On May 24, 10 of the best teams from around the world will take part in the first-ever international VALORANT LAN event at Reykjavik, Iceland. Most of these teams have never played against each other before and some have only done so in an online format which makes this tournament the most interesting event to date. We have tracked their domestic progress and success over the last few months. Here’s how we rate the 10 participating teams ahead of VCT Stage 2 Masters 2: Reykjavik.
Thailand team X10 enter Masters 2 as an unknown team. In their region, South East Asia, they’ve won 29 of their last 32 official matches. However, the strategies used in the region are not up to par with others. Despite X10 adapting to the current Viper and Astra meta, the team hasn’t had the opportunity to play against top teams from Europe and adapt to their playstyles. While each member of X10 may have incredible aim and are able to win their individual duels, they will need more than that to perform well at Masters 2.
– Zain Merchant
9. Crazy Raccoon
Crazy Raccoon come into Masters 2 as an underdog. The Japanese team has come into its own lately, breaking past Japan’s other top team Absolute Jupiter and qualifying over the rest of the Japanese field. Their journey was straightforward, as the Masters Japan winners defeated every team in their way and qualified with only one hiccup against their rivals in the group stage. Many of their Masters 2 qualifying matches went to all three games, but Crazy Raccoon’s individual players won out in the clutch consistently.
Crazy Raccoon may have two Koreans on their roster, but they do not play the Korean style of VALORANT. They do not have intricate strategies or utility traps, they rely heavily on individual skill and aim. This may pass in their home region, skill against skill, but against the best in the world it may not be a viable strategy. Expect a valiant showing from the Japanese representatives, taking fights whenever possible, but wins may be a different story.
– Declan McLaughlin
8. KRÜ Esports
KRÜ Esports entered VALORANT at the beginning of the year and dominated the entirety of the Latin America Scene. In their first few months, KRÜ made it to the grand finals but couldn’t take first place in tournaments. That all changed during the Masters 2 qualifiers.
Their run started during the Challengers stage. Here, KRÜ Esports obliterated every team in their path. In each series they played, the Latin American powerhouse didn’t drop a single map, and even 13-0’d Kaos Latin Gamers. KRÜ’s Stage 2 Challengers Finals run looked similar. They didn’t drop a map until the grand final, where the team beat Infinity Esports 3-1.
While KRÜ obliterated their region, they have yet to play against a top team outside Latin America. With a hard tournament ahead and an opening match against Fnatic, many are unsure how KRÜ will do against teams outside of their region.
7. Sharks Esports
Unlike Team Vikings, Sharks Esports have not been in the competitive VALORANT scene for very long. They first formed their team in January of 2021. The Brazilian Masters tournament was one of their first events. They finished top eight at the event after falling to fellow Brazilian qualified team, Vikings. After placing top eight, Sharks went on to a top four placement at a qualifier and continue to place fourth at the following two tournaments. These placements helped Sharks Esports eventually qualify for Iceland through Challengers Finals.
Not much is known about Sharks Esports due to their lack of performances outside of a few tournaments that have taken place since January. Wallacy “prozin” Sales was the shining light for Sharks during Challengers Finals, especially in their grand final appearance against Team Vikings. He was one of two players on their roster to go positive across the best-of-five series after his impressive performance on Phoenix and Raze.
– Danny Appleford
Version1 battled their way through a strong region to qualify to Masters 2. But to be considered in the top half of Masters 2 contenders, they’ll have to show that they can stay consistent in the long run first. Unfortunately for them, it will be an uphill battle with Maxim “wippie” Shepelev dropping out of the tournament due to visa-related issues.
Sandwiched between their losses to Sentinels in round one, and the grand final of the Stage 2 Challengers Finals, V1 took out several top contenders in their long run through the lower bracket.
The expectations for Version 1 – especially due to the wippie situation – are relatively low compared to the top dogs. But they also weren’t that high during qualification, so V1 may just surprise us all.
– Michael Kloos
Much like Version1, NUTURN are the unexpected representatives of their region. In the shadow of Vision Strikers for most of their time as a team, NUTURN turned that sentiment on its head. They soundly defeated the Korean powerhouse on their way to Masters 2. NUTURN landed this high up in our rankings for the team’s general skill across the board and strategic acumen.
