The group stage of Champions 2022 is over and it is time for the playoffs to start. Eight teams will participate in the playoffs bracket that will decide the best VALORANT team in the world. Starting today, Champions Istanbul will be played with a live audience, creating an amazing atmosphere for the players.
We will see how the audience will affect the performances, as it is something we rarely see in VALORANT, a game that was introduced during the pandemic. It is for sure that the fans will create an excellent experience for the players, but playing on LAN with live spectators isn’t always easy for them. Some might get crushed under the pressure.
Results from the group stage
In Group A, we saw Leviatán exceed all expectations and thus, leave only one spot for Paper Rex and Team Liquid. The Copenhagen finalists played the group decider match against Liquid and lost the game in the third map after a great performance from TL’s Jamppi. With Paper Rex out, we are one favourite team down.
Personally, I loved seeing Paper Rex perform, and considering ZETA DIVISION also failed to perform in Group B and another strong Asian team was eliminated, their elimination hurt even more. Currently, only South Korea’s DRX is alive amongst the Asian teams. DRX crushed Group D to secure qualification to the playoffs and looked incredibly strong just like they did at Masters this year.
EDward Gaming’s performance should be noted: the Chinese team was eliminated after two defeats, but they did their fans worldwide proud in the first international tournament that a Chinese team attended. EDG proves that in the future, China may send even stronger competitors.
Instead of ZETA DIVISION, LOUD made their fans proud and secured playoffs. Crushing ZETA in the final match of the group, Brazilians showed they deserve the qualification. However, after Leviatán and LOUD, KRÜ Esports and FURIA Esports couldn’t continue the great South American performance. While FURIA’s elimination was expected, it’s sad to see KRÜ out of the tournament since their way of playing VALORANT was fun to watch.
All EMEA teams made it to the playoffs, but all of them finished second place. Team Liquid was outperformed by Leviatán, FPX got crushed by XSET and Fnatic almost missed playoffs after struggling against FURIA. In the end, FPX defeated KRÜ, TL eliminated PRX and FNC dominated 100 Thieves. Still, the EMEA participants have to improve their performance.
Team Liquid, OpTic Gaming, FunPlus Phoenix, DRX and Fnatic still have the best chance at winning the whole thing. However, Leviatán proved that one shouldn’t forget about Latin America. Make sure to watch the playoffs live as a fantastic competition awaits us. You can find live streams and the latest news on Luckbox. Sign up now to claim your 100% bonus before placing your bets.
Playoffs are starting
Check out the schedule:
While FPX was a stronger favourite in my opinion before the tournament, considering they won Masters Copenhagen, it seems like they couldn’t bring the full FPX experience to Istanbul yet. They may have to drop to the lower bracket to get back up. I think DRX is slightly ahead, but it should be a close one.
Leviatán will face Brazil’s LOUD in the playoffs, and I think it should be a quick semi-finals ticket for them. While LOUD’s performance in groups was promising, I don’t think they are a match for Leviatán, and I would be really surprised if they could somehow pull a 2-1.
On Saturday, two of the strongest favourites face off. OpTic Gaming will take on Team Liquid, and it must be the worst draw for TL. Against DRX, Leviatán or XSET, Liquid’s chances would be higher, but while they should take it to three maps, I don’t believe they can pull the win against OpTic.
My expectations for Fnatic were definitely higher than second place. However, the Fnatic we saw in EMEA and in Copenhagen should take down XSET. Even after a botched group stage, Fnatic is my favourite here. If XSET manages to take down Fnatic, I will consider them as a championship contender.