Three Takeaways from VCT Stage 3: TSM are finally back
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The last open qualifier for Stage 3 of the VALORANT Champions Tour has concluded. Four new teams have broken into the closed qualifier for their last chance to qualify for Challenger playoffs. While new teams, like TSM, have seen a resurgence in their gameplay, other teams, like Immortals and DarkZero Esports, have also been on our radar.

TSM nearly fall short twice during the open qualifier

After becoming known as one of the best teams in North America in 2020, TSM had a hard fall in 2021. They have gotten through the open qualifiers of only a few stages but never came close to making a run to either masters events. Even following several roster changes, TSM fell in round 32 of the last open qualifier to Noble Esports. The same thing nearly happened during the VCT Stage 3 Challengers 2 open qualifier also.

In the semifinal match against ANDBOX, TSM easily won the first match but lost the second in overtime. They would have to win the next match to avoid going out in the same place twice. It took another intense overtime that went 38 rounds before TSM finally won 2-1. The team wasn’t yet out of the woods, though. They still had to defeat DarkZero Esports if they wanted to make the closed qualifier. Another lost map, another overtime and a clean Icebox finally put TSM over the edge to make the closed qualifier. However, they nearly fell to both ANDBOX and DarkZero Esports before the finish line again.

Immortals keep getting worse

Since April of 2021, Immortals has made four different roster changes. None of which has been what the team has needed. Alongside T1, Cloud9 Blue and TSM, Immortals were one of the teams that made a name for themselves in 2020. However, after falling short in the main event before Masters 2 in Iceland, Immortals have been on their downfall. They were able to make it to both closed qualifiers during Stage 2 but finished in the same place both times.

After back-to-back sixth place finishes, Immortals placed bottom 32 of the VCT Stage 3 Challengers 1 open qualifier to the Kansas City Pioneers. During Challengers 2, they fell to FaZe Clan in the semifinals. FaZe Clan then went on to qualify for the main event, but Immortals are starting to stagnate in their play.

DarkZero Esports are better than anyone thought

DarkZero Esports are a relatively new team to the VCT. They made their first appearance during the Stage 3 Challengers 1 open qualifier. It was here that they took down other new teams, as well as FaZe Clan, and nearly handed a loss to XSET before going out. They fought hard for their position in the top sixteen for the event. They even finished above the likes of TSM, NRG, Immortals and Evil Geniuses.

In the Challengers 2 open qualifier, DarkZero would have to take down TSM for a second time to qualify for the event. The team had already made it to the same place they were before by taking down Pittsburgh Knights and Last Round Save in intense Game 3’s. However, TSM was too much for DarkZero in the end, after the second game went to overtime, and tied the game up 1-1. If DarkZero continues this pathway, they will be a team to be feared in upcoming qualifiers.

Danny Appleford is an esports journalist for Upcomer that started writing for Daily Esports in 2020. He now specializes in articles surrounding League of Legends, Call of Duty, VALORANT and Halo.