Seo “Suggest” Jae-young, Park “allow” Sang-wook and Kim “Lakia” Jong-min come into the international LAN in the top 10 of statistical categories, like headshot percentage and Kill/Death/Assist ratio. They also showed how much better they are in terms of firepower in their qualifying tournament run. The team is on a 16-map win streak and is led by one of the longest tenured tactical shooter minds in the region in Kang “solo” Keun-chul.
NUTURN can go head-to-head with most of the field in terms of mechanics and always seem to have trap plays or unique utility combos in their pocket for every event. These qualities land them in the middle of our rankings.
4. Team Vikings
Team Vikings had a lackluster 2020 after they formed their roster in June of that year. They had trouble placing above sixth at most events with a majority of their performances ending in the bottom sixteen at tournaments. Outside of two top-four finishes at different qualifiers, Team Vikings were nothing to write home about. After failing to qualify for First Strike Brazil, Team Vikings dropped all but one member of their roster to start fresh ahead of 2021.
With a new roster, the ceiling for Team Vikings got much higher. They placed top eight at their first event of the year and continued to climb from there. They won Masters 1 for Brazil back in March and continued that momentum to qualify for Iceland at Challengers Finals. With members like Leandro “frz” Gomes and Gustavo “Sacy” Rossi on the roster, Team Vikings appear to be an unstoppable force coming into the first international tournament for VALORANT.
European organization Fnatic have dominated regional competition. With stark comparisons to rival Team Liquid, the mix is set to provide some much needed competition at Masters 2.
Fnatic signed Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev and Martin “MAGNUM” Penkov to the roster on April 8 following the removal of Kostas “tsack” Theodoropoulos and Muhammad “Moe40” Hariff. Derke, in particular, has impressed in the European scene with his performances on Jett. The Finnish star bears a striking resemblance to Liquid’s Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom since they’re both talented dualists.
MAGNUM acts as the support of the team with Agents such as Skye and Cypher in his locker. Even then, unlike some players across the pond, he manages to find frags. Leading the team, however, is former CS:GO player and in-game leader Jake “Boaster” Howlett.
Boaster has made use of Astra, arguably the best Agent in the competitive meta. Fnatic will likely utilize this Agent at Masters considering her prevalence in professional play. With Boaster at the helm, he’ll be sure to utilize all of the talents at his disposal.
– George Geddes
The highest-ranking squad North America has probably ever had going into a Riot Games-produced international tournament, Sentinels are the hope of an entire region. Following almost a decade of follies and failures in League of Legends and a slew of other popular competitive video games, Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan’s team wants to change the perception of what it means to be a North American champion in a Riot Games competition. A team that is built front to back with fraggers and star power, Sentinels’ adaptability and confidence give them a strong résumé heading into Iceland.
What could detour Sentinels from a podium finish is their knack for slow starts. The flexibility the team shows later on in a tournament is impressive, but with a possible matchup with fellow tournament favorite Fnatic in the opening round, Sentinels won’t be given time to ease into the largest scale VALORANT tournament of all time. But, if Sentinels can get off to a good start and the team’a glass cannon Tyson “TenZ” Ngo finds his comfort zone, they might be the toughest out in the entire field.
– Tyler Erzberger
1. Team Liquid
Team Liquid has been the ultimate titans of Europe ever since the Stage 2 Challengers phase. Losing just one best of three and one best of five since March 30, Liquid are going into Masters 2 as the strongest team and one of the favorites especially since both Sentinels and Fnatic are on the opposite side of the bracket.
It’s no secret that EMEA is one of the powerhouses and top regions in the world which gives even more validity to a team like Liquid after their victories against Fnatic, FPX, Oxygen, BBL, Team BDS, and NiP. They have grown immensely throughout the last two months and fans will rightfully expect them to make it to at least the upper-bracket finals of Masters 2. Adil “Scream” Benrlitom and Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen should produce highlight reels on the way.
– Yinsu Collins