After exceeding expectations, 100 Thieves are dark horse contender in the VCT NA LCQ

by Sage Datuin

It has been a wild ride for 100 Thieves throughout the 2022 season compared to their previous season. In 2021, 100 Thieves were near the top of North American VALORANT. With a veteran lineup of former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive talent, 100 Thieves’ star-studded lineup comfortably stood as one of the teams to beat. In 2022, their young rebuilt team is not one of the top squads. They are, however, a strong dark horse contender with a chance to represent North America at VCT Champions 2022 if they can win the NA Last Chance Qualifier.

After a weak start to the 2022 season that saw them go 1-4 in the NA Stage 1 group stage, 100 Thieves opted to approach the remainder of 2022 with long-term success on their minds. The organization built around their young star Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk. Apart from retaining loaned TSM FTX player Sean “bang” Bezerra, 100 Thieves acquired Rise star Derrel “Derrek” Ha, William “Will” Cheng and in-game leader Brendan “stellar” McGrath to round out their lineup. They kept their expectation modes from the get go according to the team’s new IGL.

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“Our initial goal when we first formed was just to qualify for the group stage,” stellar said when asked about his early goals with the team. “At first, we had failed to make it through that first initial qualifier, so we wanted to be realistic and just show our potential with little time.”

That potential was immediately put on display during Stage 2 of the season when the team not only qualified for the group stage but reached the playoffs. Stellar remembered vividly the moment they qualified for the playoffs. He detailed the shocking feeling, not because he never thought the team would reach that point, but because of how quick the progression had been.

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

“By no means does that mean I lack confidence in our team, but the plan was to set realistic expectations for a pretty young team,” Stellar said. “It’s just a really good sign of where we are at already. We are doing a good job.”

Shifting from a roster of former CS:GO veterans to young VALORANT stars, the new nucleus of 100 Thieves is already making major strides as a top contending team in the North American VALORANT scene. The team is in really good spirits even through tough losses because they have already surpassed many of the team’s internal timelines of growth.

Stellar is 100 Thieves' IGL. Photo credit: Nerd Street

“I think all of the expectations that we saw and laid out, not only for myself, for as a team have been great,” Stellar said. “We’ve exceeded many expectations and I am extremely happy that we’re at this point in time.”

Following their 5th-6th place finish in the Stage 2 playoffs, 100 Thieves earned their spot as one of eight teams qualified for the North American Last Chance Qualifier for VCT Champions after just two months together. The sudden emergence of 100 Thieves as a dark horse contender has made the months leading up to the LCQ that much more exciting. For 100 Thieves, with expectations met and more time to work out the kinks of a new lineup, the players feel ready to set new goals and take things even further.

Read more: Boostio, Jawgemo credit communication, coaching for Evil Geniuses’ VCT success

“We’re in a really good mindset,” Bang said about the team environment. “We’re really happy that we’ve been able to make it this far and achieve what we have, but I think we can make it further. We are not here to stop.”

The double-elimination NA LCQ began Thursday with FaZe Clan beating Evil Geniuses and The Guard winning over Sentinels. 100 Thieves’ first LCQ match will be against NRG Esports on Friday at 4 p.m. ET. If they win they will take on FaZe Clan, and if they lose they will face Evil Geniuses.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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