VALORANT Champions 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey, is nearing its conclusion as only the final four teams remain. On Sept. 18, the winner of this year’s VALORANT Champions Tour season will be crowned.
Champions has been a battle for each of the semifinalists. All of them have had a long road to where they are now, on the cusp of proving themselves the best VALORANT team in the world. For any fans who may have missed the earlier stages of Champions, here is everything you need to know about the final four teams.
LOUD are the best and most beloved team out of Brazil. Much to the delight of their fans, they’re having a great event at Champions 2022.
LOUD have shown that experience and level heads are crucial in the big moments. They haven’t leaned too heavily on the fragging of any one player, though Felipe “Less” Basso has had a standout tournament.
Coming into the upper bracket final, LOUD are poised to repeat their success from Masters Reykjavík earlier in the year. There, they notched a grand final appearance before ultimately falling short to OpTic Gaming. Unfortunately for LOUD, the team between them and a grand final at Champions is none other than OpTic.
There’s no two international teams in the VCT with a better rivalry than LOUD and OpTic. Although OpTic have taken the upper hand in that head-to-head — including a group stage win at Champions — LOUD are unquestionably capable of rewriting that narrative.
OpTic Gaming are the best team in North America and, arguably, the best overall team across the first two years of the VCT. They’re also one of two teams in the final four at Champions that could make history by winning their second international event.
The only team at the event with a perfect record, OpTic have still been bloodied and bruised on their way to the upper bracket final. In fact, the kings of NA have dropped a map to every single one of their opponents.
It’s safe to say they’re no strangers to adversity.
In direct contrast to their Brazilian rivals, OpTic have one player who must perform if they want to take home the trophy. Luckily for them, that player is Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker. Not only is yay the best-performing player at Champions so far, he’s also a contender for the best player in the world. He’s calm. He’s patient. His Chamber is the bane of OpTic’s opponents.
For OpTic to reach the grand final, they’ll have to once again overcome LOUD. If they can manage that, they will surely be the favorites to win Champions.
Like OpTic, FPX also have an opportunity to win a second international VCT event. Coming hot off their win at Masters Copenhagen, Champions is the perfect opportunity for FPX to cement their status as the top team from Europe.
The problem for FPX is that to reach the grand final, they’ll have to go through DRX, the team that 2-0’d them earlier in playoffs. But if there’s one thing FPX appreciates, it’s having their backs against the walls. By their own admission, FPX play better when everything is on the line.
Led by big-brained in-game leader Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov, FPX are a team bursting with firepower. And while any one of their players can get going, it’s Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks that DRX will have to keep under control if they want to once again overcome the European squad.
FPX are the final bosses of the lower bracket. But do they have what it takes to finish their run and go back-to-back?
The playoffs curse has been broken for DRX. The South Korean superstars have finally notched a top-four finish at an international event. Prior to Champions, DRX were beasts regionally and in the group stage, but they always seemed to flounder in the knockout stage.
Something has changed for this team. DRX’s mental resilience has notched up a gear. They were even able to send home the fan favorites in Fnatic. And while there are still holes in their game, this is the best DRX we have ever seen.
In the same vein as LOUD, DRX is a well-rounded team where anyone can take over a map. It just so happens that Byung-chul “BuZz” Yu takes on that responsibility more often than not. Backed by his fiery IGL Kim “stax” Gu-taek and a revitalized Goo “Rb” Sang-min, anything is possible.
About the Author
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.