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The biggest international VALORANT LAN event to date took place in Berlin from Sept. 10-19 and it certainly didn’t disappoint. After ten days of intense competition, EMEA’s Gambit Esports took home the trophy, granting their region an extra spot at VCT Champions at the end of the year. There were highs and lows for every team, and each region brought their A-Game to Masters Berlin, but some performed better than others. Check out how all 15 squads stacked up against one another in Upcomer’s VALORANT global power rankings following VALORANT Champions Tour Masters Berlin.
15. Havan Liberty
Havan Liberty were a clear underdog in Group C, going against VCT greats like 100 Thieves and Gambit Esports. Havan came in with rigorous scrimming, training and conditioning, but it did not hold up against the many powerhouses they faced. In both matches, no players on Havan Liberty ended with a positive kill-death differential. This showed that no player on Havan was able to make a meaningful impact on a map. They struggled to get rounds in, failing to even reach 10 rounds won on any map at Berlin, which is disheartening to see.
With their early exit in Berlin, they did not garner enough points to automatically qualify for Champions. Havan will be playing in SA LCQ. However, they will be up against teams like Shark Esports and Six Karma, so it is still an uphill battle for them to make it to Champions.
— Landon Summers
14. ZETA DIVISION
ZETA DIVISION were the first team to get a map for Japan at an international VALORANT LAN event; a feat that Crazy Raccoon were not able to do in Reykjavik. They performed admirably, with Koji “Laz” Ushida earning an average 230+ ACS for both matches, and Shogo “takej” Takemori having strong showings on Sage, Reyna and Skye. However, the problems for ZETA were far greater than their triumphs. They seemed to be overwhelmed by KRÜ Esports and Vivo Keyd, with a round differential of -22 (losing 22 more maps than they won). Vivo Keyd’s Olavo “Heat” Marcelo and Murillo “murizzz” Tuchtenhagen were able to farm ZETA for a clean win. Meanwhile, KRÜ Esports’ Juan Pablo “NagZ” Lopez was able to enter and get first kills frequently, opening up ZETA to a world of hurt.
With ZETA pulling out of VALORANT Champions Tour, we are not going to be seeing them in Champions for the rest of VCT 2021. However, we hope to see this team grow and evolve to come back stronger in VCT 2022.
13. Paper Rex
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) September 21, 2021
On paper, the SEA representatives’ 0-2 record at Masters Berlin look like they didn’t have a great tournament, but it’s actually quite the contrary. Not many outside of their region expected great things from them going into the competition, but they proved a lot of people wrong with their organized and strategic style of play.
Paper Rex were incredibly unlucky to be drawn into the “Group of Death.” But even so, they managed to push Vision Strikers to the brink and even took a map from Turkey’s SuperMassive Blaze. Their Jett main Jason “f0rsakeN” Susanto was the expected star player, but both Khalish “d4v41” Rusyaidee and Aaron “mindfreak” Leonhart came up huge on several occasions. Not to mention, the funny and outgoing Benedict “Benkai” Tan captured the hearts of many VALORANT fans around the world with his iconic walkouts and hilarious interviews. Although Paper Rex weren’t quite able to get out of their group, they’re definitely a team to watch for the future.
— Yinsu Collins
12. Crazy Raccoon
Expectations were tempered for Japanese team Crazy Raccoon, who exited Stage 2 Masters Reykjavík without a single map win. They weren’t the first seed from their region coming into the tournament and would have to fight their way through either Gambit Esports or 100 Thieves to make it to playoffs — a tall order for any team from a minor region.
Surprisingly, Crazy Raccoon came closer to a miracle than any other underdog team in the tournament. In their second, decisive match against Gambit, they were able to seize the lead in the first half of both maps through star performances from the likes of Hideki “Fisker” Sasaki and Yusuke “neth” Matsuda. Unfortunately, though, they failed to close it out, leaving behind a bevy of regrets and “what ifs.” They’ve already qualified for Champions, which will be their final chance at redemption in 2021.
— Bonnie Qu
The Korean stream team was never expected to make it out of the group they were given, with both Sentinels and G2 Esports standing in the way of their prospective playoffs run. We can speculate on how they might have fared in any other group, but the fact is that they exited the tournament without a win.
They looked promising at times; Chae “Bunny” Joo-hyuk’s precise Raze movement and the whole team’s aggressive, high-tempo playstyle was able to catch G2 and Sentinels off guard. It was enough to net them one map apiece against both of their opponents, but that was more of a consolation prize than anything. F4Q will compete in the APAC Last Chance Qualifier come Oct.
