The players are and should be the focus when VALORANT goes global for the first time at Masters Reykjavík.
The second stage of the VALORANT Champions Tour will conclude with the game’s first international LAN and several emerging stars will look to shine even brighter for all the world to see.
Here are just a handful of players to keep a close eye on in Iceland.
Sentinels TenZ and SicK
Sentinels shine brightest when the pressure is on. After having to field a replacement at the last minute prior to Masters One, they didn’t lose a single map while handing two losses to the “hottest team in NA VALORANT” in FaZe Clan. Despite taking the long route to the Challengers Finals, they beat the best of the best to win another trophy and book their spot at Iceland.
Hunter “SicK” Mims provides a clutch factor, a steady supply of kills, and incredible agent diversity between Phoenix, Sage, Sova, and Reyna. Tyson “TenZ’ Ngo’s incredible playmaking abilities are elevating Sentinels to new heights, even if they’re not at the ludicrous level they were at when he was with Cloud9 Blue. Living in Western Canada, he’s been forced to play on less-than-ideal ping and believes his peeking abilities will be heightened on LAN.
V1 vanity and penny
The incredible run of Version1 at the NA Challengers Finals has been the region’s dominant storyline. In striking similarity to FaZe from NA’s Stage One, their impressive performances came against all manner of great teams with the exception of Sentinels. With a relatively shorter amount of time spent together compared to other teams, Version1 will be able to make the most out of the long break between Challengers and Masters.
An accomplished in-game leader in Anthony “vanity” Malaspina has thrived in the short time he’s spent playing VALORANT. He’s been bringing out the best of his teammates like Erik Penny, the quiet but deadly Jett main who’s triumphed over other elite duelists like C9 leaf, NRG ANDROID, and Envy Victor. He’s been the primary source of kills for his team and should be on the thoughts of all the squads that V1 could face in Reykjavík.
Liquid Jamppi and ScreaM
Following the first stage of the VALORANT Champions Tour, Team Liquid needed a change. The former Fish123 roster was tumbling downward after failing to make it through any of the open qualifiers during Stage One. Liquid needed more star power alongside Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom and needed a player who could make plays, particularly on the Operator.
They got what they needed and then some in Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen, a young Finnish CS:GO player with superstar potential who terrorized his opponents with the AWP. With Jamppi’s future in CS:GO closed off to him at the time, the timing of his transition to VALORANT was perfect for both parties. Much like Sentinels’ ShahZaM and TenZ, both Jamppi and ScreaM have found success trading off Jett duties and are each more than capable on other agents in their lineup as well. Both players bring a wealth of talent and knowledge to Liquid and VALORANT and are still just scratching the surface of what they can accomplish.
Fnatic MAGNUM and Derke
Fnatic’s road to Reykjavík follows an almost identical one to Liquid’s. The roster started off orgless but drew lots of attention with some impressive performances in 2020. But after signing with a big organization, the wins didn’t arrive instantaneously. Rather than risk being left behind in the fast-growing VALORANT scene, Fnatic opted for some roster moves of their own, releasing Kostas “tsack” Theodoropoulos and Muhammad “Moe40” Hariff. In their place stepped in Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev and Martin “MAGNUM” Peňkov.
Derke, in particular, has provided an incredible boost to Fnatic and put up some impressive numbers in the EMEA Challengers Finals on Jett, Sage, and Sova. He finished top five in the entire field of players for Average Combat Score, KD rating, and kills per round. He also finished with a +12 first kill/first death differential, indicating his impressive entry abilities. MAGNUM has been impressive as well but from a utility standpoint rather than a kill/statistics one. On Killjoy, he locks down sites and chokepoints with his utility, while he also uses Skye’s flashes and info-seeking abilities to create plays for Derke and doma. Prior to the grand finals of the EMEA Finals against Liquid, the two newest additions contributed to Fnatic not dropping a single map throughout the event.
NUTURN allow and Lakia
When Vision Strikers’ streak was finally broken at the hands of F4Q at the Korea Challengers Finals, a flaw was finally exposed after a near-perfect year-long run. Like the Rebel Alliance preparing to attack the Death Star, NUTURN formed a plan to hit Vision Strikers with well-placed utility, force them into unwinnable situations, and make rounds they were winning as costly as possible. NUTURN’s win generated the momentum needed to carry them into the grand finals against DAMWON in as close a series could be while still ending in a 3-0 result.
NUTURN is led by a true Korean Counter-Strike veteran in Kang “solo” Keun-chul, who has over a decade of experience in CS. He’s implanted his knowledge onto both Kim “Lakia” Jong-min and Park “allow” Sang-wook. Lakia has some CS:GO experience of his own and his impressive rifling combined with smart Sova play has helped him blossom into one of Korea’s best all-around talents. Allow has looked like one of the best Jett players in all of Korea and now looks to make an international impression on the Icelandic stage.
Other regions will showcase exceptionally talented players as well. Former Overwatch pros have been the driving force of the teams from Japan and Southeast Asia, including Byeon “Munchkin” Sang-beom for Crazy Raccoon and Patiphan Chaiwong for X10 Esports out of Thailand. Team Vikings are loaded with talented players each capable of popping off, with Gustavo “Sacy” Rossi and Matias “Saadhak” Delipetro each playing exceptionally well in the BR Challengers Finals.
New stars will try to rise on the global stage when VALORANT’s first international LAN kicks off on May 24.
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