VALORANT Champions 2022: Schedule and opening matchups breakdown

by Sage Datuin

VALORANT Champions 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey, is nearly underway as 16 of the world’s best VALORANT teams are set to duke it out for the title of the world’s best team.

The two-and-a-half-week international tournament will take place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 18, and the 16 teams have been divided into groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Champions playoffs, which will be a double elimination bracket.

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Below is the schedule of all the games that will take place and a breakdown of each opening matchup.

Photo credit: Riot Games

VALORANT Champions 2022 schedule (all times ET)

August 31

  • Paper Rex vs. EDward Gaming at 10 a.m.
  • Leviatán vs. Team Liquid at 1 p.m.

September 1

  • ZETA Division vs. LOUD at 8 a.m.
  • OpTic Gaming vs. BOOM Esports at 11 a.m.
  • Group A winner’s match at 2 p.m.

September 2

  • DRX vs. FURIA at 8 a.m.
  • Fnatic vs. 100 Thieves at 11 a.m.
  • Group B winner’s match at 2 p.m.

September 3

  • XSET vs. XERXIA at 8 a.m.
  • FunPlus Phoenix vs. KRÜ Esports at 11 a.m.
  • Group D winner’s match at 2 p.m.

September 4

  • Group C winner’s match at 8 a.m.
  • Group A elimination match at 11 a.m.
  • Group B elimination match at 2 p.m.

September 5

  • Group D elimination match at 10 a.m.
  • Group A elimination match at 1 p.m.

September 7

  • Group A decider match at 10 a.m.
  • Group B decider match at 1 p.m.

September 8

  • Group C decider match at 10 a.m.
  • Group D decider match at 1 p.m.

September 9-13 (playoff matches)

  • First match each day starts at 10 a.m.
  • Second match starts at 1 p.m.

September 16

  • Upper bracket final at 10 a.m.
  • Lower bracket semifinal at 1 p.m.

September 17

  • Lower bracket final at 10 a.m.

September 18

  • Grand final at 10 a.m.

Read more: Ranking all the teams at VALORANT Champions

VALORANT Champions opening group stage matchups breakdown

Photo credit: Riot Games

Paper Rex vs. EDward Gaming

The opening matchup of VALORANT Champions starts with a battle between Masters: Copenhagen runner-up, Paper Rex, and EDward Gaming. Paper Rex come into Champions after narrowly losing out to FunPlus Phoenix 2-3 in the Masters: Copenhagen final. EDward Gaming enter the tournament as dark horses, as they are the first Chinese representative at an international VALORANT LAN. Both teams have two different sets of expectations heading into VCT Champions 2022. Regardless, both teams will be aiming to take each other down to move forward into the Group A winner’s match for a chance at the playoffs.

Leviatán vs. Team Liquid

Group A’s other opening matchup is a battle between LATAM’s Leviatán and EMEA’s Team Liquid as both teams are looking to begin their Champions campaigns on a strong note. Leviatan are coming off of an impressive 5th-6th place finish at Masters: Copenhagen, and the hope is for them to take it a step further at this tournament. Team Liquid are a wild card that surprised many when they beat out M3 Champions and G2 Esports in the EMEA Last Chance Qualifier shortly after making changes to their coaching staff and roster. Both teams have experience on the international stage, and Team Liquid has proven their ability to play well on LAN via their semifinal run at Champions 2021. Each team is brimming with talent; Leviatán’ss Vicente "Tacolilla" Compagnon and Team Liquid’s Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen will be key players to watch in the Chamber head-to-head matchup.

OpTic Gaming vs. BOOM Esports

Photo credit: Riot Games

The VCT Masters: Reykjavík 2022 champions are back for their fifth consecutive international LAN event as they hope to do even better than their third-place finish at Masters: Copenhagen. Historically, OpTic Gaming has experienced some troubles with the APAC region on the international stage, namely against X10/XERXIA. However, they will be playing a team who is making their international LAN debut at Champions. This series between North America’s first seed and APAC’s Last Chance Qualifier representative will be interesting to gauge the overall strength of the APAC region.

ZETA Division vs. LOUD

The VCT Masters Reykjavík third-place finishers are back on the international stage after qualifying for Champions via their circuit points. However, once again, ZETA come into the tournament as underdogs because of their need to use a substitute in place of Tenta “TENNN” Asai. They will look to put forth their best effort against Masters Reykjavík runner-ups, LOUD, who are coming off of a disappointing run in Copenhagen. After two strong finishes in Reykjavík, one of these teams will have the start they were hoping for while the other will be on the brink of elimination right away.

FunPlus Phoenix vs. KRÜ Esports

The Masters: Copenhagen champions take on the only team to never miss an international VALORANT LAN tournament as both teams enter this Group C opening match with high expectations. No team has ever won an international VALORANT LAN twice in a row, but FunPlus Phoenix are the favorites at Champions. KRÜ Esports are the underdogs in this matchup. Looking past this matchup for the LATAM representatives, they have an opportunity to make a sneaky run to the playoffs in a relatively even group.

XSET vs. XERXIA

Photo credit: Riot Games

This matchup is one of the most interesting opening matchups at VCT Champions 2022 because of how close this series should be. It truly will depend on which version of XSET shows up. If XSET can replicate the magic seen in VCT North America Stage 2, they should be the favorites. However, if LAN nerves show up once again, they could be placed into a precarious situation against XERXIA, who are coming into their fifth VALORANT LAN event. This match might be the closest of the eight predetermined matches in Istanbul.

DRX vs. FURIA

Korea’s consistent international LAN representatives are looking to break their 5th-6th place curse at Champions 2022. To do this, they will need to take down FURIA Esports, who have found their way back to Champions after making a strong run through the South America Last Chance Qualifier. Both teams will have a tough road beyond this matchup as their group looks to be one of the toughest groups at this tournament.

100 Thieves vs. Fnatic

At the start of 2022, nobody expected 100 Thieves to make the monstrous improvements that they did to qualify for VALORANT Champions. Following their catastrophic start to 2022, the new iteration of 100 Thieves slowly scaled up to the point where they have now reached the international stage and exceeded their own expectations. However, they will need to take even greater steps in their growth if they want to put forth a strong showing against Fnatic, who have been the most consistent EMEA team throughout 2022. This NA vs. EU matchup should prove to be an exciting battle that could shift the dynamics of this group if 100 Thieves’ young core can upset Fnatic.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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