100 Thieves Go 3-0; Cloud9 Falters: Red Bull Homeground #3 Day 1

100 Thieves Go 3-0; Cloud9 Falters: Red Bull Homeground #3 Day 1

Red Bull Homeground #3 is officially underway. Read more about the tournament details and Day 1 results here.

100 Thieves Go 3-0; Cloud9 Falters: Red Bull Homeground #3 Day 1

While the official 2023 VCT season does not kick off until January, seven VCT teams were given the opportunity to show off their VCT-ready rosters in Red Bull’s Riot Games affiliated tournament. The third iteration of this sponsored event is held in Manchester, England, and offers a $100,000 prize pool to be distributed across the eight competing teams.

The first place team secures $50,000, while the second place brings home $20,000. The remainder of the prize pool is segmented into placement tiers due to the structure of the tournament stages and the absence of 7th, 5th, and 3rd place matches. As a result, the 7th-8th place finishers bring home $2,000. The 5th-6th place finishers bring home $3,000. And the 3rd-4th place finishers bring home $10,000.

What is Red Bull Homeground #3?

While the previous versions of the tournament have included many more teams, a smaller prize pool, and invited exclusively EMEA teams, Red Bull Homeground #3 opened its wallet and borders. This time around, the tournament was reduced to eight teams. Complications with the dissolution of teams following the announcement of Riot Games’s partnered VCT initiative resulted in the invitation of seven teams to accompany the sole remaining qualified team.

Although FUT Esports and BIG had both earned a spot through the Turkish and EMEA qualifiers, BIG’s roster dissolved after it was announced that professional VALORANT would be transitioning to a partnered format.

FUT Esports (a partnered EMEA team from the EMEA League), however, joined the partnered program and debuted their roster alongside the following seven invited international teams:

  • 100 Thieves (NA, Americas League)
  • Cloud9 (NA, Americas League)
  • Team Liquid (EMEA, EMEA League)
  • Team Heretics (EMEA, EMEA League)
  • Team Vitality (EMEA, EMEA League)
  • KRÜ Esports (LATAM, Americas League)
  • FOKUS (unaffiliated)

Although FOKUS is not a part of Riot’s partnered VCT program, they are expected to compete in the Tier 2 scene and were invited alongside the seven partnered organizations.

Similar to its previous iterations, Red Bull Homeground #3 is a two-stage, single-elimination tournament hosted across three days. It is split into a preliminary group stage that ends in a bracketed playoff stage. The first day of the tournament encompasses the entirety of the group stage, allowing the bracket to be laid out for the second day.

The group stage splits the eight competitors into two groups of four. Each group plays a single round robin, and the three teams with the best records move on to the playoff stage. Their placement in the playoff stage is based on their record, and ties are determined by round differentials. In other words, between the tying teams, the team with the higher round win-loss differential takes the higher seeding.

The second and third day of the tournament break the playoff stage into two sections. The second day hosts the quarterfinals, a best-of-three, single-elimination matchup between the second and third place teams from opposing brackets. In traditional bracketing style, the higher (2nd place) seed from the first group plays against the lower (3rd place) seed from the opposing group.

Day three pits the advancing quarterfinals teams against the first seed from each group. These matches are also a best-of-three and the winners advance to play the grand finals shortly after. Unlike the previous stages, the grand finals are best-of-five, and the winner takes home the $50,000 cash prize.

Day 1 Overview

While the group stage went largely as expected, there were quite a few surprises. The results of the group stage are as follows:

Group A

  1. Cloud9 (2-1)
  2. Team Vitality (2-1)
  3. FOKUS (1-2)
  4. KRÜ Esports (1-2)

Group B

  1. 100 Thieves (3-0)
  2. Team Liquid (2-1)
  3. Team Heretics (1-2)
  4. FUT Esports (0-3)

Surprising many, FOKUS managed to defeat KRÜ Esports, and move into the playoff stage. While KRÜ Esports does not offer the most talented lineup, they are a part of the Americas League. FOKUS, on the other hand, are a Tier 2 Turkish team, who were expected to go winless in this tournament.

What makes this even more incredible is that FOKUS’s win comes over Cloud9, the roster with some of the biggest names in the North American VALORANT scene. Although C9 rallied to secure the top seed in their group, their lost opener to FOKUS showed some glaring weaknesses in their perceived impenetrable roster.

Looking at Group B, 100 Thieves managed to be the only team to end the group stage without a loss. Although their wins were close, their losses were similarly close. Notably, their 2-1 victory over Team Liquid was only against three of TL’s starting members. Both Redgar and nAts were absent from the tournament following VISA issues.


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