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Now that the final qualifier for North America’s Masters One event is over, the stage is set for the first major tournament of the Valorant Champions Tour.
The field includes some of the top teams from the beginning of the Valorant competitive scene, along with some up-and-comers looking to make a name for themselves. As a result, Masters One will be a culmination of many story lines that have permeated the region and should close the book on the narratives from the first leg of the VCT.
Sentinels as favorites
Sentinels, which always seem to be at the height of controversy, should be considered the perennial favorites coming into the tournament. The team has been a top squad in the region since the game’s beta period and has maintained that form into the VCT era.
Shahzeeb “ShahZaM” Khan and his teammates took the first Challengers title in convincing fashion. The team made a dominant losers bracket run and reached the grand finals of Challengers Two. While Envy did take the crown in the second qualifier, Sentinels have looked fearsome against almost every other team in the field at Masters.
Now that the team has a set schedule with no winter storms to get in the way, the other qualified teams should see Sentinels as the team to beat this tournament.
FaZe Clan coming in hot
Faze are the new hot team after defeating 100 Thieves in convincing fashion at Challengers Three. The squad of former Overwatch players was not a top team to many before the event.
However, the team defied expectations and only dropped one map en route to a Challengers title. FaZe seem to be in form across all members, but Andrej “babybay” Francisty specifically was on fire during the event. The former Overwatch DPS player dropped multiple 20 kills games and even racked up 30 kills against NRG on Ascent.
FaZe are riding their momentum from a Challengers title into this Masters tournament, and their opponents should look for any way to stop them from running away with the trophy.
XSET as a dark horse
XSET were a relatively unknown team before the VCT but qualified for Masters early over other, more storied organizations. The team is tactically sound, even working Viper into some compositions, and have victories over top teams like FaZe, Envy and Luminosity.
The team is set up for a match against FaZe in the first round and could solidify a dark horse status by taking down the Challengers Three champions. XSET and their coach, Don “SyykoNT” Muir, are known for crafting interesting set ups and strategies. With a week off to prepare for Masters, the underdogs may have some surprises for the top teams.
Master One kicks off its first stage on March 11, with teams competing across Valorant’s multiple regions. More information is available on Riot’s website.
Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.