Valorant Champions 2023: End of the group phase
Between the anthology matches, the unexpected turnarounds and the atypical gameplay of the Chinese teams, the group phase of the Valorant Champions 2023 was full of surprises. At the end of several days of fierce competition, eight teams have earned their pass to the play-offs.
EDward Gaming and Bilibili Gaming hit the nail on the head
After the resounding success of EDward Gaming and ZmjjKK at the Tokyo Masters, many people were wondering whether the Chinese team would be able to repeat its past exploits and, in fineto qualify for the playoffs. It was no easy task, as EDG found themselves in Group A alongside Paper Rex, Giants Gaming and KRU Esports, all regulars in top-level competition.
Unsurprisingly, all eyes were on the prodigy and his cohorts at the start of their first match against Giants Gaming. The fans were not disappointed by the show they were treated to. It took three cards to separate the two teams, and in the end EDG came out on top. When asked about his team's performance, KangKang did not hesitate to express his opinion without beating about the bush.
To everyone's delight, EDG and Giants Gaming face off again in a decisive match. This time, the conclusion is clear: the Chinese are a cut above the Americans. In turn, ZmjjKK and CHICHOO are putting in a string of performances. In less than two hours, the EDG players folded both cards and booked their ticket for the play-offs.
The potential of these players was already well known to the general public, but EDG was not the only Chinese team to qualify for the Valorant Champions. Finalists in the Chinese Qualifier, Bilibili Gaming could prove just as dangerous, and the least we can say is that it hit the nail on the head! However, it was not a foregone conclusion, especially since Biank and his mates have landed in Group C alongside Fnatic, ZETA Division and NRG Esports.
Against all oddsNRG Esports lost 2-0 to Bilibili. It has to be said that Whyz repeatedly disrupted the American action plans. Like its EDG counterpart, Bilibili Gaming failed to win the next match. At the same time, who is capable of taking down Fnatic?
With one loss and one win to their name, NRG and Bilibili Gaming had no choice but to go head-to-head for a second time. Under normal circumstances, the Americans emerge victorious from the return legs, but Yosemite has decided otherwise. The Controller made several decisive clutch and multiple eliminations, which largely contributed to the new Chinese victory.
Finally, only FunPlus Phoenix - the third Chinese team in the tournament - failed to make it out of the group stage, losing to Evil Geniuses and then T1.
The Pacific region dominates Groups A and D
While there's no denying that Fnatic is the best team in the world at the moment - it's even qualified for the playoffs with ease - Other teams in the Valorant Champions demonstrated their expertise during the group phase, including Paper Rex and DRX. What's more, these two Pacific League representatives dominated their respective groups.
In Group D, considered the most difficult of the four, DRX has secured its slot for the play-offs beating LOUDbefore defeat Natus Vincere. The Koreans, usually rather defensive, revealed much more aggressive game plans. This deliberate choice, as indicated by termiteam coach "We tried to change our style of play to be more aggressive". seems to be bearing fruit at the moment and could well make the difference this time. For the record, DRX is one of the teams that has taken part in the most international competitions. without ever winning a titleDespite qualifying for the play-offs on numerous occasions.
As mentioned above, Paper Rex came out on top in Group A. The Singaporean team defeated KRU Esports without too much difficulty and then won against EDward Gaming at the end of a frenetic match. These first two matches marked the return of Ilya Petrov, alias somethingwho was unable to take part in the Tokyo Masters due to visa problems.
While it is true that mindfreak and f0rsaken have taken the lead in the standings in each game, the Russian player has not been lacking in confidence. In particular, he made his mark in the match against EDward Gaming, when in the twenty-first end he gave his team the point thanks to a crazy action.
LOUD back on track
During the Tokyo Masters, the reigning world champions came away empty-handed. Will LOUD return to its former glory? Will the team manage to qualify for the playoffs?... These unsatisfactory results raised many questions. Doubts were cast even deeper into the hearts of fans whenaspas and his comrades fell under the bullets of DRX in the opening match.
But the concern was short-lived: the Brazilians were excellent against Team Liquid. As we pointed out in our analysis of this match, the Louds showed a completely different side and exemplary cohesion which made it easy for them to win.
After this well-deserved victory, Saadhak, Less, Tuyz, aspas and cauanzin went on to secure their playoff places against Natus Vincere. This match was much more competitive and got off to a poor start for LOUD, since a mistake cost him victory over Pearl. But, determined to win, the Brazilians kept their cool to defeat Ascent and Bind in quick succession, 13-11.
During the post-match interview, Saadhak was delighted with his team's performance "This match gives us a lot of confidence for the future". and is now ready to face any team in the play-offs. Now that the draw has been revealed, we know that his next match won't be an easy one. LOUD to take on Fnatic in what is already shaping up to be a rematch of the Lock In Brazil final.