VCT Last Chance Qualifiers: Schedule, teams and what to watch

by Brian Bencomo

The VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 season concludes with VCT Champions 2022 from September 2-18. Sixteen of the best VALORANT teams from around the world will compete in Istanbul, Turkey to determine a champion for the VCT 2022 season. Ten teams have qualified via circuit points accumulated for performance in regional play and two international tournaments: Masters: Reykjavík and Masters: Copenhagen. These 10 teams hail from North America (NA), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Brazil, Latin America (LATAM), Korea, Japan and Asia Pacific (APAC). Another six teams will qualify via five Last Chance Qualifiers. The regional breakdown of each LCQ and the number of teams that will qualify from each looks like this:

  • NA -- 1 team qualifies
  • EMEA -- 1 team qualifies
  • South America (Brazil and LATAM) -- 2 teams qualify
  • East Asia (Korea, Japan and China) -- 1 team qualifies
  • APAC -- 1 team qualifies

To get you ready for the LCQs, here’s everything you need to know about all five, including the dates, teams and what to watch.

Photo credit: Riot Games

NA LCQ

Dates

Aug. 4-14

Teams

  • The Guard
  • FaZe Clan
  • Cloud9
  • Shopify Rebellion
  • NRG
  • 100 Thieves
  • Evil Geniuses
  • Sentinels

Schedule and format

There will be two matches per day from Aug. 4 to 7 and Aug. 11 to 12 starting at 4 p.m. ET. From Aug. 13 to 14 there will be one match each day starting at 4 p.m. ET. It’s a double elimination bracket with The Guard vs. Sentinels and FaZe vs. Evil Geniuses matches happening on Aug. 4. NRG vs. 100 Thieves and Shopify Rebellion vs. Cloud9 will take place on Aug. 5.

What to watch

A lot of attention will be on Sentinels after they signed popular streamer Michael “shroud” Grzesiek. To say there’s a lot of excitement around this is an understatement. Shroud routinely streams in front of tens of thousands of viewers and his VCT co-streams have significantly boosted viewership for past VCT events. The Sentinels announcement tweet garnered nearly 240,000 likes and is the most-liked esports tweet ever according to one Reddit user. Is it a brilliant marketing move or a galaxy brain play to reach Champions? Maybe both, as the ex-CS:GO player is considered mechanically gifted much like teammate Tyson “TenZ” Ngo. The fact the team also signed Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro, who was one of the key players on Version1, makes this team a serious threat to win the LCQ if the new players gel with the team veterans.

This field of teams should be very competitive. The Guard qualified for Masters: Reykjavík and will be a contender if they can return to form. FaZe Clan finished third in Stage 2, and 100 Thieves looked strong in Stage 2 as well with a revamped roster. Shopify Rebellion (the former Luminosity Gaming roster), NRG, Evil Geniuses and Cloud9 also have the potential to make a run. It’s hard to pick out a favorite from what should be a fun and unpredictable tournament.

Photo credit: Riot Games

EMEA LCQ

Dates

Aug. 7-14

Teams

  • G2 Esports
  • Guild Esports
  • Team Liquid
  • M3 Champions
  • Acend
  • BBL Esports
  • Natus Vincere
  • OG LDN UTD

What to watch

The EMEA LCQ might be the most competitive Last Chance Qualifier of any region. You have the champion of Champions 2021 here: Acend. The former Gambit roster and Masters: Berlin champions, M3 Champions, are in the field. G2 Esports and Team Liquid are perennial contenders who were both at Masters: Reykjavík earlier this year. Guild Esports are coming in fresh off a top eight finish at Masters: Copenhagen.

Both Acend and Team Liquid will look slightly different as Acend has benched Aleksander "zeek" Zygmunt and Team Liquid has benched Travis "L1NK" Mendoza and then released his replacement Aurimas "Dreamas" Zablockis. According to VALORANT reporter Bo Hoogland, L1NK is likely to join Acend for the LCQ. Based on performance during EMEA Stage 2, both of these teams as well as Guild and M3 Champions should be the strongest contenders. G2 will need to recapture their Stage 1 form after missing out on the Stage 2 playoffs.

Photo credit: Riot Games

South America LCQ

Dates

Aug. 6-14

Teams

  • Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • Vivo Keyd
  • FURIA Esports
  • TBK Esports
  • KRÜ Esports
  • FUSION
  • E-Xolos LAZER
  • 9z Team

Schedule and format

The upper quarterfinals in this double elimination LCQ bracket will take place Aug. 6-7, and the upper semis on Aug. 8. NIP vs. 9z and FUSION vs. FURIA will be on Aug. 6, and KRÜ vs. TBK and Vivo Keyd vs. E-Xolos will be on Aug. 7. Four lower bracket matches will happen Aug. 9-10. On Aug. 13, we’ll find out one team qualifying out of this LCQ via the upper final. The lower final will determine the other team on Aug. 14.