10. Vivo Keyd
While Vivo Keyd did not make it out of groups, they showed signs of promise. With stand-out player Olavo “heat” Marcelo on their team as one of the best duelists in Berlin, the Brazilians made quick work of ZETA DIVISION. However, they were unable to get past Team Envy and KRÜ. But, despite facing formidable opponents, they managed to put up good fights, even bringing second-place finishers Envy into overtime.
In the deciding match against KRÜ, heat failed to find his form and was unable to put up the numbers from the matches before. According to heat, he played with wrist pain, which got worse after the match against ZETA. But, even with lower output in firepower from heat, Vivo Keyd brought both maps to 13-11, showing the team’s positive attributes coming out of Masters Berlin.
With their result in Berlin, Vivo Keyd earned enough points to qualify for Champions. The team now have a few months to iron out the kinks and for heat to work on his wrists. The team have shown that despite looking dangerous at times, they need heat in top form to make the difference.
— Michael Kloos
9. SuperMassive Blaze
We learned a lot of what we already knew about SuperMassive Blaze while watching them in Berlin. They’re the top team in Turkey, but the country in between the Black and Mediterranean Sea has a long way to go in matching up with other regions. SM Blaze’s only win came against a depleted Paper Rex that wasn’t going to make waves in Germany anyway. However, a win, especially on the international stage, is still a win.
Eren “Brave” Kasırga was right though; they were far more prepared against Acend the second time they faced the European squad. They got a map win and proved that the Turkish squad can take feedback on board, practice and come back better against teams with more firepower and strategy. That’s exactly what they told me after their second loss at Masters. They have plenty of time to train before the LCQs on Oct. 10.
— Aron Garst
8. KRÜ Esports
Chilean representatives KRÜ Esports were placed in the same group as eventual runners-up Envy. While they didn’t manage to defeat the North American giants, they were able to become the second best team in the group. KRÜ Esports managed to take down both Vivo Keyd and ZETA DIVISION to ensure their place in the playoffs.
Unfortunately for KRÜ Esports, they had to face off against G2 Esports, arguably the second best EMEA team at the event. The match was a quick 2-0 sweep for G2 Esports but the Chilean side didn’t go down without a fight. For a team like KRÜ Esports, even securing qualification for the playoffs against some of the best teams in the world is a huge achievement. They managed to defeat some of the minor region’s very best.
Individually, Angelo “keznit” Mori was a bright spark for the side during the event. He was extremely versatile in his agent pool, performing well on agents such as Reyna and Raze but also picking up Skye when necessary. Keznit had a 154 damage score per round too; one of the best in the tournament. But, while they couldn’t take down the big guns, KRÜ Esports have plenty to show for their time at VCT Berlin.
— George Geddes
Unfortunate that it had to be 2 EMEA teams to battle for one slot in play-offs.
And what an incredibly intense series it was!@supmassblaze are cracked players, and we are looking forward to facing them again very soon!#RiseUP #BurnThemAll @ValorantEsports pic.twitter.com/QYNyfu56QR
— Acend (@AcendClub) September 16, 2021
The loveable youngsters of Europe had an overall decent showing at Masters Berlin. With probably one of the best taunting displays we’ve seen in a game of VALORANT, to their clapping and song breaks, Acend captured the hearts of many VALORANT fans. As for their form at the event, their lack of LAN and high intensity game experience was telling. From their tight contest with Vision Strikers to 100 Thieves’ massive comeback in the Knockout Stage, Acend look almost ready for prime time. Mehmet “cNed” Yağız İpek still showed out and proved that he can hang with the best players in North America and South Korea.
While ranked seventh in our rankings, Acend should still be looked at as tournament favorites moving forward. This was not their tournament, but that doesn’t mean they did not perform well.
— Declan Mclaughlin
6. Vision Strikers
Vision Strikers got to show the world just how good they can be on the international stage when given the chance. While bowing out early in the quarterfinal stage to the eventual winners of the event, the South Korean squad showed their tactics, skills and adaptability to the rest of the VCT competition.
The team did impress but there were also some flaws in their play that Gambit exploited, leading teams like Paper Rex to play them closer than most analysts predicted. They did 2-0 both Paper Rex and Acend but it was not as clean as when they would face off against their regional competition. Vision Strikers land just outside of the top five because of their placing at the event and their overall level of play. And, while still impressive, they left a little to be desired from the hype and expectations coming in. Also, the lack of Kim “Lakia” Jong-min on Sova at the tournament left us all wanting.
