The Valorant Champions Tour North America Stage 3 Challengers 1 Qualifier has concluded, with eight teams qualifying for the Main Event, which is set to begin on July 9th. Here’s how they all made it to the next stage.
Sentinels vs Soniqs: history (almost) repeats itself
Sentinels, the defending champions of the Valorant Champions Tour Masters suffered a major upset in the first match and ended up losing Icebox to Soniqs. This loss was enough to evoke nostalgia from the open qualifiers for the Challengers 1 of VCT Stage 2 where Sentinels were defeated by BBG.Nonetheless, Soniqs had their dreams stomped on as soon as the second map began. The angered Sentinels sought vengeance and had a dominant comeback with a 13:5 finish on both Bind and Haven proving that they are ready to retain their crown.
XSET vs DarkZero Esports
After reaching the Challengers Finals in the second stage of VCT, XSET have remained a top ten team in North America for several months. Since a tournament-winning chemistry develops over time, the recent roster changes had raised some concerns amongst its fanbase. However, with their 2:1 triumph over DarkZero Esports, it appears as though the squad is ready to overcome any barriers in their way.
With a 13:9 victory in the opening map, XSET gained the lead in the tie. DarkZero Esports broke the deadlock by winning the second map with a score of 13:10. Breeze, the last map of the best-of-3 (bo3) series saw an XSET takeover as they paved their path to Challengers 1 with a 13:9 finish.
T1 vs Team Envy
Team Envy are a reputed name in the Valorant competitive scene having made it to round 3 of the Lower Bracket in the Stage 2 Challengers Finals. T1, on the other hand, has had a rocky start in the scene. Although they implemented a few changes in the off-season for a renewed chance at the crown, they couldn’t make the cut this time either.
T1 started strong in the series, taking Split with a 13:5 scoreline but Team Envy realized their mistakes in the first map and turned the series around with stunning performances, finishing 13:10 on Bind and a shocking 13:0 on Haven.
100T vs Noble
100 Thieves have kept faith in their existing roster, polishing their skills and honing their strategies for the past month in preparation for this event. Despite this, they had one of the most difficult paths to qualifying. Just like in their previous matchup in the qualifier, where SoaR managed to take a map from them, Noble did so here as well. Though 100 Thieves won the first map by a 13:9 margin, they lost on Icebox with the exact same scoreline. It took a 13:8 on Ascent for 100T to prove they are the more deserving team in the end.
Version 1 vs Luminosity
Version1 were just inches away from the crown at the Masters Reykjavík event. Like Sentinels, Version1 directly skipped to the round of 32 of the open qualifiers after making it to Masters 2.
They swept YFP and Luminosity Gaming to make it to the Challengers event. It is worth mentioning that Version1 played without their full roster (due to Zellsis’ suspension by Riot for Challengers 1) and still managed to qualify with two clean sweeps.
Gen.G vs Andbox
Gen.G had yet to find their breakthrough in the mainstream Valorant scene. This time around they, were ready to qualify for their first VCT Challengers after acquiring fresh talent and working on their gameplay in the off-season.
Though both Pittsburg Knights and Andbox took a map from Gen.G, they clutched their way to the Challengers 1 with a 13:6 on Split. In contrast, Andbox will have to analyze the game’s VOD in great detail because a 13:5 and 13:6 loss against Gen.G brought their flaws into the limelight and sparked discussion regarding the team’s viability in the future tournaments.
Rise vs Cloud9 White
For the first time, Rise qualified for the main event. The team, a collection of players from different rosters that surprised everyone during the open qualifier, decisively beat Built By Gamers in the round of 32, and Cloud9 Blue in the round of 16. Both of these teams had spectacular performances in the second stage of VCT with Cloud9 Blue even making it to the Lower Bracket Finals of the Challengers Finals, making these wins even more notable.
Kansas City Pioneers vs VIRTUOSO
Kansas City Pioneers, a previously unknown team, defeated Immortals in the round of 32. Their outstanding play continued as they defeated VIRTUOSO to qualify for the VCT Stage 3 Challengers main tournament as the eighth and final team to do so. Though they’re clearly seen as underdogs, their squad features three former eUnited players and should not be underestimated.
These eight teams will compete in a double-elimination bracket on July 8 for the chance to qualify for the NA Challengers Playoffs in August. The top four teams of the main event will move on to the next phase of the competition, and the bottom four will be directly invited to Challengers Two. They will be joined by four more teams from the second open qualifier.