VALORANT Champions 2022: Group stage is coming to an end

With only the decider matches left in all groups, VALORANT Champions Istanbul will advance to the playoffs after the last four matches. The winners are decided, and we will see which teams will take second place in their groups and move on to the next round. There are big names on the brink of elimination.

Paper Rex, Team Liquid, ZETA DIVISION, FunPlus Phoenix, Fnatic, 100 Thieves and more will enter the arena and play to either go back home or stay alive for the playoffs. Thanks to some unexpected results, more favourite teams than we expected are playing the deciders right now. We will see how many survive.

Upsets defined the group stage so far

From the first group to the end, surprising results determined the winners mostly.

In Group A, we were expecting Leviatán to be a competitive team, and they were close to making it out of the group. However, defeating both Team Liquid and Paper Rex 2-0 was an unexpected performance from the Argentines. They were able to advance to the playoffs quickly, and left Paper Rex and Liquid to play the deciding match.

Even EDward Gaming’s performance was impressive, making Group A the real death group. The first Chinese team to perform in an international competition in VALORANT, EDG left a good memory and we will definitely wait for the Chinese VALORANT teams to attend more tournaments in the future.

OpTic Gaming expectedly dominated Group B, however. They had the luckiest draw to be honest, with LOUD, ZETA DIVISION and BOOM Esports as their opponents. Still, OpTic winning both series 2-1 didn’t look perfect, although they were able to take LOUD down 13-3 in the last map.

LOUD and ZETA DIVISION were our candidates for second place, and we will see how that match plays out. More comments about the matchup can be found later in the article. Let’s move on to the other groups.

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FunPlus Phoenix was one of the favourites in Champions Istanbul, but Group C didn’t play out the way they wanted it to. Obviously, some of the players got sick, presumably because of what they ate, according to some tweets. Nonetheless, we didn’t expect FPX to be defeated by XSET. The North Americans head to the playoffs in first place while FPX has to play a decider.

On the other hand, KRÜ Esports lost their first game against FPX as we expected and defeated XERXIA to make it to the decider. If they can defeat FPX, it will be the biggest upset in their history, and they love to pull a lot of them.

In Group D, EMEA failed to live up to the expectations for the third time this tournament. After DRX managed to defeat FURIA 2-0, Fnatic was defeated by NA’s third seed representative 100 Thieves and got dropped to the lower bracket. Even though they were able to take FURIA down, Fnatic’s chances don't look too good.

DRX managed to take the first place without dropping a single map, giving the South Korean fans what they wanted after two early-eliminations in Masters tournaments this year. Fnatic will face 100 Thieves to kick off a miracle run, but looking at the group stage, EMEA’s chances of winning a second Champions in a row isn’t too high.

Decider matches in Champions 2022

Check out the schedule below:

September 7, Wednesday
Paper Rex (1.65) vs Team Liquid (2.10) - 16:00 CEST Group A
LOUD (1.12) vs ZETA DIVISION (5.50) - 19:00 CEST Group B

September 8, Thursday
FunPlus Phoenix (1.17) vs KRÜ Esports (4.50) - 16:00 CEST Group C
100 Thieves (1.82) vs Fnatic (1.88) - 19:00 CEST Group D

Paper Rex will face Team Liquid in the decider match of Group A, and it is really hard to determine a winner here. While Paper Rex is a clear favourite, in my opinion, considering Team Liquid has the heavy weapons like ScreaM, I just can’t write them off directly. It will be heartbreaking to see one of these teams getting eliminated from Champions early.

FPX will face KRÜ Esports in Group C, and one of the teams will take an early exit. While I would love to see another KRÜ Esports dark horse story, I don’t see how FPX could lose this one with ardiis and SUYGETSU on fire. They are definitely the favourites, and if KRÜ pulls an upset, that will affect the outcome of the entire tournament.

Image via Riot Games, KRÜ Esports

In Group B, LOUD will face ZETA DIVISION. LOUD made the Brazilian fans proud in Champions 2022 by winning their first game in the tournament against ZETA. While the Japanese powerhouse was one of my favourites coming into the tournament, I think LOUD is ahead right now and they are more deserving of advancing.

Finally, Fnatic and 100 Thieves will decide which team will follow DRX. Normally, Fnatic is a clear favourite here, but seeing their first match against 100T they lost 2-1 and the one where they defeated FURIA, I must admit that 100 Thieves is closer to making it out than I first thought. Asuna is back, and he will give Fnatic a hard time. An upset is more likely than ever.