The North American VALORANT Champions Tour has brought out the best of the best, and Stage Two has been the setting for more unreal performances and heroic highlights. While historically great teams like Sentinels and Cloud9 have struggled, a handful of teams like Ghost, Evil Geniuses, 100 Thieves, FaZe, and others have risen to the top to take their place.
With just a few days before the start of playoffs, there’s only a short amount of time to look back at the best performers from the group stage at each of the primary roles. Here are our picks for the NA VCT all-stars from the Stage Two group stage.
Flex: NiSMO, Ghost
With so many rising VALORANT stars in their early 20s and even still in their teens solely focused on the game, it’s kind of surprising to see a late-20s restaurant owner dominate the competition in such a manner. Ghost’s journey from being absent in Stage One to a contender in Stage Two has certainly been a team effort, but Marc-Andre “NiSMO” Tayar is truly playing at an elite level.
NiSMO finished the group stage with the highest ACS of all players, clocking in a 269.5. He also finished first in K/D and ADR, and finished in the top three for KAST% (Kill, Assist, Trade, Survive) alongside Ghost teammates aproto and brawk. He did all this while splitting his duties between KAY/O and Raze as well.
Honorable mention: Bdog, Luminosity
Duelist: Jawgemo, Evil Geniuses
The break between Stage One and Stage Two this year saw several teams drastically improve their standing through either small or significant roster changes, including EG. Their biggest source of improvement didn’t come from one of their new additions, but instead from the breakout performances put on by rising star duelist Alexander “jawgemo” Mor
Jawgemo had the second-highest ACS of any player throughout the entire stage and was equally as proficient and deadly with Raze as he was with Jett. He had a streak of four straight maps averaging a +10 K/D differential, which included his overwhelmingly dominant two-map showing over LG that resulted in a shocking blowout. And to think he was sitting on T1 Academy’s bench at the end of 2021.
Honorable mention: BABYBAY, FaZe Clan
Sentinel: Yay, OpTic
The rise of Chamber usage means that sentinel players are climbing higher and higher up the statistical leaderboards. But one Chamber main has been more impactful and dominant than all the rest: Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker of OpTic.
The man who was cool, calm, and collected even after winning Masters Copenhagen hasn’t let the trophy lift hangover get to him. He posted the third-highest ACS of all players in the group stage and the highest among sentinels. He also finished top three overall in K/D, average damage per round, and has the highest first blood success rate. Nobody makes an early-round impact like yay.
Honorable mention: Dicey, FaZe Clan
Controller: Marved, OpTic
Having reliability at every position is paramount to success in VALORANT, and that reliability has been a driving force for an OpTic Gaming roster that has not let off the gas at all in 2022. And one of the biggest sources of consistency comes from their controller, Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen.
Marved had the third-highest ACS rate of any controller player but provided more opening kills and multi-kills than his competition. While yay demands so much attention when any team matches up against OpTic, Marved’s utility work and ability to hold the backlines have quietly been a foundation of their winning ways.
Honorable mention: Vanity, Cloud9
Initiator: Xeppaa, Cloud9
Not much went right for C9 following the Xeta-curry trade with T1, in particular the brief role swap between curry and vanity that led to some rough performances for both players during C9’s three-match skid in the middle of the group stage. But they’re still locked in to the LCQ, and if there’s a primary positive takeaway from this stage, it’s been Erick “Xeppaa” Bach’s play on the initiator role.
Second only to NiSMO, Xeppaa posted the highest ACS of any player in the initiator role. He also had three good games on Fade, including a terrific performance against OpTic on Icebox, notching 22 kills against only nine deaths. Xeppaa and C9 saved their best for last against Sentinels, in a series that saw Xeppaa put up an unreal 22/4 K/D on Haven.