VALORANT Masters Tokyo: Fnatic win again, EG exceed expectations and more

by Brian Bencomo

Fnatic won VALORANT Masters Tokyo to win their second consecutive global event. Since the start of the VALORANT Champions Tour in 2021, they became the first team to win two global VCT events, and obviously the first to win two events consecutively too. Jake “Boaster” Howlett & Co.’s accomplishment will be a memorable part of VALORANT history, and the way Fnatic looked in Tokyo, they’re likely not done winning.

Sign up for the next Nerd Street event!

But Masters Tokyo will be remembered for more than just Fnatic’s win. Evil Geniuses proved all the doubters wrong in reaching the Tokyo final. EDward Gaming showed that Chinese VALORANT teams will be a force to be reckoned with going forward. EDG’s run plus the fact the top three was once again teams from three different regions is a testament to the development of strong VALORANT teams all over the world. These are just some of the most interesting takeaways from Masters Tokyo.

Fnatic on the verge of a dynasty

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

The only blemish on Fnatic’s resume this year is not winning the inaugural season of VCT EMEA. In fact, their only loss all year was in the VCT EMEA final to Team Liquid. Putting that aside though, Fnatic became the first VALORANT team to win two global LAN tournaments in winning Masters Tokyo. Not only that, but they did it in back-to-back fashion, after also winning VCT LOCK//IN earlier this year. Back-to-back tournament wins don’t make a dynasty, but if they were to win Champions in August, then they will rightfully be labeled as a dynasty. There’s already been some talk on Twitter about what the accomplishment should be called. Triple crown? Trifecta? Treble? Grand slam? Take your pick, but winning all three global tournaments in 2023 would be an impressive accomplishment, and set the bar incredibly high for future VALORANT teams who would seek to be the best of all time.


Somebody who already has three global titles at an individual level is Fnatic’s Timofey "Chronicle" Khromov. He won his first with Gambit at Masters Berlin in 2021, and now has two with Fnatic. It’s also worth noting that Chronicle has appeared in four global tournaments and reached the final at all four. He and Gambit reached the final of Champions 2021 but lost to Acend. His place in VALORANT history is secure, and Fnatic in-game leader Boaster, duelist Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev and coach Jake “mini” Harris also have impeccable credentials. Those three have formed the core of a Fnatic team that reached the final of the first global VALORANT event and have consistently achieved excellent results with Fnatic since 2021. However, if there’s one thing missing from all of these players’ resumes it’s winning Champions, so that will certainly be a motivation for Fnatic come August.

Evil Geniuses are for real

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

At every step of the way, Evil Geniuses were doubted. The org’s innovative 10-man roster was viewed with skepticism. Players like Kelden "Boostio" Pupello and Corbin "C0M" Lee were subjected to a lot of criticism after a poor start this year. EG’s coach, Christine “potter” Chi, was subjected to particularly harsh criticism for roster moves like benching a proven player in Brendan "BcJ" Jensen for the largely unknown Tier 2 player Max "Demon1" Mazanov. The fact she is a woman -- the only one coaching at the highest levels in VALORANT -- certainly didn’t help. After going 4-5 in the VCT Americas league, another mediocre season for EG seemed all but assured.

Read more: Christine “Potter” Chi is blazing a trail for women in the VALORANT Champions Tour

Then, an MIBR coach’s knife kill against 100 Thieves changed everything. Suddenly Evil Geniuses were in the VCT Americas playoffs, and two upset wins over Cloud9 and NRG later, they had qualified for Masters Tokyo. Two losses later, however, they entered Masters Tokyo as the third seed from the Americas with low expectations, especially because their star duelist Demon1 was not expected to go to Tokyo. At the last minute though, Demon1 got his passport and visa.

EG beat FUT Esports in their opening matchup. It was a good win, but not totally unexpected, right? Then they beat DRX, a perennial top six team at global events. Surely now people would believe in EG? Still, people doubted them. Next, Evil Geniuses beat LOUD, the VCT Americas champs and a team they had lost to twice before, including an infamous 13-0 map loss. Once EG beat VCT EMEA champs Team Liquid, there really wasn’t any reason to doubt them. They beat Paper Rex in a thrilling five-map series too. That meant, they beat the champions of all three international leagues at Masters. It’s an incredible feat. Of course, they lost to Fnatic twice, but they are clearly the best team in the world.

