After 12 days of fierce battle among 20 qualifying teams for the APAC Stage 1 Challengers Playoffs, eight teams have advanced to the Knockouts stage to compete for two seats at Masters: Reykjavik. The teams will compete in a double-elimination bracket to represent their area at the inaugural international LAN of the VCT circuit in 2022.
Matches will run from March 24 to 27.
VCT 2022 APAC Challengers Knockouts Format
The tournament will follow these rules
- Knockouts: March 24th - 27th, 2022
- Double-Elimination bracket
- All matches are (excl. Grand Final) are Bo3
- Grand Final is Bo5
- Top two teams will qualify for Stage 1 Masters
VCT 2022 APAC Challengers prize pool
The overall prize fund for the tournament is set at $150,000 USD, with the winner team receiving $30,000 and the runner-up receiving $20,000.
In addition, the top two teams will get Valorant circuit points, which might win them a ticket at Valorant Champions 2022 if they do not qualify for the world championships through Masters tournaments.
VCT 2022 APAC Challengers participants
BOOM Esports, Indonesia's top seed in the APAC Challengers Playoffs, advanced to the Group Stage by defeating No Namers and Made in Thailand in convincing 2-0 victories. Made in Thailand, the second seed, also breezed through groups, defeating CERBERUS Esports in their first match and replicating this success in the decider's match after a tight two-map loss against BOOM Esports.
The orgless Singapore squad, No Namers, although easily making it through the play-ins, struggled to find their footing against more experienced teams and were therefore the first out of the group to be eliminated. CERBERUS Esports, Vietnam's first seed into the APAC Challengers Playoffs, was ousted from the competition with only one victory over No Namers.
When it came to the APAC Challengers Playoffs, Paper Rex were indeed a force to be reckoned with. They annihilated the competition at Malaysia/Singapore Stage 1 Challengers, finishing first without dropping a single map. This momentum continued with their victory against Vietnam's Fancy United Esports, but culminated with an overtime defeat to Persija Esports in the winner's matchup in Breeze. Nonetheless, they won the third map, Icebox, convincingly to qualify for Knockouts.
Bonkers and Persija Esports battled for the second qualifying spot twice. Their second meeting saw a hard duel between the two teams in a contest that went into overtime on all three maps. Persija Esports eventually won map three with a little advantage over their Oceanic colleagues. While Bonkers only won one game against Fancy United Esports, they did well as Oceania's lone participant in the playoffs.
NAOS Esports was the first of the four teams to be ousted from what many saw as the most formidable group in the group stage, losing to Bleed eSports in their first round and ONIC G in the elimination match.
In Group C's winner's matchup, XERXIA Esports and Bleed eSports were scheduled to play off. However, due to unforeseen circumstances that resulted in technological difficulties, XERXIA Esports was forced to surrender the match. As a consequence, Bleed Esports qualified as the top seed for Knockouts, while XERXIA Esports qualified as the second seed after defeating ONIC G in their rematch.
This group housed Velocity Gaming and Oblivion Force, the last remaining representatives of their respective areas, South Asia and Hong Kong/Taiwan. Unfortunately, their adventure in the APAC Challengers Playoffs came to an end in the Group Stage, with Oblivion Force being the first to be ousted after matches against Velocity Gaming and South Built Esports, while Velocity Gaming was defeated by South Built Esports in the decisive match.
Meanwhile, Full Sense breezed through groups, and South Built Esports did the same in their lower bracket run.
VCT 2022 APAC Challengers Playoffs Knockouts Stage schedule & betting odds
The APAC Challengers Playoffs final stage will include teams from Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand competing in a Bo3 double elimination bracket with Bo5 grand finals.
Teams that are highlighted in bold have the odds in their favour. You can click on the dates to take yourself directly to the detailed match page.
In chronological order, the initial matches are:
- FS FULL SENSE vs. Persija Esports PSJ (March 24, 2022 - 06:30 UTC+3) 1.26 VS 3.50
- BLD Bleed eSports vs. Made in Thailand MiTH (March 24, 2022 - 09:30 UTC+3) 1.45 VS 2.50
- BOOM BOOM Esports vs. XERXIA XIA (March 24, 2022 - 12:30 UTC+3) 2.15 VS 1.62
- PRX Paper Rex vs. South Built Esports SBE (March 24, 2022 - 15:30 UTC+3) 1.20 VS 4.00
VCT 2022 APAC Challengers Playoffs analysis & predictions
Notably, all three Thai participants that qualified for the APAC Challengers Playoffs advanced through the group round.
XERXIA Esports, which participated as X10 CRIT last year, are the obvious favourites to be one of APAC's representatives for Masters 1. Given their excellent showing in play-ins and the group stage, Full Sense are also anticipated to make a statement in Knockouts.
Made in Thailand is one of the most established esports organisations in Thailand, and they're returning to Valorant after disbanding their previous lineup in April 2021.
Paper Rex and Bleed eSports are Singapore's representatives. Along with XERXIA Esports, Paper Rex are another popular favourite to capture one of the Masters 1 berths, with a squad boasting unrivalled firepower, including star duelists ex CS:GO pro f0rsaken and Jinggg.
The two lineups from Indonesia, BOOM Esports and Persija Esports, round out the Knockouts Stage.
BOOM Esports was a strong force in the Indonesian Valorant scene throughout last year's VCT circuit, and this success has extended into VCT 2022's Indonesia Stage 1 Challengers.
Persija Esports, which included ex-BOOM Esports players Eeyore and Asteriskk, competed as an orgless side in the Indonesia Stage 1 Challengers under the moniker BOY WITH LOVE before being recruited by Persija Jakarta, one of Indonesia's historical football organisations.
Finally, South Built Esports will be the Philippines' sole representative at this stage of the competition, having qualified as the first seed out of the Philippines Stage 1 Challengers.