The Valorant Champions Berlin Group Stage ended with shattered expectations and the rise of new names that very few knew about going into the tournament. Since the conclusion of both VCT Masters Reykjavik and Berlin set the expectations for the teams to a certain standard, the tournament’s Group Stage results shocked the entire Valorant community and made us rethink how the competitive scene is constantly changing to create new narratives.
EMEA: The Region to Beat
The EMEA representatives were probably the only region to not shatter any expectation but instead exceed it. Fans knew that Gambit Esports and Team Liquid were the two teams that would dominate going into the tournament, with Fnatic and Acend expected to do well but not to the extent that they would crush the opposition. Of course, the EMEA representatives hit a few bumps in the road, especially Gambit, who almost lost to Team Vikings and had a map taken off during their series with Team Secret.
The Valorant Champions Group Stage saw all four EMEA representatives taking first place in groups. This meant that the teams would be distributed evenly across all four brackets in the playoffs. As the group stage concluded, fans would solidify their claims that it would either be Team Liquid or Gambit who would be taking the trophy home.
North America Flops at Berlin
North America was considered the second strongest coming into the tournament, with Sentinels carrying the region’s hopes. At first, the NA representatives had a strong showing in their initial matches aside from Cloud9 Blue, who lost to Fnatic. Unfortunately, all three teams would eventually lose to the EMEA teams and be forced into Deciders.
The fans anticipated NA representatives wouldn’t have to worry about getting out of Groups since they would face the minor regions in the Decider Matches. They would soon be proven wrong as Sentinels fell to LATAM’s KRÜ Esports and Team Envy to Thailand’s X10 Crit. Cloud9 Blue, who was counted out of the tournament early on, would be the region’s sole representative, with the team beating South Korea’s Vision Strikers to make it to the quarterfinals.
Rise of the Underdogs
In the most surprising turn of events, KRÜ Esports, X10 Crit, and Team Secret managed to make it out of the Group Stage. KRÜ and X10 Crit were expected to make an early exit in the tournament because their groups contained one EMEA team and one NA team. However, the representatives would pull off upset victories against the NA teams to secure a spot in the quarterfinals.
The Philippines’ Team Secret made history as they would be the first team from the country to make it into the second stage of an international tournament of a tactical FPS game. These three teams are looking to push for the trophy by defeating the EMEA teams waiting for them in the quarterfinals.
Brazil and Japan
Brazil also had a good showing in the tournament. Vivo Keyd unofficially getting an upset victory over Acend revealed their potential as a region. However, despite looking extremely strong in the first few days, the Brazilian representatives seem to have faltered in their Elimination Matches and Deciders as all three Brazilian teams failed to make it out of the Group Stage. The fans and players displayed a heated passion for esports as they made enough noise to make sure they were remembered.
Vision Strikers were favorites coming into the tournament, but the more chaotic teams quickly countered their methodical gameplay. Fans and analysts expected them to take their revenge by showing up at the playoffs, but their loss meant that they’d be going home early instead. Japan’s Crazy Raccoon also had a disappointing showing. The region has had a steady decline in tournament performance throughout the three S-tier tournaments, which begs the question of whether or not they have a chance to become a competitive region in the future.
Stay tuned as we look forward to more Valorant Champions Berlin.