Read more: How Evil Geniuses went from out of playoffs to qualified for Masters and Champions

Second-place curse aside, Evil Geniuses should enter Champions as one of the favorites to win it. It’s an incredible statement given where they were a couple months ago, but it’s a testament to their growth, innovation and improvement. There’s no reason to doubt them anymore.

What happened to LOUD and DRX?

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

It’s remarkable that neither LOUD nor DRX cracked the top six at Masters. Both teams have been very consistent since last year. LOUD were runners-up to OpTic at Masters Reykjavík 2022 while DRX placed in the top six. At Masters Copenhagen, DRX placed top six once again, while LOUD were eliminated early. At Champions, LOUD won the tournament, while DRX cracked the top three. At VCT LOCK//IN earlier this year, LOUD finished second and DRX were once again in the top four. This is the first time that neither team finished among the top six.

Read more: The best events and tournaments at Localhost in May

DRX did win a couple matches to qualify for the playoff stage from the group stage, but then went 0-2 in the playoffs. They lost to Paper Rex, a team they lost to in the VCT Pacific final, and NRG, who made a strong run to place fourth overall. Although both are obviously strong teams, the fact DRX didn’t win any maps was surprising.

As for LOUD, it was even more surprising that they also went 0-2 without any maps won, especially considering they’ve either won or finished second in their last three tournaments. One of those losses was to a regional rival that was playing on another level in EG, but the other was to EDG, who hadn’t previously won any international matches until this tournament. Second-place curse? Or something deeper? Given LOUD’s track record, they’ll likely be back in better form for Champions, but if not, then there likely will be changes next year.

Chinese VALORANT is catching up

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

Besides Evil Geniuses, EDward Gaming was perhaps the biggest surprise of the tournament. Chinese teams had never won a game against teams from other regions in a global VALORANT tournament, and EDG won three -- against teams from three different regions, too. It bodes well for the future of Chinese VALORANT, as the country will likely get its own VCT league in the near future to compete alongside the Americas, EMEA and Pacific.

Zheng “ZmjjKK” Yongkang (pronounced “kangkang”) became a star at Masters not just for his play but for his exuberance on stage. ZmjjKK & Co. will likely be back for Champions, and if they qualify they will be considered legitimate threats to make a deep run at the tournament.

Parity in VALORANT reigns supreme

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

Masters Tokyo again featured a top three consisting of three different regions. It’s the fifth consecutive global VALORANT tournament dating to the start of last year, as pointed out by VCT caster Arten "Ballatw" Esa.


It’s a remarkable streak of parity for one of the biggest esports in the world. It’s also quite unique. In major esports like League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the best teams are concentrated in one or two regions. In League, all the best teams are from Korea and China, while in CS:GO all the top teams are concentrated in Europe. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have so many good teams in one region, but in terms of the long-term growth potential and widespread appeal of the esport, the fact teams from different parts of the world are so competitive, is a good thing for VALORANT.

Which region really deserved an extra spot?

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

To the victors go the spoils, and with Fnatic winning Masters Tokyo, the EMEA region will get an extra spot at Champions. This might sound like Americas bias, but the Americas deserved an extra spot at Champions, not EMEA. Excluding intra-regional matchups (LOUD vs. EG and DRX vs. Paper Rex), Americas teams put up a better record at Masters than teams from any other region. Americas teams went 8-5 against other regions, while EMEA teams went 6-6, Pacific teams put up a 5-6 record, and Chinese teams ended up 3-5. LOUD went winless, but NRG went 4-2, and Evil Geniuses went 4-2 (not including a win over fellow Americas team LOUD). No EMEA team had a winning record except Fnatic, and both NAVI and FUT Esports were eliminated in the group stage.

Lead photo credit: Liu YiCun / Riot Games

Upcoming Events

Discord Logo

Nerd Street 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