July 8 will commence the closed portion of the VCT Challengers Three qualifying tournaments. Victories here are important, as they ensure a team will make it to Challengers Finals, and have a shot at VCT Masters Three: Berlin.
Two of those teams vying for a shot at Challengers Finals are XSET and Rise, who will meet in the quarterfinal round of Challengers Three closed qualifier. The winner will move on to the upper semifinals, and the loser will fall to the lower bracket to fight for their tournament life.
XSET has been a known quantity in NA VALORANT for some time. They’ve beaten big name teams before, they’ve had their shot at winning closed Challengers events. There’s no more room to say that they’re plucky underdogs any more, they’re a top 10 team in the region by nearly every single metric. Bolstered by new additions Zachary “zekken” Patrone and IGL Rory “dephh” Jackson, XSET is a tier-one roster in waiting; they just need the results to back it up.
If anyone’s the underdog in this matchup, it’s Rise. However, following victories over Built By Gamers and a stellar 2-0 over the Cloud9 Blue roster, it might be time to take this iteration of Rise seriously as a contender in the server. Time will tell if this team will stick together and find the same level of success in the server, but for now they have the hot hand.
Despite Rise’s recent surge, XSET should have the upper hand in this matchup. They have the recent success and the grasp of the meta to ensure that they should be favored. If Rise is to continue their miracle run, it’ll have to be on the back of Phat “supamen” Le, who was excellent against Built By Gamers and Cloud9 as a stand-in.
The winner of this game will have their work cut out for them. They’ll advance to the semifinals where the victor of Sentinels or Gen.G awaits.