Sentinels Valorant team standing in front of background that says "Evolve or Die"
Sentinels Valorant team standing in front of background that says "Evolve or Die"

The 8 matchups we want to see at VALORANT Champions

by Brian Bencomo

VALORANT Champions starts tomorrow, and fans have already seen our rankings of the best opening matches. Now we look beyond those initial eight matches and talk about the matchups we want to see.

These are unranked as they’re all hype-worthy in their own way. Only one of the eight mentioned below involves teams from the same group, so the rest can only happen in the bracket stage. We’re avoiding any Masters rematches, so no Envy-Gambit and no Sentinels-Fnatic. We also tried to avoid regional matchups we’ve seen before with the exception of two that are just too good to pass up.

Sentinels vs. Team Liquid

One user on Reddit dubbed this “TenZ and FriendZ vs. ScreaM and TeaM.” With Tyson “TenZ” Ngo dueling against Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom and his brother Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom, this is sure to be an exciting matchup. These two teams are in the same group, so it’s very possible we’ll see this match as long as Team Liquid and Sentinels do their part and win their opening matchups. These are two of the best teams in the world and two teams that we ranked among our top three at Champions. If they do meet in the Group B winners’ match, the winner would then move on to the bracket stage, but the loser would get another shot to advance. This matchup has the potential to set a new VALORANT viewership record.

Photo credit: Riot Games

Gambit vs. Sentinels

This would be a matchup between the Masters: Reykajvík and Masters: Berlin winners. Both of these teams also won their region’s Stage 1 Masters tournament, so they’re the only teams in the world that can claim to be two-time Masters champions. Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan has been touting Gambit ever since scrimming with them ahead of Reykajvík, so it would be fascinating to see these two finally match up on stage. Seeing peak Sentinels vs. peak Gambit would be amazing to watch and a fitting conclusion to the 2021 VCT season if the two met in the final.

Sentinels vs. Cloud9

These two teams haven’t met since TenZ officially transferred from Cloud9 Blue to Sentinels. They last faced off in May during the Stage 2 Challengers Finals when TenZ was still just on loan with Sentinels. In that tournament, Sentinels beat C9 twice, and C9 finished third, just missing out on qualifying for Masters: Reykajvík. Sentinels aren’t quite at their peak anymore, and C9 features a very different roster led by Anthony “vanity” Malaspina. When TenZ moved to Sentinels permanently it felt like they had cemented themselves as the best team in the world. You know C9 would love to have the last laugh and knock them out of Champions in the bracket stage. That would be quite the storyline.

Photo credit: Riot Games

Gambit vs. Team Liquid

These two last faced each other during the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Last Chance Qualifier. Gambit knocked Liquid out of contention for Masters: Berlin and went on to win the tournament. Liquid added ScreaM’s brother Nivera and haven’t lost since (10-0). These clearly look like the best two teams in EMEA and maybe the best in the world, so this feels like a worthy Champions semifinal or grand final matchup.

Acend vs. Sentinels

A lot of the intrigue in these matchups comes down to seeing two highly skilled individuals face off. In this case, it’s Mehmet Yağız "cNed" İpek vs. TenZ. Heading into Masters: Berlin, this was one of the matchups we were hoping to see, but Sentinels and Acend weren’t in the same group and didn’t meet in the bracket stage. A lot of people were wondering whether cNed was a better Jett than TenZ. That’s still open for debate, as both are incredibly skilled, and it sure would be a treat to watch these two duelists on opposite sides of the map.

Vision Strikers vs. Sentinels

This was one of the most highly anticipated matchups early in the year when Vision Strikers were in the midst of their 100+ series winning streak and Sentinels were dominating in North America. Unfortunately, Vision Strikers missed out on Reykajvík, and the two didn’t meet in Berlin. They’re not in the same group, so they would have to meet in the bracket stage. Neither team is at their peak anymore, but it would still be a hype matchup. Vision Strikers have yet to play against a team from North America, so this would be a fantastic first encounter between the two regions (unless Vision Strikers face C9 in Group D play).

Photo credit: Riot Games

Cloud9 vs. Team Liquid

This one is intriguing because of the rivalry that exists between the two organizations in League of Legends. Since 2018, Cloud9 and Team Liquid have been two of the best League Championship Series (LCS) teams, with them frequently meeting in a final, most recently in the 2021 Mid-Season Showdown final. Unfortunately, the two are in different regions in VALORANT, so international tournaments like Champions are the only time we’ll get to see them face off. If they were to meet, both fan bases would be very boisterous on social media, and it would likely be another banger NA vs. EU match.

Envy vs. Fnatic

What might have been. This is the other side of the coin of the Sentinels vs. Gambit matchup. These two teams came close to being international champions but fell short. They’re both teams that come into Champions with a lot to prove and probably both feeling like they’re being underrated (we had Envy No. 5 in Power Rankings and Fnatic No. 6). This would be the ultimate redemption arc if they were to meet in the final, but it’s more likely they meet in the quarterfinals or semis.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

Discord Logo

Nerd Street Gamers Discord

Discord is our online chatroom and meeting place. Join up to ask admins any questions you have, or just play games with us!

Join Our Discord