As VALORANT Champions Tour progresses to its first international LAN, one thing to keep a close eye on in the lead-up is how the teams play the game. Recognizing which agents and compositions they like to run lends tremendous insight into trying to preview how the teams will stack up against each other at VCT Masters Reykjavík.
With no examples of international competition to examine ahead of time, we have no choice but to look at the compositions and strats that got them here.
North America: Sentinels and Version1
The biggest difference between the two North American representatives comes in the number of compositions they’ve run. Sentinels keep their playbook short and simple, with only 10 total compositions run across the five maps in the entire VCT Stage Two. Version1, on the other hand, have run 15 different compositions, with five different ones on Haven alone.
For Sentinels, their map pool is strongest on Haven, Split, and Icebox (+80-percent win rate on each during VCT Stage Two, according to VLR.gg). On Haven, they run a standard composition of Sova, Jett, Cypher, Phoenix, and a smoker (either Astra or Omen). On Split, they run Jett, Sage, Astra, Cypher, and a duelist (either Reyna or Raze). Their second duelist usually depends on who’s playing Jett. If ShahZaM is on Jett, TenZ will play Reyna. If TenZ is on Reyna, ShahZaM will take Sova and SicK will take on the duelist role on Phoenix. The team is warming up to using Viper on Icebox like several other teams have, using her in the last four times they played there. With the smoker role not as viable on Icebox, Zombs has taken the reins with the toxic controller.
Version1 have had similar success on that trio of maps. But while Sentinels have also been successful on Ascent and Bind, V1 has struggled there. As mentioned above, they have five different compositions on Haven. But starting in the Challengers Finals, they began using a more consistent composition: Sova, Astra, Reyna, Viper, and Jett. Version1 are one of several teams to really embrace Viper post-buffs, selecting her on Bind, Haven, Split, and Icebox in recent matches.
Europe: Team Liquid and Fnatic
While both North American teams steer clear of Bind as much as possible, Liquid and Fnatic embrace it with open arms and some different agents. Both teams played Bind over 10 times each over the past couple of months and break out Brimstone and Skye while doing so.
Bind has become a clear favorite for Fnatic, who’ve never lost while using the same comp for virtually all their matches: Brimstone, Skye, Raze, Sova, and Viper. They use Sova and Skye to scout out defenders and attackers, while Brimstone and Viper choke off entry points, deny plants and retakes, and control the whole map. Raze adds an explosive element to a comp that favors the passive playstyle. Her satchel jump can be used to drastically change the tempo and throw the opponents off guard.
Liquid are fine on Bind, sitting at 8-3 in their most recent matches. But they do their heavy lifting on Ascent, where they’re 10-0. Similar to Fnatic on Bind, their Ascent comp has remained unchanged: Jett, Phoenix, Sova, Omen, Killjoy. ScreaM and Jamppi take on the duelist duties with Jett and Phoenix, respectively. Killjoy and Sova are safe support picks, chosen to provide opportunities for their star duelists to make plays. Liquid’s determination to use Omen over the increasingly popular Astra is interesting, but the mobility and backstab potential Omen has is more conducive to a player like L1NK.
Around the world
Out of Brazil, the biggest difference between the two teams is Vikings’ adoption of Astra, while Sharks stick with Omen. The use of Astra has paid dividends for Vikings, who have much higher winning percentages on all maps compared to Sharks. The only exception is Split, a map both teams have shown zero interest in playing.
Since the beginning of April, NUTURN Gaming haven’t dropped a single map, with their most one-sided performances coming on Bind. On Bind, they drop the traditional utility-based sentinel role taken by either Cypher or Killjoy and opt to use Breach instead. Playing with an initiator instead has opened the door for NUTURN to play with a blistering attack side, winning three out of every four attack rounds over seven Bind maps played.
There’s nothing out of the ordinary for Crazy Raccoon in terms of their agent comps. The team out of Japan hasn’t moved away from Omen to Astra yet, but they’re still experimenting with different comps on maps like Haven. In their last seven Haven maps played, they’ve used five different comps, which have included single, double, and triple duelist.
X10 have transitioned over to using Astra over Omen and have also worked Breach into their primary compositions for Haven and Split. Since the beginning of April, they haven’t dropped a single map on either Haven or Ascent—maps where they exclusively run a single duelist (Jett).
The KRU crew is fully embracing Sage on Split, Ascent, and Icebox, which also happen to be their best maps in terms of win percentage. Naturally, their defensive sides lead the way with a comp that features Sage, Killjoy, and Viper. It’s a small sample size, but their Icebox defense is nearly impenetrable, with 21 defense rounds won and only one loss in two maps. With Sage and Viper returning to the active meta, KRU is making the most of them.
With all the teams accounted for, here are some aspects of the meta you can expect to see across the entire field of teams at VCT Masters Reykjavík.
Jett and Sova will likely be the top two agents picked across the entire event. They’re the go-to foundations for any team’s composition on any map with the exception of Sova on Split. Expect the rates for Viper and Sage to continue to rise since both agents are viewed as necessary for defense and post-plant situations for the attacking side. Omen’s use should continue to slide in favor of Astra. Even teams like Liquid and Crazy Raccoon will likely start to realize that Omen is limited in utility potential compared to Astra.
VCT Masters Reykjavík will begin on May 24.
All stats courtesy of VLR.gg.
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