VCT Masters Berlin, the second international LAN in pro-VALORANT history, is kicking off on Friday.
While there are some familiar faces from the Iceland LAN returning, like Sentinels, Crazy Raccoon, and KRU Esports, a majority of these teams were not at the last event! With so many new faces, we wanted to deep dive into the background of each team and provide you with some insight into their playstyle, their weaknesses, and who the key players are of each team.
Here is your complete VCT Masters Berlin cheat sheet!
Table of contents:
SEA | Paper Rex
LA | KRU Esports
➕ Playstyle/Strengths: The Sentinels are returning to VCT Berlin, having won the last event VCT Iceland in convincing fashion. This team is known for its explosive plays, incredible coordination, and chemistry. Sentinels often work very quickly at the start of rounds to secure map control, allowing themselves plenty of time to rotate late round.
This team has top-tier players across the board and have great in-game direction, headed up by their in-game leader ShahZam. With their duelists Sick and TenZ ready to explode, and a proven ability to adapt their strategy to the situation, this team has everything going for it. They are the favorites, by a lot.
➖Weaknesses: Sentinels have shown very few weaknesses in their gameplay, having won essentially every important event in recent months. They are the team to beat, so it will be up to the other teams to figure out where Sentinels are weak since there is no apparent chink in the armor of this absolutely dominant squad.
🔑Key Player - Tyson "TenZ" Ngo: Ever since Tenz joined the team, Sentinels have dominated their opposition. Throughout their rise and reign, TenZ has consistently placed at the top of the charge for damage and kills at key events. All that being said, Sentinels don’t have a weak player on their team, they are a team of absolute superstars who have proven to be head and shoulder above their opponents. It is hard not to also name SicK and ShahZaM in this category.
➕ Playstyle/Strengths: 100 Thieves has proven their ability to both master the meta and forge new metas over the past year. In the NA Berlin qualifiers, 100 Thieves ran a unique triple initiator composition with Kay/O, Sova, and Sky. This composition offers a lot of intelligence gathering abilities for both initial pushes and retakes on defense, allowing 100 Thieves to play confidently and aggressively to take the opponent off guard. It is not confirmed that this is the strategy they will be bringing to Berlin, but it is clear that 100T prefers to be aggressive and active over defensive and passive.
➖Weaknesses: 100 Thieves has seen some great successes in the NA region, but they struggled with consistency during the early part of 2020, leading to them missing Masters 2 qualification back in April. We will have to see how well they execute their strategies and maintain their chemistry in Berlin.
🔑Key player - Hiko: Hiko is a former Counter-Strike pro who has been the foundation of this 100 Thieves squad since its formation last year. Not only is Hiko the captain of this team, he is also their clutch player, taking home rounds where his team is losing time and time again. No one gets to a major event like Berlin without a lot of talent on their team, but the most stand out on 100T roster is Hiko.
➕Playstyle/Strengths: Team Envy is all about instinct, adaptation, and aggression. While some teams come into the match with very specific game plans and methods, Team Envy comes into a match, feels out their opponent, and then attempts to exploit the weaknesses they can spot. They are the VALORANT equivalent to a counter-puncher, and with the addition of Yay, this playstyle has really been working for them.
➖Weaknesses: Envy has always been in the conversation for top of NA, but always comes up just short. While they are looking stronger than ever, there are some concerns heading into Berlin. Perhaps the most important challenge facing the roster is that their coach Mikes won't be able to attend the event. It is possible that the team won’t miss a stride, but it is also possible that the absence of their coach could negatively impact this team's chances.
🔑Key player - Jaccob "yay" Whiteaker: Yay joined the roster right before the NA Masters 3 Berlin playoffs. Yay formerly competed for New York City’s Andbox VALORANT squad. His addition to Envy made all the difference in the world, with Yay putting up some of the best numbers at the event, along with his teammate Crashies. This player has proven that when a team can properly support his playstyle, he can really excel and bring home wins for his team.
