NA VCT 2022 power rankings: Challengers One week one

Week one is in the books.

Image via Riot Games.

The first weekend of the VALORANT Champions Tour took place this past weekend, with the North American region kicking off in style with its first six matches of group play in Challengers One.

It’s only been one week of action and one series per team to go by, but every series is critical. Each team is only playing five series total to determine seeding for playoffs. This past week we saw a handful of the hot open qualifier teams stay hot, and some of the favorites shake off some rust. A few players put on such standout performances that they earned a spot in our first Team of the Week honors.

Here are Dot Esports’ power rankings for NA VCT 2022 Challengers One after one week.

RankTeamRank change
5The Guard+2
6OpTic Gaming-3
8NRG Esports
9100 Thieves-5
10Evil Geniuses
12Pittsburgh Knights-1

Plenty of work to do: 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses, Luminosity, Knights

Photo via Riot Games

There’s only a certain number of slots for playoffs, and 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses, Luminosity, and Knights still have a lot of work to do to get there.

100T definitely aren’t the same dangerous squad they were last year, and it hasn’t helped that they haven’t played official matches since October. With a couple other struggling teams in EG and LG in their groups, they have some hope of making playoffs. But if either of those squads start showing the skills they showed in open qualifiers, 100T are going to be in trouble.

All four of these teams near the bottom played against teams that currently rank in our top five, so taking an opening loss isn’t the end of the world for them. Knights are matched against Sentinels while 100T takes on The Guard this week. This will pit EG against LG in a match that could very well determine who sneaks into playoffs.

Middle of the pack: OpTic, Rise, NRG

Photo via Riot Games

We’re surprised to see OpTic here as well. It was not the stellar debut under their new green banner the roster was expecting, stumbling out the gate with a long 2-1 series loss to Rise. Yay had a great map on Haven, but outside of that didn’t have his usual level of impact. Like Sentinels, there’s still some rust to knock off for OpTic, but for them it has cost them a win.

While still in the middle of the pack, Rise rose a couple spots with a good overall series after a shaky run in the open qualifiers. Similar to both Xeppaa and Zellsis, neptune is playing tremendously well on KAY/O, finding more success than OpTic’s Victor was finding with Skye.

NRG were on the precipice of a massive upset to start the stage but just couldn’t finish the job against Sentinels. On top of the loss, they’ve now revealed they have a go-to in Fracture in their map pool. They’ll look to recover against OpTic next week.

The rising threats: Version1, XSET, The Guard

Photo via Riot Games

Our top teams are not safe with Version1, XSET, and The Guard in spectacular form right now. All three arose from the open qualifiers, all three have been crushing the competition in 2022 open events, and all three (plus C9) won their series by a double-digit round differential.

Version1 made the biggest jump after fittingly winning by the biggest margin of any team. They dominated their series against Knights with a 13-4 win on Ascent and a 13-2 win on Icebox. The whole team played exceptionally, but wippie and Zellsis each put up absolutely absurd numbers to notch spots on the TOTW roster.

XSET notched a solid win against EG as well, with their newest addition Cryocells showing he has the potential to be one of the next great Jett mains in NA. And the new squad in The Guard continue to get better and better, showing their dominance in a 13-1 rout of LG on Haven while also showing their grit in a narrow 15-13 overtime win on Fracture.

Still the favorites, for now: Cloud9 and Sentinels

Image via Riot Games

It wasn’t the clean dominant showing we expected out of C9 and Sentinels, but they got the job done by getting into the win column. As a whole, expect both teams to continue to stay on top as they get back into form.

Sentinels looked especially rusty in their opening map against NRG on their own pick of Fracture. TenZ went 0-for-5 in opening duels in the first half, but he built some momentum in the second half that carried into standout performances on Haven and Bind. The team overall struggled with opening duels all series but still squeaked out a win against a red-hot NRG team.

C9 stayed in control for virtually their entire series against 100 Thieves, punctuated with a dominant defensive showing in the second half of Breeze. Xeppaa’s KAY/O game on Breeze landed him the Initiator spot in our TOTW list, with 10 assists and a +10 K/D. C9 look good, but they’ll have some good competition to test themselves coming up.