The VCT Champions 2021 enters its single-elimination Playoffs format, with the final eight teams. It’s do-or-die here onwards for the world’s best VALORANT esports teams.
The VALORANT Champions Masters is the first Champions-tier event for Riot’s FPS game. The tournament has a $250,000 prize pool but, more importantly, will crown the game’s first champion. The playoffs start at 12 AM ET on December 8. Here is a quick preview of the teams and their performances so far.
VCT Champions Playoffs
Fnatic vs Kru esports
Despite all odds, Fnatic ended up first in Group D, a feat that surprised fans and analysts alike. Most of them placed their bet on either Vision Strikers or Cloud9, both of which had looked excellent in the lead-up to VCT Champions Berlin. Instead, Fnatic was the first team to qualify for the playoffs, with an aggressive playstyle that took total control of the pace. Its surprising ability to retake bombsites rather than defend it has surprised many opponents, especially on Fracture.
Kru esports pulled off the upset of the tournament by defeating Sentinels in the elimination match. It was a match that was a foregone conclusion for many, but Kru proved everyone wrong. The Chilean VALORANT esports team also has a very aggressive and dominant attacking side.
As their playstyles mirror each other, it all comes down to which team has the better defense.
Acend vs Team Secret
Acend had the highest round difference in the entire group stage. With several clutches and key highlights, cNed has been particularly impressive. However, Acend’s dominant run was tarnished by controversy. KeyD used a Cypher Cam bug exploit that helped them win six rounds. The whole situation got pretty confusing, with Riot Games going back and forth before announcing its final verdict. Ultimately, Acend won the match and later surprised everyone with a win against Team Envy.
On the other hand, Team Secret surprised everyone in multiple instances. Going into Group C as the underdogs, they were never supposed to put up a fight against Gambit and Vikings. While they put up a brave front against Gambit, they went as far as eliminating Vikings from VCT Champions Playoffs.
Acend’s gameplay has proven its effectiveness, but Team Secret’s strategies are really innovative. Whether Acend can weather the SEA storm is still up for debate.
Team Liquid vs Cloud9
Team Liquid is one of the most talent-filled rosters at VCT Masters Champions, with headshot machine ScreaM and his brother Nivera. Speaking of which, Nivera is finally cleared to play for Team Liquid following his recent negative test to Covid-19. His presence is crucial to Team Liquid’s success, which will regain morale and stability for the next stages of VCT Champions Berlin.
Cloud9 Blue has only gotten better with time, building upon its strategies over the course of the group stage. Although its strategy-dominant performance against Vision Strikers was a testimony of the team’s strengths, it also showcased many of its weaknesses. Cloud9 Blue has a very weak attacking side, something the players of Team Liquid could easily take advantage of.
This VCT Champions Playoffs series between Cloud9 and Team Liquid will be a battle between pure firepower versus strategy. The shooting advantage definitely goes to Team Liquid, but if Xeppa and Leaf shine, Cloud9’s strategies could hit as hard.
Gambit vs X10 CRIT
Considered one of the VALORANT Champions Masters favorite esports teams, Gambit Esports has had a clean 2-0 score to top Group C. However, despite this record, Gambit has not been as convincing as one would expect. Both Team Secret and Vikings managed to make some dent inside Gambit’s defense. There are still positives to focus on, like its Killjoy pick against Secret, which points to a deeper strat-book.
X10 CRIT managing to grab second place in Group A was a surprise. Beginning its run by a defeat against Acend, the Thailandese organization got back up, winning back-to-back matches against Keyd Stars and Team Envy. It makes them the second Southeast Asian team to participate in the VCT Champions 2021 Playoffs.
Written by Rohan Samal
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