NRG VALORANT players s0m and ardiis celebrate a win on stage at VCT LOCK//IN.
Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

NRG VALORANT star to face familiar foes in first round of Masters Tokyo

Nine trophy lifters all in one series.

The full schedule for the VCT Masters Tokyo event was released today and a meeting between former teammates who have raised a trophy together is set for the opening round.

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NRG, the second seed from VCT Americas, will take on Natus Vincere, the fourth seed from VCT EMEA, in the first round of the VCT Masters Tokyo group stage. This will be the first faceoff between NRG star Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks and all four of his former FPX teammates now donning the black-and-yellow of NAVI. Ardiis was the only VALORANT player to move from EMEA to the Americas during the offseason, joining the former OpTic core on NRG.

Ardiis effectively traded one Masters-winning core for another as both OpTic and FPX lifted trophies during 2022, with OpTic doing so in Reykjavik while FPX conquered Copenhagen. The two teams only met once all year, in the lower finals of Copenhagen, where OpTic avoided getting swept but still lost decisively to the dominant FPX trio of ardiis, Shao, and SUYGETSU.

Both NRG and NAVI had slower-than-expected starts to their respective VCT 2023 seasons, but both finished strong with top-three placements heading into the playoffs. Both teams lost their first upper bracket matches, however, forcing them to fight for a Masters Tokyo spot in the lower bracket, with NRG even having to overcome one of the breakout teams of the year in Cloud9. NAVI have fared well with former world champion cNed taking on the primary duelist duties.

Read more: NRG’s ‘W streamer’ is one of the deadliest players in VCT Americas

As if a $1 million prize pool, international bragging rights, and a gorgeous trophy aren’t enough to motivate a team, the winner of Masters Tokyo also ensures an extra spot at Champions 2023 for their region. And while NRG have already locked in a spot at Champions, NAVI need to avoid finishing the lowest of the four EMEA teams in Tokyo. Otherwise, they have to go the route of the EMEA Last Chance Qualifier.

NRG and NAVI’s opening round match at Masters Tokyo is scheduled for 10pm CT on Sunday, June 11.


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Author
Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.