There are only a few days left until the start of the first international LAN tournament of Valorant, and nobody can stop me from walking around full of hype. Valorant Champions Tour Stage 2 Masters Reykjavík starts on May 24, and all representatives from different regions are set in beautiful Iceland to prove that their region is the best. But first, your family-friendly writer is ready to break down everything you need to know about the participating teams before we head into the event. I hope you’re ready, because I was born ready.
Crazy Raccoon – Japan
Japan is sending its best team, Crazy Raccoon, to Masters Reykjavík. Losing only two in its last 27 games, Crazy Raccoon already built its kingdom in the region. After adding Twinkl, the former coach of London Spitfire and O2 Blast, and mun to the team as coaches in February alongside former Cloud9 Korea player Munchkin, the roster became a completely different animal. They won Masters 1 and the regional finals thanks to the three additions.
The roster features players who have different professional backgrounds. With former PUBG, Fortnite, Overwatch, CS:GO and H1Z1 pros on the team, everyone brings a different style into the arena. However, this variability doesn’t reflect their strategic diversity; Crazy Raccoon is the team with the smallest agent pool among the teams coming to Masters Reykjavík. The team completed the regional finals playing with nearly the same agent lineup, and this makes the group easy to analyze.
The Japanese representative prefers double-duelist comp and executes well on the site with them. Creating chaos, going on individual duels and diving into the site instead of controlling the map are its main styles. They’re great at what they do, but they do too little, so that’s why Crazy Raccoon is the weakest team in Masters Reykjavík, in my opinion.
NUTURN Gaming – Korea
NUTURN is the team with the toughest road to Iceland. It beat Vision Strikers, who had the longest win streak in Valorant history and then took down Damwon Gaming in a close best-of-five series in the qualifier final. Korea’s only hope already proved how strong it is.
All members of the roster have been playing together for eight months since the time they called themselves “PROPARTY,” before being acquired by NUTURN Gaming in January. The team failed to win Masters 1, losing the final series against Vision Strikers 3-2, but it didn’t allow the same thing to happen in Masters 2.
Korea’s representative consists of two players above 30 years old and three players who have professional CS:GO experience. Besides these facts, when you consider all the teams that played on LAN in Korea, NUTURN Gaming is the most experienced team in Masters Reykjavík.
Let me tell you something before I talk about NUTURN’s game style: Do not sleep on them. With one of the oldest and most clever in-game leaders alongside a team full of talented players, NUTURN Gaming is among the top contenders for the championship. They have plans, they have firepower, and they always look to help each other. All players are well aware that they’re playing Valorant, not CS:GO, as prioritizing ability usage is one of their great strengths. Yes, they have some weak points, but NUTURN Gaming is among my top two in the tournament. PS: Lakia, I’m watching you man.
Sentinels – North America
Sentinels is North America’s best hope, there is no doubt about that. If Riot Games made a poll and asked NA fans to choose their regional representative, the top option should be Sentinels. They have won everything except First Strike in NA since the closed beta of Valorant, so who else could it be?
A day before Masters 1 started, Riot Games announced that they suspended the team’s star player, sinatraa, due to current allegations. The organization immediately loaned TenZ from Cloud9 for the event, and Sentinels initiated Masters 1 with a roster change and shocking news. Could these things stop them? No. Sentinels looked stronger than ever and crushed everyone in Masters 1. Yes, they struggled a little bit at times during the tournament, but when they wanted to win, they won. How?
Most of the credits should go to ShahZaM here. The in-game leader of the roster also undertakes the coaching role in the team. Every strategy that Sentinels showcases in a match should be approved by ShahZaM himself. However, NA’s first seed wouldn’t be this successful if they didn’t have crazy individual skill. With confidence of insane talent, Sentinels can be flexible in the agent selection screen, meaning you can see anyone in a different role depending on the map they play. However, Sentinels is not invincible.
Everything is fine for them as long as they land the headshots, but their strategy doesn’t help them so much when it’s not their day. They like to take 1v1 fights, however, this habit causes them to miss trade kills and avoid using abilities. These are the things that can be penalized by other teams in such high level competition. That’s why Sentinels is in my top five, but not my tournament favorite.
