Nuturn Gaming Valorant team pose on stage after win
Nuturn Gaming Valorant team pose on stage after win

Korean teams lead field of 10 at APAC VCT Last Chance Qualifier

by Mitch Reames

In a few months, 16 teams will head to Berlin for VALORANT Champions. For many of them, it will be a familiar stage. The vast majority of the 12 teams already qualified for the VALORANT Champions Tour’s first true world championship recently competed at Masters: Berlin. To learn more about the 12 teams already qualified for Champions, check out this article.

For teams who didn’t get to compete in Berlin, or ones who came up just a bit short, four regional Last Chance Qualifiers (LCQ) will mark the final chance teams have to play at Champions.

With only the top one or two teams from each region automatically making it through to Champions via circuit points, LCQ is how most teams will make good on the circuit points they accumulated throughout the year. This article will look at the APAC LCQ, which includes teams from South Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia and South Asia, and which begins Oct. 11

The teams

  • Paper Rex (SEA)
  • BOOM Esports (SEA)
  • Reject (Japan)
  • Northeption (Japan)
  • FENNEL (Japan)
  • NUTURN Gaming (South Korea)
  • F4Q (South Korea)
  • DAMWON Gaming (South Korea)
  • Global Esports (India / Pakistan)

In all, the APAC LCQ is the most wide open of all of the LCQ tournaments as it features by far the most individual regions. While EMEA comprises a lot of countries, the teams have experience competing against each other. In APAC, the clashes between Southeast Asia, Japan and Korean teams will make this feel more like an international competition of its own than the other regional LCQs.

There have been highs and lows for this region across VCT. The best finish any individual team has had was NUTURN Gaming’s third-place finish at Stage 2 Masters: Reykjavík. With Vision Strikers also performing well in Berlin, Korea is certainly the region with the most international success so far. Other than NUTURN and F4Q, Paper Rex is the only other one of these teams that we have seen play internationally.

The favorite

The safe pick is NUTURN Gaming or F4Q, but give me the bold choice: I want Paper Rex. Yes, in Berlin, the team did lose 2-0, 2-1 but that was up against really strong competition in Vision Strikers and SuperMassive Blaze. They were close in every one of those maps as well. They’ve dominated the events in Malaysia and Singapore while doing well in the SEA playoffs including a third-place finish in Stage 2. If Paper Rex play the way that brought them close to upsets of some of the best teams in the world, they can beat any team in this field.

The contenders

If NUTURN Gaming still had Kim “Lakia” Jong-min, they’d be the favorites in this tournament by a mile. But they don’t. Vision Strikers poached the star player who was crucial in the team advancing all the way to third place in Iceland. Stage 3 was difficult for NUTURN who did qualify for the eight-team Challengers Playoffs but lost in the first round to DAMWON Gaming. It’s worth noting that it was a single-elimination tournament and every map in the 2-1 series was 13-11 or OT. But DAMWON and F4Q, who beat DAMWON the following round, are both in this tournament as well, so NUTURN will have to play better than they did in their last showing.

Speaking of F4Q, they are certainly a contender. Much like Paper Rex, the team’s showing in Berlin left a lot to be desired as F4Q got bullied by G2 and Sentinels. Due to SEA’s Bren Esports (who is now Team Secret at Champions) not being able to compete at Masters, F4Q ended up in the only round robin group. That gave them two more games to play against group mates, but they still ended up 0-4. They took one map off G2 in the first game and one map off Sentinels in the last but weren’t able to take home an actual victory even when the outcome of the group was decided.

Screw it, let’s just put all the Korean teams in this section. DAMWON are a name familiar to League of Legends fans, but they haven’t made the international stage in VALORANT yet. Still, they’ve been close throughout every stage. Eliminated as semifinalists in Korea’s Stage 1, and runners-up in Stage 2, DAMWON should have been the team in Iceland had Korea received two slots for the region. In Stage 3, when Korea did receive two slots, DAMWON finished as semifinalists again. It really doesn’t get that much closer, but the team clearly has talent in a strong region and has beaten every other team in the region besides VS at one point or another.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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