VALORANT Champions APAC region preview
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At VALORANT Champions 2021, there will be five teams representing the APAC (Asia-Pacific) region: Vision Strikers, Crazy Raccoon, X10 CRIT, Team Secret and FULL SENSE. Four of them qualified via circuit points throughout the year, while FULL SENSE qualified through APAC Last-Chance Qualifier.

Though the competition coming out of North America and Europe will be stiff, the APAC teams all have the potential to surprise. Some even have the potential to win the whole thing. Here’s a look at the teams coming to VALORANT Champions from APAC.

Vision Strikers | South Korea

Vision Strikers winning Korea Stage 3 Challengers.
Vision Strikers winning Korea Stage 3 Challengers. | Provided by Riot Korea

Vision Strikers is the APAC team with the best chance of going all the way. They’ve been nearly undefeated in the South Korean region for over a year and swept through groups easily in Stage 3 Masters: Berlin earlier this year. In Masters playoffs, they were dealt a quarterfinals matchup against eventual champions Gambit Esports and were knocked out, but they were also the only team to take a map off Gambit in the playoffs.

Before Stage 3 Masters, VALORANT caster Seth “Achilios” King called Vision Strikers “the team to watch globally for strategy.” They found the vast majority of their success from a methodical, disciplined approach to VALORANT that relied on patience and set plays. With leadership from FPS veteran Kim “stax” Gu-taek and explosive star power from the likes of Yu “BuZz” Byung-chul, Vision Strikers are looking like a fearsome and well-rounded team heading into Champions, one that’s ready to seriously challenge for VALORANT’s first Champions title.

Crazy Raccoon | Japan

Crazy Raccoon at Masters Berlin
Crazy Raccoon at Masters Berlin. | Provided by Riot Games

Crazy Raccoon (yes, singular “Raccoon”) were Japanese representatives in both of the international Masters tournaments so far. They had a disappointing finish in Stage 2 Masters: Reykjavík, one that caused Matsuda “neth” Yusuke to dissolve into apologies and tears during a broadcast interview, but showed much more potential in Stage 3 Masters. Though they once again failed to make it out of groups, Crazy Raccoon played two extraordinarily close maps against Gambit Esports, who went on to win the whole tournament. Neth and Hideki “Fisker” Sasaki in particular put on impressive individual performances against Gambit.

They’ll be facing off against Gambit again come Champions, but the other two teams in their group are Team Vikings and Team Secret, both of whom they have a good chance of winning against. Crazy Raccoon will be looking to redeem themselves and show the world that the Japanese region, which boasts one of the largest local fanbases in VALORANT, deserves a shot to compete with the best.

X10 CRIT | Southeast Asia

X10 CRIT at Masters Reykjavík
X10 CRIT at Masters Reykjavík. | Provided by Riot Games

X10 CRIT were last seen on the international stage during Stage 2 Masters, where they finished 1-2 in a double-elimination bracket. They missed Stage 3 Masters and stumbled during Southeast Asia Stage 3 Challengers, but were able to qualify to Champions due to the circuit points they’d accrued over the year. They’ll be one of two Thai teams at Champions this year, alongside FULL SENSE.

X10’s surprising performance in Stage 2 Masters and subsequent struggles can all be attributed to one player: Patiphan “Patiphan” Chaiwong. The young phenom, who’s been playing games professionally since he was 14, was the team’s clear star player during Masters. He took time off due to an injury from July to September, but he’ll be back in the lineup during Champions. Patiphan, along with Itthirit “foxz” Ngamsaard, will be the key to X10’s success in December – though they’ll have to make it through Team Envy and Acend in groups.

Team Secret | Southeast Asia

Team Secret were formed after Bren Esports parted ways with their entire VALORANT roster. The roster notably had qualified for Stage 3 Masters but was unable to attend due to visa issues, depriving Secretof their first opportunity to compete internationally in VALORANT. As a result, the team is coming into Champions with no experience playing any team outside their own region.

They were the champions of SEA Stage 3 Challengers, thoroughly sweeping Paper Rex 3-0 in the grand finals. One player to watch in particular is Jim “BORKUM” Timbreza, the team’s Controller specialist. His utility usage and clutch potential will be a big factor in Team Secret’s Champions hopes. In groups, Gambit Esports may be difficult for them to overcome, so there’s a good chance Team Secret’s main matchup will be against Crazy Raccoon. Whichever team comes out on top there will likely be the one advancing to the playoffs.

FULL SENSE | Southeast Asia

Of the APAC representatives at Champions, FULL SENSE are perhaps the most unexpected. They qualified to the tournament through the APAC Last-Chance Qualifier ahead of favorites like DAMWON Gaming and F4Q. The main players to watch from FULL SENSE will be the mechanically excellent Chanawin “JohnOlsen” Nakchain and versatile flex player Kititkawin “PTC” Rattanasukol.

According to X10 CRIT’s Thanamethk “Crws” Mahatthananuyut, FULL SENSE’s LCQ victory heralded a boom in the Thai VALORANT scene’s local fanbase. Thailand will be the only APAC country to have two teams representing them this year, and both will both be representing their region proudly. FULL SENSE have a tough road ahead of them, though; their group contains Vision Strikers, Fnatic and Cloud9. Against these powerhouses, they’ll have to make some real magic happen, but a couple of surprise map wins here and there certainly aren’t out of the question.

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