The Spike of the Valorant Season


Kyle Phillips, Staff Writer

Valorant is a five versus five competitive first-person shooter game where the attackers fight the defenders. The attackers have to plant a spike at one of the sites to win the round or both teams need to eliminate the other before the time limit. For their esports scene they hold the VCT (Valorant Champions Tour). The VCT has regions, and they qualify for Masters events that lead to the final event of the year, Champions.

Up to this point in the inaugural year, Masters 1 was held in each individual region: Masters 2 in Reykjavik, Iceland and Masters 3 in Berlin. Each team is gunning for qualification to Champions which will again be held in Berlin and is the finale of the 2021 VCT. All but four of the teams for Champions are locked and are left up to four Last Chance Qualifiers from North American, EMEA (Europe, Middle-East, Africa), South America and Asia Pacific.

This upcoming Tuesday kicks off the end of the year for most of the remaining North American teams with the VCT 2021: North America Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). The winner of this event qualifies for Champions along with Sentinels and Envy who both qualify off of yearly championship points. This event holds the third to tenth ranked North American teams and were originally going to compete with the top two rosters from Oceania.

Before diving into the teams that are competing in the LCQ, let’s just quickly cover both teams that are already qualified for Champions.

The first team to lock in their ticket to Champions was NA’s number one, Sentinels. They placed first at every major North American tournament except last year’s First Strike. They also won the first international event without dropping a map. At Berlin, they lost to Europe’s G2, and fellow North Americans in Team Envy.

Team Envy qualified after beating their fellow North American teams at Berlin. To get the bye to Champions, they beat Sentinels in the Quarter Finals and 100 Thieves in the Semi Finals. They had a disappointing final against Russia’s Gambit Esports with Envy not winning a map in the final, after having gone undefeated previously.

The first team in the LCQ is the top seed, 100 Thieves. They were North America’s third team at Berlin. There they beat the overall dominant and eventual winners Gambit Esports. Unfortunately for the thieves, they were put on the North American side of the bracket and after Team Envy beat Sentinels, they would have to beat Envy to get the bye to Champions. They are also the only other team to win a major North American title by winning last year’s First Strike. Then after their respectable finish at Berlin, they benched their in-game leader steel and promoted their substitute, b0i.

Version1 was the other team joining Sentinels at Iceland. They finished 5-6th losing to Europe’s Fnatic. They have roster problems, including a VISA issue for Iceland, a player suspension after Iceland and then sold a player to Cloud9 Blue during the break between their last tournament and the LCQ. On the sixth, they announced their fifth, Oderus.

FaZe Clan started the year very strong besides their first closed qualifier and then went on to establish themselves as the second best North American team in the first quarter of the year. Then they didn’t make it into any of the closed qualifiers in the second quarter of the year, which destroyed their chances to make Iceland. When competing for Berlin they missed the first closed qualifier, and then ran the lower bracket of the second closed qualifier to get to playoffs. At the playoffs they were eliminated by two teams that made it to Berlin, 100 Thieves and Team Envy.

XSET have done well in qualifiers, but not in playoff scenarios. They almost qualified for Berlin but finished fourth which placed them just outside of the top three who qualified. Generally they are considered the favorites to win the LCQ because of 100 Thieves’ roster move.

Luminosity Gaming hasn’t done well this year. They made it through the qualifiers into the first playoffs and only beat Immortals. They missed every closed qualifier for the second playoffs. They then qualified for the third playoffs and then they finished tied last.

Cloud9 Blue only performed in the second stage and were the team that just missed out on Iceland qualification and didn’t perform well besides that. They acquired a player, vanity, to try to win the LCQ.

Gen.G Esports peaked early and got third in the first playoffs, and then they fell off and qualified based on their early points.

Rise barely qualified for the final playoffs and in the playoffs, they only beat TSM and that gave them more points and qualification to the LCQ.

The top two teams from Oceania, Order and Chiefs Esports Club, were supposed to travel to Los Angeles to join these other teams in the LCQ, but due to travel restrictions they are both not able to attend the event.

The North American Last Chance Qualifier format (Source: The new format is a standard, 8-team, best of three, double elimination. The first match is at 3:00 pm on the 12th and features top seed 100 Thieves fighting bottom seed Gen.G. That match is followed by tournament favorite XSET versus Luminosity. The third match of the opening day is between the winners of the other two that day.