is certainly a trial, but a CS-focused coach might be what pushes them over the top in the future.
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