The battle of the top teams is going to be extra fierce in the playoffs.
Week one of Champions Los Angeles is in the books and we’ve got our playoffs bracket. 16 teams have been cut down to half as we get closer and closer to the Champion’s trophy.
The group stage was intense as every match mattered for a team’s chances for moving on to playoffs. As the dust settles from all the group stage action, there are a few trends popping up that might give us a hint of what the future of Valorant might hold.
The Winners Keep on Winning
Taking a look at who’s at the top of each group, we have Papr Rex, Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, and DRX. It should be no surprise that the top-of-the-board teams are doing well, but here in the biggest tournament of the year, they’re dominating.
Paper Rex, Evil Geniuses, and Fnatic are at the top after back-to-back 2-0 sets and some of them didn’t feel close. It’s been the same faces making deep runs into these tournaments and the results might look the same at this rate. Is there any team who can disrupt these titans of Valorant?
China Impresses the World
The answer might lie in the newly established Chinese region. While we already know that EDward Gaming is a real international contender, the other Chinese teams remain relatively unknown.
That is slowly changing as we have two Chinese teams heading into playoffs. EDG took down EMEA’s Giants to take second place in group A. Bilibili Gaming crushed America’s NRG twice in a row to take second place in group C.
The young region is surprising everyone with the speed and scrappiness of their play. One could say it’s unrefined but that might be exactly what they need to take the championship.
A Familiar Disappointment
Every tournament will have its bottom-of-the-barrel teams but no team wants to stay there. Unfortunately for Team Liquid, that’s the reality they’re in as they have once again bombed out of another major.
With their 0-2 match result in the group stage of Champions Los Angeles, Team Liquid has played a total of six matches across the three international tournaments of the year. Only one of those matches was a victory and a majority of them were 0-2 sweeps.
It’s hard to fathom how the EMEA regional league champions could perform so poorly in these international events. On paper they have everything they need to succeed; they have talented players and the support of one of the most prestigious esports organizations in the world. Could it be a mental barrier or the pressure to not repeat past mistakes that are causing them to fall apart at critical moments? Either way, Team Liquid will have a difficult postseason ahead of them as they assess what they need to do moving forward.
Banner image from Stefan Wisnoski on Riot Games.