Champions Istanbul will kick-off this week, with sixteen teams starting in the group stage, making their way to the playoffs. Although we have already had a brief look at the opening matches before on Luckbox, let’s take an in-depth look at what to expect from the group stage, as most groups include more than just two strong teams.
According to the new format, the group stage will start earlier than officially announced with Group A matches starting on August 31. This change was probably due to the introduction of a lower bracket in the playoffs phase, as it was not the case in Champions 2021. After the opening matches which will take four days, eliminations will start and fans will start to attend the games.
VALORANT Champions 2022 Istanbul Group Stage
Champions 2022 will start on August 31, and the grand final will be played on September 18 - a 19 days long competition to end the 2022 season. If you are looking for a place to watch the games live, check out Luckbox where you can find live streams and the latest news. Make sure to sign up now to claim your 100% bonus before placing your bets.
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In Group A, Paper Rex looks like the strongest candidate to make it out of the group in first place. PRX brought the incredible APAC VALORANT to Masters Copenhagen, lost the grand final 3-2 against FPX but earned so many fans globally in the process. With Jinggg’s firepower leading the team, they should have no problems making it to the playoffs.
Among the rest of the teams in Group A, my favourite is Team Liquid over Leviatán and EDward Gaming. While Leviatán is a strong team, LATAM’s number one to be precise, TL’s Last Chance run looked incredible and although Leviatán will challenge them, Liquid should move on. EDward Gaming won the East Asia Last Chance without dropping a map, but as the first Chinese team to participate in an international tournament, it would be a huge surprise if they could take down TL and Leviatán.
Group B’s favourite is definitely North America’s number one team OpTic Gaming. Taking over Envy’s incredible roster from last year, OpTic managed to win the first Masters of the year, and although Copenhagen was a disappointment for them, OpTic is better than most of the teams competing in Istanbul.
APAC LCQ winner BOOM Esports and Brazil Circuit Points #1 LOUD will fight for the second place, but ZETA DIVISION is closer to making it in my opinion. Although LOUD’s Masters Reykjavík performance was promising, ZETA DIVISION left an even more significant mark in the history, and all VALORANT esports fans want to see them achieve more. Istanbul could be the place where Japanese VALORANT might finally shine.
Masters Copenhagen champions FunPlus Phoenix is the clear favourite of Group C. We have an article dedicated for FPX, you could check that one out too. FPX has what it takes to win Champions Istanbul, so they are not only the favourite in Group C, they are the number one favourite to win the tournament.
|Also Read||Copenhagen champion FunPlus Phoenix is coming to Istanbul|
XSET and KRÜ Esports will fight hard to get the second place, and although XSET is a more sensible choice, considering past achievements of KRÜ Esports as a dark horse, I find them closer to the second place. XERXIA’s fate doesn’t look bright, they were one of the worst teams in Copenhagen.
While there are two very strong teams in Group D, it is the group where an upset is most likely to happen. Alfajer’s Fnatic is my favourite for the first place, with their explosive gameplay which dominated EMEA. Their first international performance was a valuable experience, and they will build upon it to get a better result in Alfajer’s homeland.
South Korea’s DRX is the best candidate to follow Fnatic to the playoffs, but it isn’t impossible for South America LCQ winner FURIA and NA LCQ winner 100 Thieves to steal some maps, and even end up with an unexpected elimination. DRX should be careful, as their previous international performances aren’t what was expected of them. They have to improve in order to live up to their name as one of the favourites in Champions 2022.