Esports

Here are the four NA VALORANT teams qualified for the VCT Challengers Playoffs

After an impressive showing from North America at VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Masters Two Reykjavík, the region on the rise will have more representation in the next Masters event in Berlin, with three slots instead of two. The first open qualifier showed just how deep the region has become, with a handful of “top” teams getting upset, and others surviving close calls.

The first NA Challengers main event of Stage Three has been just as exciting, with more upsets, insane performances and highlights from the stars, and even an iconic blooper. While the bracket continues and the remaining teams fight for seeding and prize money, four teams have already secured their spot at the Challengers Playoffs in August, where they will fight for three spots in Berlin.

100 Thieves Screengrab via [VALORANT Esports](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6mW1usPhfg&t=125s)

100T retains their place at the big kids’ table of North American VALORANT for now. Aside from the teams that went to Reykjavik, 100T had the highest expectations of any other team in the region.

Outside of the first VCT qualifier they played without new dad nitr0, 100T has yet to fall in an open qualifier. After a couple of last-second stumbles during Stage One, they appeared locked in during Stage Two after a first place finish at Challengers One. But on their path to Iceland, they were frozen in place at the NA Challengers Finals, dropping out after back-to-back losses against Sentinels and Envy on the same day.

Like the rest of the absolute top North American teams, 100 Thieves kept their starting roster intact. Given their stature and earlier results, this meant they would be under the most scrutiny had they failed. They survived potential open qualifier upsets against both SoaR and Noble, then put on their best performances in the main event with two 2-0 upper bracket wins over Version1 and Envy. Asuna set a VCT record for most kills in a map when he dropped 48 on V1 in their overtime thriller on Icebox. Their spot is secured, but the job isn’t done yet for 100 Thieves just yet.

XSET Image via XSET

A familiar face in the first two stages of Challengers events, XSET had no trouble making it through qualifiers during VCT, but were consistently denied that landmark win.

Throughout Stage One and Stage Two, XSET successfully made it through every open qualifier they played in, and at the Challengers main events, they would do just enough to qualify for the next event until they got to the final North American event for each stage. They were the first ones bounced from Masters One, following two 2-0 losses to FaZe and Gen.G, and were knocked out first again after losing to NRG and Envy, but at least took a map off Envy.

But while it’s only the first Challengers main event of Stage Three, XSET have notched arguably their biggest win yet, defeating reigning Masters champions Sentinels in three maps just weeks after bringing in dephh and just days after signing the young zekken. XSET finally gets their first win over Sentinels after going 0-2 in two previous tries, and hand Sentinels their first loss since late April. XSET has arrived, and now their next step is the elusive deep run at the end of the stage.

Sentinels Image via Sentinels

All that for a drop of blood? The loss to XSET came as a surprise to Sentinels supporters, especially considering one of the map losses came on Haven. But the loss served as just a detour instead of a complete derailment.

Sentinels have been on an absolute tear after adding TenZ at the last minute before Masters One. In the 28 series they’ve played, they’ve only lost three: to Built By Gamers, Andbox, and now XSET. They’ve also won both the NA-only Masters One and as the first international VALORANT LAN in Masters Two, and only dropped one map across both of those in the very first series versus Luminosity.

To celebrate their win in Reykjavík, they completed the seven-figure buyout for TenZ from Cloud9 to permanently add him to the team. After the loss to XSET, they faced an underdog squad in the qualifier surprise Kansas City Pioneers. Sentinels reasserted their dominance on Haven, and then wiped out the Pioneers on their own pick of Bind to secure their Challengers Playoffs spot. TenZ had 47 kills over the two maps.

Team Envy Screengrab via [Team Envy](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8vzTSomAfk)

Team Envy reached their goal of qualifying for the Challengers Playoffs, in spite of unexpected circumstances. To move up, the team had to recover after a disastrous (but kind of hilarious) loss to 100 Thieves.

Like the other qualified teams, Envy have been a consistent presence and threat during the first two stages of NA VCT Challengers events. But like 100T and XSET, they’ve come up just short at the biggest tournaments, although they’ve gotten considerably closer with fourth place finishes at both Masters One and the NA Challengers Finals. Looking to inject some new energy into their roster before Stage Three, they signed Marved on loan from FaZe Clan and moved kaboose to the bench. Their open qualifier run went well, capped off with an impressive comeback versus T1. Envy got the luck of the draw by getting to play Kansas City Pioneers in the first round, which they won easily. Their lucky streak ended after an unfortunate situation agains 100T, which pretty much set the tone for the whole series.

Marved gets the half defuse and leaves after he seemingly through Victor would finish the action. It was the end of the first half of the map, so letting go of the spike wasn’t for the purposes of grabbing weapons or getting ultimate points. The blunder gave 100T a 7-5 lead at half-time. 100T would win the map 13-9 and the series 2-0, and thankfully for the Envy players, they recovered with a 2-0 win over Gen.G to secure their Playoffs spot. That mistake would look so much worse in hindsight had they not qualified.

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Outside of the first VCT qualifier they played without new dad nitr0, 100T has yet to fall in an open qualifier. After a couple of last-second stumbles during Stage One, they appeared locked in during Stage Two after a first place finish at Challengers One. But on their path to Iceland, they were frozen in place at the NA Challengers Finals, dropping out after back-to-back losses against Sentinels and Envy on the same day.

Source: https://dotesports.com/valorant/news/4-na-valorant-teams-going-to-vct-stage-3-na-challengers-playoffs

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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