The top three teams from the VCT NA Masters Stage One tournament were already eliminated during the open qualifiers of the Stage 2 Challengers 1 event this past weekend. The results go to show that the North American VALORANT scene remains unstable, and the two NA qualification slots for the Iceland International LAN are very much up for grabs.
In the round-of-16, FaZe Clan dropped to Version1 in a 1-2 match, Gen.G lost to Cloud9 Blue 0-2, and the Sentinels fell to Built By Gamers in an 0-2 series. Faze, Gen.G, and Sentinels were recently hailed as the top teams in North America after their strong performances at the Masters One tournament in March, but now the trio won’t even compete to earn their Stage 2 Challengers playoffs spots at the first Stage 2 Challengers event. They will have a chance at redemption at the Stage 2 Challengers 2 Open Qualifiers that kicks off on April 15th.
The three upsets are consistent with the ongoing instability in the NA VALORANT power rankings. North America’s best teams seem to constantly be changing, with TSM , 100 Thieves, and most recently Sentinels all taking their place at the top of the region, only to be replaced with a new best NA team a few weeks later. So while it may seem surprising that three of the biggest names in VALORANT fell so early in the qualifier, it isn't totally out of left field.
The eight teams that did advance to the NA Stage 2 Challengers 1 Main Event are:
- Team Envy
- Built by Gamers
- Cloud9 Blue
- 100 Thieves
The Stage 2 Challengers 1 Main Event will start on April 8th and conclude on April 11th. The top four teams at that double-elimination style tournament will advance to the Challengers Playoffs, while the bottom four will be offered invites to compete in the Stage 2 Challengers 2 Main Event. Those four will then compete against the top four teams from the Challengers 2 Open Qualifiers to earn the final four slots in the Challengers Playoffs.
The top two finishers at the NA Stage 2 Challengers Playoffs will have the honor of competing on behalf of the North American region at the VCT Stage 2 Masters International taking place in Iceland in May. That International event will be the first event in VALORANT history where the different regions can face off on equal footing.
Since the LAN will be the most prestigious VALORANT tournament so far, every team in North America covets a spot. With so many strong teams vying to qualify to the International, Stage 2 in North America is shaping up to be an exciting and unpredictable ride.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.