Berlin was a wake up call for Sentinels in multiple ways. In North America, Sentinels had been on an unstoppable tear through the region topping every tournament they attended. The same was true at Masters 2, when they took home the trophy and cemented themselves as the best team in the world. At Berlin, things looked very different for the former champions. In pool play against G2 Esports, they looked off in victory and even worse when the two teams met again in groups.
That inconsistency in play stuck with Sentinels into the playoffs, where they continued to struggle in the opening round against Envy. While Envy did make it to the finals after defeating Sentinels, that doesn’t excuse the fact that Sentinels have been a core five for a lot longer than Envy. They’ve proven in the past that they can lift trophies. Now that Sentinels have already qualified for Champions, they have months of preparation to fix their minor issues before one of the biggest events of the year. It has been awhile since Sentinels have lost, and now they can take some time to analyze their play.
— Danny Appleford
4. G2 Esports
G2 Esports put it all on the line in Berlin and proved that Europe is on equal footing with North America. They were the first team to hand Sentinels a loss at a major event. They played them twice, only taking one map in the first matchup. Wassim “keloqz” Cista said that he was “sure” they’d beat Sentinels the second time and he was right. It wasn’t just a win; it was a shutout.
It’s clear that G2 put a ton of time and effort into preparing for Sentinels, since they were both in the same group. This made it all the more disappointing to watch Gambit destroy them 13-0 on Icebox in the semifinals. It wasn’t the first time they lost to the Russians, either. They’ll need to regroup and figure out how to beat Gambit without neglecting preparation against other top teams going into Champions.
3. 100 Thieves
100 Thieves had several close calls throughout Berlin and two of the most exhilarating matches of the event against Gambit and Acend. During the early stages of most matches 100 Thieves appeared to be off their game, but they made up for it with pure LAN experience alone. None of the members on 100 Thieves had mental booms when their backs were against the wall, and it showed just how resilient 100 Thieves can be, especially on LAN.
They rightfully deserve third overall for overcoming two of the best EMEA teams and making it to the semifinals. However, everything 100 Thieves had going for them was thrown out the window when they faced Envy. Envy had overtaken 100T the last few times the teams faced off, and that story was no different in Berlin. Outside of the Envy matchup, 100T proved that they have what it takes to compete at the top regardless of how scary the competition around them looks. Now that they will have to battle their way through the Last Chance Qualifier, 100 Thieves will have more opportunities to show how terrifying they can be on LAN against the rest of the teams in North America.
The competition in North America has proven to be one of the most rigorous and competitive in the world. Previously dubbed the best team in the world, Sentinels were dethroned by their North American counterparts during VCT Masters Berlin.
Envy were able to take down Sentinels without losing a map; a task which would have been dubbed borderline impossible prior to the event. Not only that, Envy didn’t lose a single map until the grand final — sweeping 100 Thieves, KRÜ Esports and Vivo Keyd. Gambit would prove to be their first major opponent, however, with the CIS side dominating the competition during the event.
The best duelist player in the world, Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker, was integral to Envy’s success. Prior to the nerfs after the event, Jett was the best agent to use for duelist players. Yay used this agent to the peak of her ability. He was one of the best players to use the OP throughout the event and managed to secure himself a 176.9 average damage per round; one of the highest at the event.
1. Gambit Esports
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) September 19, 2021
They were the no. 1 seed coming from EMEA and after a grueling group stage and knockouts, Gambit became the VCT Masters Berlin champions and solidified themselves as one of the best teams in the world.
Despite losing to 100 Thieves during the Group Stage, Gambit bounced back and took down Crazy Racoon for the second time to progress to the playoffs. From there, they kicked things off by beating Korea’s Vision Strikers — which included a 13-2 on Bind — and followed that up by producing the only international 13-0 of all time, humiliating G2 Esports on Icebox. Some still weren’t convinced by this Gambit side, as they were about to face another NA team — Envy — in the grand final. But they silenced the doubters by beating them 3-0, despite Envy having the luxury of the one-map ban in the best-of-five.
Every single player on Gambit had crucial moments throughout the tournament, but it was 19-year-old Cypher and Viper player Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin that caught the attention and hearts of VALORANT fans around the globe. Their victory at masters also locked them in for Champions in Dec. It’s not out of the question for the CIS superstars to take home another trophy in Berlin.