There are only four teams left at VALORANT Champions. Read more about what a victory in Istanbul would mean for each of those teams.
What a Win at VALORANT Champions Would Mean for Each of the Remaining Teams
The largest VALORANT tournament of the year has already become one of the most competitive events in VALORANT history. As opposed to last year’s EMEA-dominant showing—three of the four finalist teams were from EMEA—the final four teams at VALORANT Champions: Istanbul 2022 all represent different regions.
Of course, EMEA still has a presence among the final four. The winners of the most recent major (VCT Stage 2: Masters Copenhagen), FPX, became the last standing team from EMEA after Fnatic was eliminated by DRX in the Lower Bracket Quarterfinals.
Unsurprisingly, North America also holds a representative in the final four. OpTic Gaming, NA’s most successful team in recent history, is once again NA’s last hope. As the winners of the VCT Stage 1: Masters Reykjavík, OpTic Gaming is the only other team to win a major this year. Notably, OpTic finished 3rd at Copenhagen, making them the best performing team this year.
Alongside FPX and OpTic is the first Korean team to reach the final four this year. DRX, formerly known as Vision Strikers, have been a regular at international tournaments since their inception in 2021. A Korean team has never won a world title, let alone a major. With DRX consistently making it out of the group stage, they have the potential to make a title run.
Last, but certainly not least, is OpTic Gaming’s biggest rival. No, not “literally any team from EMEA.” From Brazil, LOUD Esports makes a triumphant return. Having faced OpTic four times this year already, LOUD vs OpTic has become a regular international matchup. Although OpTic has historically gotten the best of Brazil’s top team, LOUD are no joke and have looked especially lethal thus far.
After their shocking path to success at Masters Copenhagen, FPX have made a name for themselves as the best team in EMEA. With the dissolution of Acend, the 2021 VALORANT Champions, Fnatic was thought to be the gem of EMEA. Although Team Liquid’s name was also brought up, roster changes earlier in the year mixed with Fnatic’s dominance over the rest of the region made them hard to argue for.
Notably, FPX remained largely undiscussed. They were consistently overshadowed by Fnatic. In fact, Fnatic won four consecutive matchups against them prior to their Copenhagen lower bracket matchup. Of course, we all know how that went, FPX went on to win the entire tournament, and lay claim to the throne of EMEA.
A win in Istanbul would mark the start of the first dynasty since Sentinels dominated in early 2021. Additionally, it would give EMEA sole claim to international titles. With Acend being the only other team to win a title (Champions started in 2021), EMEA is the only region with claims to an international title. Although FPX are not the frontrunners—OpTic and LOUD remain in the upper bracket—they were not the frontrunners in their Copenhagen run either.
As the most consistent team currently in title contention, OpTic Gaming is the most likely to take it all. While that narrative is certainly enticing to NA supporters, OpTic were also expected to win Masters Copenhagen. In their defense, a third place finish is still commendable, but the expectations are on their shoulders once again.
There is one additional factor working in OpTic’s favor this time around. Prior to this tournament, OpTic was famously known for their inability to beat an EMEA team. Since they rebranded to OpTic Gaming earlier this year, they had yet to take a match off of an EMEA team. In fact, their victory at Masters Reykjavík was done without facing a single EMEA team. Luckily for NA fans, OpTic broke their curse in the Upper Bracket Quarterfinals after defeating Team Liquid 2-1.
With spiritual forces no longer at play, a win in Istanbul is not only possible, but extremely important. If OpTic lays claim to the second ever—and NA’s first ever—international title, a case can finally be made for OpTic being the best ever team in North America.
Overshadowed only by TenZ and friends on Sentinels, OpTic have made tremendous strides towards becoming the “GOATs” of NA. After surpassing TenZ for the best ever international performance (statwise), yay leaves only one roadblock in OpTic’s way: winning two titles. Although Sentinels first title win was in an NA-exclusive tournament, VCT 2021: NA Stage 1 Masters was a legitimate major title. Now just two matches away from an international title, the legacy of OpTic remains in the hands of some of the best to ever do it.
While Korea has been largely silent in the VALORANT scene, DRX has always been the team making noise. Just this year, DRX made it out of all three group stages without dropping a single match. Unfortunately, they had never made it past the Lower Bracket Quarterfinals after being relegated to the lower bracket by OpTic twice.
This time around, DRX did not have to face OpTic. While they still lost the Upper Bracket Semi Finals match, they made history by becoming the first Korean team to make the top four at a major. At some point, however, they will have to face OpTic if they hope to claim the world title.
If they manage to defeat OpTic and go on to win it all, DRX will become the first Korean team to ever win a world title. More importantly, a win in Istanbul would allow DRX to bring Korea its first ever title. North America and EMEA are the only two regions to ever hold a title, major and world alike. Winning Champions would allow DRX to bring Korea its first ever major and world title at the same time.
Last, but certainly not least is LOUD. As the only Brazilian team to make any significant international presence this year, LOUD is looking to earn Brazil its first ever title. Similar to DRX and Korea, Brazil has never won a major or world title. Although Brazil and South America are rarely brought up as title-contenders, LOUD has gotten closer to a title than any other team outside of those in EMEA and NA. As the runners up to OpTic’s win at Masters Reykjavík, LOUD are one of the strongest teams in the tournament.
It is worth noting, however, that they have been consistently bested by OpTic on the international stage. Meeting four times this year alone, OpTic has bested LOUD three of those four times. A win in Istanbul would be important not only for national pride, but also for their rivalry with OpTic.
Like with DRX, OpTic has consistently been the Upper Bracket menace that puts LOUD on a crash course to elimination. Even in their group stage elimination in Copenhagen, it was OpTic that sent them packing in the Elimination Match.
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