KRÜ Esports – Latin America
Established in January by Sergio Kun Agüero, who is one of the well-known football (soccer) players in the world, KRÜ Esports features two Argentinean and three Chilean players on its roster. Similar to other participants in Masters Reykjavík, the LATAM representative contains former Overwatch and CS:GO players, including arguably the best duelist player in the region, NagZ.
KRÜ Esports wasn’t the favorite team when it was coming to the regional finals of LATAM after getting eliminated in the semifinals in Masters 1 and finishing in consecutive second places in recent tournaments. It looks like the main members of the team were aware of the team’s current state and decided to make two roster changes in March, adding bnj and delz1k to the roster, a change that boosted the team to champion of the region.
Even though many people don’t see KRÜ Esports among the prominent teams in Masters Reykjavík, they are a decent squad with a wide agent pool, strong individuals and the mentality of helping teammates first. They lost only one in their last 14 matches, and I believe that the roster is capable of making surprises in the tournament. Besides that, if you want some players to watch, delz1k is one of them with Astra in his control.
Fnatic – Europe
Making adjustments in a squad when there are two days left to the beginning of a qualifier requires some balls, and I want to applaud the coaching staff of Fnatic because of that. Fnatic picked up two young stars, Derke and Magnum, in April and this courageous change made all the difference.
After Riot Games announced the Valorant Champions Tour, Fnatic decided to enter the scene, and SUMN FC, the First Strike Europe’s second-place team, didn’t have an organization at that time. They were a great team, however, they weren’t great enough to become the best team in Europe. Fnatic acquired the roster but couldn’t qualify for Masters 1 before adding Derke and Magnum to the roster and taking a place in the regional qualifiers in Stage 2.
In Challengers 2, Fnatic managed to defeat G2 Esports, Team Vitality and Liquid to earn a spot in the EMEA Finals where it didn’t drop a single map until the final. With four young bloods and a smart in-game leader, Fnatic has been looking sharp recently, and everything goes perfect when Derke grabs opening kills with Jett. However, even when the young Finnish player isn’t in the mood to cut heads off, Fnatic’s strategies help the team run smoothly.
Having talented young players in the roster brings so many benefits to the team, but they can’t provide one other crucial thing in esports: Experience. If they had enough offline event experience, I would say Fnatic is among my contenders without hesitation. They’re still a challenging opponent for anyone in Masters Reykjavík, and I can’t wait to watch them in a LAN tournament, but I think having a lack of experience will prevent them from winning it all.
Team Vikings – Brazil
If this is your first international esports event of any kind, you’ll see how passionate Brazilian fans are. The region has been playing a huge role in FPS games for a long time, and now it’s sending its best team to Valorant’s first international event. Team Vikings is the best team not only in Brazil but in all of Latin America, winning 23 of its last 25 games.
While Team Vikings’ Valorant team was established in May 2020, there is no one in the current roster from the first squad as the team reformed three times, most recently in December 2020. Featuring many former professional players in other games such as League of Legends, Paladins and CS:GO, Brazil’s biggest hope also won the Masters 1 in the region back in March and only lost one map in the regional finals of Stage 2.
What makes them unbeatable? The first thing that comes into my mind when I hear that question is their aim. Okay, Brazilian FPS teams have been known for their skilled players for years, we know that. In Valorant, it’s the combination with the aggressiveness which makes them even more frightening. However, Valorant isn’t like any other tactical FPS game, which is why you need to be in control sometimes.
Team Vikings’ play style is similar to Sentinels. They’re peeking aggressively on both sides, putting their individuals in front of team play. They like playing fast-paced attacks, but this causes their attacks to be uncontrolled and out of sync. This is the first international tournament of Valorant and we don’t know which play style is necessarily better, but I don’t think Team Vikings can reach the grand final in Masters Reykjavík with the mistakes it made in the regional qualifiers.
Team Liquid – Europe
I’m so happy Team Liquid succeeded in qualifying to Masters Reykjavík. That’s not because I’m a fan of the team, but because it showed everyone that hard work and trusting the process pay off in the end. Liquid is among the foremost esports organizations in the world, and it entered the Valorant scene in August by signing fish123, which was a bright team in the closed beta period of the game. Since then, the team has made only one change to the roster, adding Jamppi.
