VALORANT Champions roundtable: Predicting knockout stage teams
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The first five days of VALORANT Champions action has seen numerous intense matchups, teams sent home and a host of drama. From Vivo Keyd and FURIA Esports official tournament rulings to Gambit Esports almost losing their first two matchups, the biggest international tournament has started off on the right foot gameplay-wise.

Upcomer has gathered our group of reporters to comment on the remaining teams left to play and the controversy surrounding the event.

Do you agree with Riot Games’ ruling on the Vivo Keyd vs. Acend match?

Riot Games were in a tough spot with the Vivo Keyd vs. Acend matchup, considering the high stakes of the tournament, as well as the passionate fans from Brazil. However, at the end of the day, Vivo Keyd still used an illegal exploit in an official match that was punished before in another series. I think Riot Games did the right thing by allowing the map to play out again with the advantage going to Acend for the rounds where Vivo Keyd used the exploit.

— Danny Appleford

I agree with the ruling but I also understand why most fans are pissed around it. The exploit itself should’ve been patched by now, especially since it has been used and punished in previous tournaments. But, in my opinion, this doesn’t mean that the game can just be replayed from the exact position it was in. Vivo Keyd used an exploit for six rounds — that’s a fact. You can’t just replay the game when the team originally won a match due to an exploit. There has to be some advantage that Acend gets to even it out, especially since they didn’t do anything wrong.

If Riot and the administrators noticed this exploit mid-match, the outcome would’ve been different and, most likely, less harsh for Vivo Keyd. But you can’t rule on what could’ve happened; you have to make decisions based on what actually happened.

— Michael Czarnowski

Riot made the correct decision in their first ruling. Yes, the camera should’ve been patched and a tournament official should have been able to spot it initially. But, since both of those things did not happen, the map should’ve been forfeited. The VALORANT team is known to cave to community pressure and, normally, that has been for the better. But, now we see that it is more of a double-edged sword.

— Declan McLaughlin

Who will join Fnatic, Gambit Esports and Team Liquid in the VALORANT Champions knockout stage?

I think Sentinels, Team Vikings, Vision Strikers, Acend and Team Envy will end up making it to the knockout stage at Champions. We may have seen Sentinels falter somewhat against FURIA Eesports and Team Liquid but, overall, they are still the second best team in Group B. Additionally, I have been impressed by how well Team Vikings have performed at the event and they will be able to easily take down Team Secret to earn the second spot from Group C.

While Cloud9 are a good team, they’re not good enough to defeat Vision Strikers to make it out of Group D. The team has not shown what they are capable of during Champions after they did so well at the North American Last Chance Qualifier. Finally, despite the drama between Vivo Keyd and Acend, I still think Envy and Acend will come out on top of their group.

— Appleford

I think for Group A, Team Envy and Acend are the ones who will make it through.

For Group B, Sentinels should join Team Liquid in qualification to knockouts, especially with how close they played them in the winners bracket match.

But, if there’s one potential upset, I think Team Secret will make it over Team Vikings in Group C. In their recent performance against Crazy Raccoon, they look determined to show that their map wins haven’t been flukes.

Lastly, in Group D, I think Vision Strikers will make it over Cloud9.

— Czarnowski

Out of Group A, I have my money (figuratively of course) on Envy and Keyd Stars. I think we’ll see a rematch of Acend and Keyd in the lower bracket and the Brazilians will take a statement series.

For Group B, it’s hard to go against Sentinels, so I have to stick with the favorites.

Group C and Group D are the hardest to predict, but Team Vikings and Vision Strikers are my picks because those teams have impressed me the most in their matches after not seeing any official action in over a month.

— McLaughlin

What player do you think will have the biggest impact for the teams still fighting to make the knockout stage?

Out of all the teams fighting for a spot in the knockouts, I think the player who has the most impact is Tyson “TenZ” Ngo. It might be an easy choice, but TenZ is the most explosive player in the tournament. We saw what can happen when he pops off at previous tournaments, but we also know what it’s like when he doesn’t from VALORANT Champions Tour Masters Berlin. After their map loss to FURIA Esports, the team looks more human than fans expected. Now, TenZ has to help his team bounce back after a tough loss to Team Liquid, and he will have to continue his top form to qualify, let alone win it all.

— Czarnowski

 

 

I believe Vision Striker’s Kim “MaKo” Myeong Gwan will have the biggest impact if they want to rise above Cloud9 to get the second seed for Group D. MaKo, so far, has been performing well in tandem with his teammates. He has been a shining star on Controllers such as Astra and Viper to keep his squad in an advantageous state. If MaKo continues to keep up with the same pace, I believe they will overcome Cloud9.

— Appleford

Gustavo “Sacy” Rossi is probably the most important player for his team and statistically one of the best players at the tournament according to VLR.gg. It may be because of his great series against Gambit Esports, but he has the highest Kill/Deaths ratio at VALORANT Champions at 1.52 and the second highest average combat score at 274.4. He also tops the charts in average damage per round and kills per round.

If Team Vikings do manage to make it to the knockout stage, Sacy will have a hand in it.

— McLaughlin

Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.
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