What to watch

This is the only LCQ that will allow not one but two teams to qualify for Champions. The obvious two teams to make it out are KRÜ and Ninjas in Pyjamas. KRÜ have qualified for every VCT international event dating back to last year. Leviatán finishing ahead of them in circuit points among Latin American teams is more a testament to Leviatán’s improvement than KRÜ’s decline. KRÜ beat Masters: Reykjavík runners-up LOUD at Masters: Copenhagen upholding their reputation of dominating Brazilian teams. In a tournament with LATAM and Brazilian teams, it would be shocking if KRÜ didn’t make it out.

Ninjas in Pyjamas qualified for Masters: Reykjavík by beating Leviatán in the Brazil-LATAM playoff, and then lost to KRÜ in the same game to miss out on Copenhagen. They can finish second to KRÜ in this tournament and still make it. Besides these two teams, the only others with international experience are Vivo Keyd who qualified for Masters: Berlin and Champions last year. They are the most likely team to beat out KRÜ or NIP for one of the two spots.

Photo credit: Riot Games

East Asia LCQ

Dates

Aug. 8-14

Teams

  • Maru Gaming
  • DAMWON Gaming
  • On Sla2ers
  • Northeption
  • Crazy Raccoon
  • REJECT
  • EDward Gaming
  • KONE

What to watch

The biggest wild card in the East Asia LCQ is seeing how the two teams from China, EDward Gaming and KONE, stack up against teams from Korea and Japan. This will be the first time in VALORANT history that teams from China will compete against teams from another region with a chance to make a global VCT tournament. EDward Gaming and KONE qualified for this LCQ after competing in a series of qualifiers known as the FGC Series. Chinese teams are strong in Riot Games’ other title, League of Legends, and the reigning Overwatch champion is a Chinese team, the Shanghai Dragons. However, Chinese teams are not typically as strong in CS:GO, the game most similar to VALORANT.

As for the other teams, only Japan’s Northeption and Crazy Raccoon have experience at an international Masters or Champions event. Northeption were recently at Masters: Copenhagen, and Crazy Raccoon were at both Masters and Champions last year, though only Yusuke "neth" Matsuda remains from last year’s roster. On Sla2ers and DAMWON Gaming are the next best teams in a Korean region that has been dominated by DRX. Both teams are sprinkled with players who used to play for NUTURN Gaming, the team that finished third at Masters: Reykjavík 2021. Park "allow" Sang-wook plays for DAMWON, and Kang "solo" Keun-chul coaches the team. Jung "peri" Bum-gi coaches On Sla2ers. Kim "Lakia" Jong-min is a former NURTURN and DRX/Vision Strikers player who is currently on loan to DAMWON.

Photo credit: Riot Games

APAC LCQ

Dates

Aug. 1-7

Teams

  • Bleed eSports
  • ONIC Esports
  • BOOM Esports
  • MiTH
  • Team Secret
  • Fancy United Esports
  • Griffin E-Sports
  • CERBERUS Esports
  • Alter Ego
  • ORDER

Schedule and format

This LCQ will be a modified double elimination bracket since there are 10 teams in this tournament. The top two teams ONIC Esports and Bleed eSports will get byes and not play until Aug. 2. ONIC will face the winner of Griffin E-Sports vs. ORDER (Aug. 1), and Bleed will face the winner of CERBERUS Esports vs. Alter Ego (Aug. 1). BOOM Esports will face Fancy United Esports on Aug. 1, and MiTH will take on Team Secret on Aug. 2. There will be three matches per day for the duration of the LCQ except on the last two days.

What to watch

Only Team Secret has any experience at a global VCT event among the 10 teams competing in the APAC LCQ. They were at Champions 2021 with the same roster. The Filipino team recently finished third in APAC Stage 2, just missing out on Masters: Copenhagen. Team Secret are one of the favorites to make it through the LCQ, but Bleed eSports also have put up good results. Bleed are a Singaporean team, but they have two Swedish players, including Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi who was with G2 Esports from June 2020 to June 2021. For what it’s worth, Bleed took a map from Paper Rex during APAC Stage 2 in what was otherwise a nearly flawless run from Paper Rex during regional play. Bleed also beat Team Secret when they faced off in Stage 2.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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