Playstyle/Strengths: Acend is a heavily hyped EU team that entered VALORANT in March of 2021. Over the course of only a few months, this team has quickly established themselves as an elite roster in their region. Their playstyle is built around supporting CNed on Jett, and generally looks more like the aggression we have come to expect from NA rather than the more methodical, CS:GO-inspired strategies coming out of EU where they compete.
Weaknesses: In some ways, Acend is untested on the international stage. While they have proven their playstyle to work against the EU teams, it isn’t clear how their playstyle will translate against the more aggressive teams coming out of NA. Berlin will be a huge test for Acend, but they seem quite ready for it.
Key player - Mehmet Yağız "cNed" İpek: Turkish player CNed has helped lead Acend to their qualification to Berlin on the back of his incredible skills on Jett. Not only are his aim skills on point, his mastery of all the different abilities that Jett has access to helps him surprise enemies and initiate successfully initiate fights. If Acend does make a run at Masters Berlin, you can be sure that it will be CNed leading the way.
➕Playstyle/Strengths: Gambit is a Russia team that earned one of the EMEA slots to Masters Berlin. They pulled off an enormous upset against Team Liquid in the EMEA Challengers Playoffs to earn their spot in Berlin. After scrimming against Gambit, Sentinels called their defensive setups “wild” and praised their unique strategic approach to the game, even calling them the best team in Europe.
➖Weaknesses: Gambit’s greatest weakness is its attack side. While they are an unbreakable fortress on defense, with unorthodox, even scary, defensive control setups, they sometimes look lost on attack altogether. If they want to win Berlin, they will need to come in with a much more deliberate and effective attack strategy.
🔑Key player - Bogdan "NAts" Naumov: NAts is without a question the best player on this team. He consistently has the highest Kills and ACS on his team, and it is his strategic decision-making that has carried this team to the major. If NAts brings it to Masters Berlin, there is no telling how far this team could go.
➕Playstyle/Strengths: SuperMassive Blaze is a Turkish team that has seen great success in the Turkish Scene. They ended up taking second to Gambit Esports in the EMEA Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs, showing that they are capable of competing against the best in Europe. All five members of this team have shown their ability to consistently click on heads, and their counter-punching style feels custom fit for defeating teams from Europe and NA alike.
➖Weaknesses: SuperMassive Blaze has looked strong online, but will that translate to a LAN environment? We are not yet sure. For a team this heavily reliant on aim-duels, it will be essential that their skills translate to LAN or they could find themselves eliminated early.
🔑Key player - Baran "Izzy" Yılmaz: It is a little bit difficult to pick out one superstar from this lineup since they all contribute heavily to the success of their team, but Izzy ended up with the best stats at the recent playoffs, with Turko just barely behind him. Izzy’s raw Kill/death ratio and ACS demonstrate the tremendous value he brings to the team, and it will be key for him to replicate that in Berlin if this team is going to see success.
➕Playstyle/Strengths: G2 Esports is a Spanish VALORANT team that entered VALORANT very early on. They saw huge success in their first six months as a team, but in 2021 they have seen more mixed results leading to them eventually shaking up that original roster into what they are playing with today. Their current playstyle is slower than North America. G2 historically has relied upon gaining an early map economic advantages by winning pistol rounds, then they rely on methodical map control, intelligence gathering, and fast rotations to win maps.
➖Weaknesses: There are no apparent weaknesses in their playstyle, but G2 has struggled with consistent execution in recent months. If they can perform, their style is often quite effective, but it all comes down to carrying it out for this team.
🔑Key player - Cista "keloqz" Wassim: French player Keloqz has been an impressive duellist for G2 since he joined the team in June. He was fourth in overall ACS at the EMEA Stage 3 playoffs, and his performances on Jett have been pivotal in this team’s ability to find consistent success throughout the Berlin qualifiers. Mixwell, the team captain, is also one to watch, as he has been one of the top contenders in the EU since the release of VALORANT in 2020.
