Going into the fifth day of action at VALORANT’s Stage 3 Masters: Berlin, only four teams were locked in to compete at VALORANT Champions. Sentinels locked in a spot after winning Stage 2 Masters: Reykjavík. KRÜ Esports locked in Latin America’s spot when they qualified for Berlin. Vision Strikers locked in South Korea’s spot when they advanced to the bracket stage. And X10 Esports qualified when Team Secret (formerly Bren Esports) were unable to attend Berlin due to visa issues.
Over three games on Wednesday, the field at Champs nearly doubled. When ZETA DIVISION were eliminated by Vivo Keyd, Crazy Raccoon automatically advanced to Champs, taking the single spot for Japan. That was before Crazy Raccoon even had to face off against their own Brazilian opponent in Havan Liberty.
If Havan Liberty had won, they would have stayed in a race with Vivo Keyd for a spot at Champs. When the spike went off for the final time, it was Crazy Raccoon that pulled off the upset. That sends Havan Liberty back to Brazil on the outside looking in (for the moment) and locks in Vivo Keyd and Team Vikings as Brazil’s two representatives at Champs. They’ll get another shot at qualifying for Champions through the South American Last Chance Qualifier.
“We are going to make some changes in our training when we get back to Brazil,” said Havan Liberty’s coach Ricardo “rik” Furquim. “We felt like we could stop any rush, and our compositions were strong, but we are not calling it right. We will work on our comms, we know what is going on, but we can’t just make the right decision.”
Photo credit: Riot Games
Havan Liberty will certainly be one of the favorites in the eight-team South American LCQ. The biggest competition will be fellow Brazilian teams FURIA, Gamelanders Blue and likely Sharks Esports. Four Latin American teams will also be competing in that tournament, but the region seems to be weaker than Brazil.
“There’s a lot we can bring to Brazil and improve upon, but with our experience at LAN, our players are already going to have played on a big stage,” rik continued. “So when we get [to LCQ], and the other teams are online since the beginning of VALORANT, we’ll have an advantage.”
Every LCQ tournament will be a tough challenge and Sharks Esports also have international experience after reaching Masters: Reykjavík. Despite a quick exit from Berlin, rik and the rest of Havan Liberty are confident that the path to Champs has only taken a detour, it hasn’t been blocked completely.
How other teams can qualify for Champions
Going forward at Masters, only a handful of spots remain up for grabs. 100 Thieves and Envy are in a heated race for NA’s final circuit point spot. The EMEA race remains wide open, but Gambit only needs to beat Crazy Raccoon on Thursday to lock up one of EMEA’s two spots. The other spot remains a four-team race between G2, Acend, Fnatic and SuperMassive Blaze. Acend are currently in control of their own destiny in that one, but it’s complicated enough to warrant its own article.
The second spot for Southeast Asia also is yet to be determined. Paper Rex could grab that spot with a win over SuperMassive Blaze on Wednesday, but that doesn’t seem likely. If they lose, Paper Rex will remain tied with Team Secret (formerly Bren Esports).
The final spot claimed at Berlin will be won by the champion of the tournament. That has the ability to completely nullify some of these races like the one between 100T and Envy, as any NA champion will see all three NA teams in Berlin move to Champs. If an EMEA team wins it all, it opens up more paths for the rest of the EMEA teams.
The final path for teams who are eliminated from the circuit point route will be through their region’s Last Chance Qualifier. In all, there will be four spots up for grabs through four tournaments: EMEA, North America, Asia-Pacific and South America.
Photo credit: Riot Games