Team Liquid was far behind from being the best team in Europe a month ago; however, they demonstrated some improvement after Jamppi joined the squad in the place of ec1s. Failing to qualify for Masters 1 in March, Liquid would have experienced the same disappointment if it didn’t come to Stage 2 Challengers 2 and the EMEA Finals with a different shape. ScreaM has always been a beast, but the addition of Jamppi and progressively increasing performance of L1NK, soulcas and Kryptix took the extra weight from ScreaM’s shoulders. It was like, “Hey man, you don’t need to do unnecessary things to carry a game. We’re here now, and we’re better as a whole.”
They’re coming hot, their eyes are on the prize. Any result except winning the tournament will be a defeat for Liquid, which carries one of the largest agent pools in the event. The European powerhouse has several different team compositions that can be changed based on a map. Besides that, its strategies during a round are as variable as their agent selection, which makes them unpredictable; however, trying too many individual plays sometimes makes them the most vulnerable.
As you can guess, Team Liquid is one of my candidates for the trophy in Masters Reykjavík. Watching ScreaM in his first offline international Valorant event will be delightful, and I can’t wait for it.
Version1 – North America
“Who would’ve thought? Not me.” It’s a surprise seeing Version1 as North America’s second seed team in Masters Reykjavík. They came from nowhere and I don’t think anybody predicted it; however, it’s a well-deserved result for them, beating Andbox, NRG, Envy and Cloud9 Blue in the regional finals to earn a spot in the event. Most importantly, the team showcased great game play in all of these matches.
Preferring double-duelist team comp, Version1 likes increasing the speed of the round when it gets an entry kill. High tempo fits its lineup perfectly, and the roster’s arm-in-arm game style feeds the efficiency in a good way. The squad has enough experience since all players have CS:GO backgrounds, allowing it to stay calm during a game. However, even this calmness doesn’t prevent them from struggling to read its opponent’s plan sometimes. Version1 is great when it performs high-pressure defense, but there are lots of things that need to be improved in its passive defense.
COVID-19 caused countless troubles to everyone in the past year, unfortunately it will affect Version1 in Masters Reykjavík as well. The Russian player Maxim “wippie” Shepelev won’t be with the team in the event due to travel instructions in his region. The team will use jammyz as a stand-in at the event, and he is going to take Wippie’s sentinel role in the team. We will see how this change will affect Version1.
YNG Sharks – Brazil
Like similar organizations in the Valorant scene, YNG Sharks preferred to acquire a complete team instead of forming a new roster. In March, the organization signed Squad5, a roster that had been playing together for four months thanks to its success in qualifying for Masters 1. However, the team got eliminated in the first round of Masters 1.
After Masters 1, YNG Sharks added a new coach to its squad, which apparently made all the difference. I know some Brazilian fans will be mad at me because of what I’m about to say, but YNG Sharks isn’t that great, to be honest. Yes, it is surrounded with experienced players, has decent aim and conspicuous talents, but that’s about it. YNG Sharks fails the class when it comes to the team play and backup plans.
It tried some different agent setups in the regional finals, but having a low map pool hindered it from using those agents to their full potential. I need to give a note here: if you underestimate them, YNG Sharks will crush you with its incredibly fast attacks and you’ll lose the game without realizing what happened. It works for them in Brazil, but I don’t think it will work in Masters Reykjavík.
X10 Esports – Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia’s best team will be attending the event with full confidence, losing only two of its last 30 matches. Even though this statistic looks fantastic, it also shows that the region doesn’t have as many strong opponents, which makes it hard to compare with other participants. X10 Esports won nearly everything in Southeast Asia, and it has a promising young star in Patiphan. If nothing else, these facts are enough to make me want to watch their games.
SEA’s representative usually prefers a single duelist in its team compositions, giving Jett to Patiphan. Besides Jett, its agent lineups are flexible depending on the map, and it can play every agent in the meta easily. With its chaotic style, aggressive post-plants, fast-ended attacks and unexpected pushes, X10 Esports is a fun-to-watch team for sure.
It wouldn’t surprise me if X10 Esports is able to win a couple of series in Masters Reykjavík but winning the whole tournament seems nearly impossible to me. Its general style is open to be punished, and all teams in the event are capable enough to do that.
That’s all I can say about the participants of Masters Reykjavík. I hope you enjoyed every single minute of your reading and please leave your predictions in the comment section. I wish everyone a pleasant Valorant tournament. See you on the 24th!