➕Playstyle/Strengths: Vision Strikers are the Korean team who went on a massive 102-series lossless streak that finally ended in April. This team has shown off incredible levels of team coordination and individual mechanical skill that have elevated them to legendary status in their home region of Korea. We can expect some unique set plays from this team in their Berlin debut outside their home region.
➖ Weaknesses: It’s hard to say what exact weaknesses VS might have, given that we have never seen them outside of Korea and they dominate their opponents there. While their mechanics and initial strategy are very strong, some have questioned whether those mechanical skills will be on par with regions like NA and EU, especially given the aggressive strategies we have seen coming out of those other regions.
🔑Key player - Lee "k1Ng" Seung-won: Vision Strikers dominated the Korea Stage 3 Challengers event, taking the top three player rankings in terms of kills. K1Ng, however, stands out for his top-of-the-chart K/D and his playmaking potential. His ability to clutch out rounds and win his gunfights has provided the bedrock upon which Vision Strikers’ consistent success has been built.
➕Playstyle/Strengths: F4Q played the spoiler in Korea by ending Vision Striker's aforementioned 102-game streak. Now, after placing second to VS at the recent Berlin qualifiers, they are heading to Berlin for their first international LAN competition.
This team was born out of a desire to create hype clips rather than a desire to see competitive success, but over time they found a way to be highly competitive, even given their unorthodox playstyle. Traces of those clip hunters still remain, with F4Q being known for its aggressive individualistic playstyle, relying on aim-duel wins over careful executions.
➖ Weaknesses: Explosive clicking on heads plays may not be enough for F4Q to find success in Berlin. This team is filled with relatively inexperienced VALORANT players who have never competed against the strategies of another region. They will be running headfirst into a brick wall known as EU and NA teams, and they are going to need to figure out some tactics and discipline to survive.
🔑Key player - Chae "Bunny" Joon-hyuk: Bunny is one of the best Raze players in the world. The former Overwatch pro was key to the team beating Vision Strikers earlier this year to end the 102-game lossless streak, and he has been the key to the teams continuing success in qualifying to Berlin. He will be one to watch in Berlin.
➕Playstyle/Strengths: Keys Stars is one of the strongest teams playing out of the Brazilian region. Also known as Vivo Keyd, Keys Stars joined VALORANT in June of 2021, and they have been dominating the BR region ever since.
Keyd Stars play the game in a very similar fashion to premiere teams from NA, using aggression and securing early-round map control, then they choke out their opponent’s options with strong utility usage. They might be the team that Brazil has been waiting for.
➖Weaknesses: Keyd stars is still quite new to the VALORANT scene, and as such it is hard to figure out how they will perform under pressure. That said, they haven’t shown any major weaknesses so far, we will have to see how their mechanics stack up against the more competitive regions.
🔑Key player - Olavo "heat" Marcelo: Heat has the most kills during the Brazilian Berlin playoffs, by nearly 150 kills. His skills on Jett are unmatched in Brazil, and he is going to be the star player that Keyd Stars looks to at the Berlin LAN.
➕Playstyle/Strengths: Haven Liberty has had mixed success in Brazil, winning multiple events, but struggling at others. Most recently, they came in second to Keyd Stars to earn their place at the Berlin major, dropping to their former player Heat in that match. Haven Liberty is known for its aggressive initiations on sites, and an otherwise consistently methodical playstyle. Havan Liberty essentially plays the meta, but they play it really well.
➖Weaknesses: Due to their “standard” way of playing, Haven Liberty is relatively predictable. They will generally do what you expect them to do, which can be exploited by more advanced teams.
🔑 Key player - Felipe "liazzi" Galiazzi: liazzi is HL’s Jett player, and he is incredible. His extremely aggressive and technical initiations made all the difference for this team in their run to qualify to Berlin. So long as liazzi is alive, the round isn’t over for Havan Liberty.
➕Playstyle/Strengths: Crazy Racoons is the most successful team playing out of Japan. They rely on raw aggression and personal skill to win the day. Their ability to win aim duels from aggressive flanking position helped them qualify to the Reykjavik LAN, but it came up short at the tournament itself. Now they have a chance for redemption in Berlin.
➖Weakness: Crazy Racoon remains strategically shallow, though they are better than they were a few months ago. While their individual skill is impressive, their struggle to adapt to enemy strategies is a huge question mark heading into the Berlin LAN.
🔑Key player - Byeon "Munchkin" Sang-beom: Coming from the Overwatch League, Munchkin is the most consistent performer for Crazy Racoons. Before joining Crazy Racoons he competed for Cloud9 Korea’s VALORANT team. As the only player with previous pro-level experience, Munchkin’s contributes both raw skill and leadership to this team.
➕ Playstyle/Strengths: ZETA DIVISION is the second team playing out of Japan at the Berlin major. They have had solid success within their region over the past year, including defeating Crazy Racoon at the Japan Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs to win the event. In similar fashion to Crazy Raccons, Zeta division is primarily interested in taking aim duels on their favorite agents, over playing the meta or trying to us strategy to outflank their opponent.
➖Weaknesses: They are just out of their depth strategically. While the likes of Sentinels, 100 Thieves, and Gambit are preparing complete strategy packages, the Japanese teams often fall short strategically, relying heavily on mechanics while disregarding many of the most nuances aspects of the game.
🔑Key player - Ryu "Reita" Oshiro: Reita is the Jett for Zeta Division and has been a crucial aspect of this team’s come up over the past few months. While he doesn’t boast the highest K/D or ACS on his team, Reita’s role is just so crucial. If he isn’t getting initiation kills on attack, the rest of the team won’t be able to get on-site, much less plant and defend the bomb. Laz and takej have also proven to be pivotal puzzle pieces in this team’s success.
➕ Playstyle/Strengths: Hailing from Singapore, Paper Rex has made a name for itself as one of the deadliest teams in South East Asia. The core of this team made its way over from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and they play like it. They often follow standard CS:GO best practices, which works better than you might think in a lot of situations. It would be an oversimplification to say they don't have any VALORANT specific strategies, but theirimpressive discipline and creativity as a team have made them one of the best in their region.
➖Weaknesses: The biggest limitation of this team is that they still play a lot of rounds like this is CS:GO, which can limit the potential uses of their abilities. Against a more complicated strategy, the somewhat limited tool chest of Paper Rex could become an issue.
🔑Key player - Jason "f0rsakeN" Susanto: F0rsakeN was a vital component to Paper Rex’s qualification to Masters Berlin. The Indonesian player has proven his worth as one of the most aggressive Jett players in his region. He has a way of finding angles to attack from that enemies won’t expect, that nets him many of his kills. On rifle, pistol, or AWP, F0rsakeN is a beast, and his performance will be essential for this team’s success.
➕ Playstyle/Strengths: KRU Esports is an Argentine organization that will represent Latin America at the VCT LAN. Their playstyle is informed by the NA playstyle, since the NA and Latin American region often scrimmage against each other, though they are more methodical than many of the gun hoe NA squads. At Masters Reykjavik, this team was eliminated in the second round by Team Liquid, after advancing over Sharks Esports in the first round.
➖Weaknesses: KRU Esports has a decent playstyle and solid fundamentals, however, they just outgunned by the talent of top-tier teams. They could prove me wrong at the upcoming event, but they struggled mightily in their aim-duels and team setups against Team Liquid at Reykjavik. The meta is slightly different than it was, and KRU has has time to address those challenges, so we will see if they have improved in this area.
🔑Key Player Nagz: Nagz is the sniper for KRU Esports. His deadly skills with Jett have been a huge boon to KRU Esports during their run to qualify to the VCT Masters LAN. If they do find success, it will likely be because Nagz is hitting his shots with the Operator.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.