The VALORANT Champions 2021 tournament is considered the most prestigious competition on the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT). It will see 16 teams battle for $1,000,000 in prize money and the title of VALORANT world champions. Read our official betting preview for Champions 2021.
What is VALORANT Champions 2021?
The VALORANT Champions 2021 tournament is the final event of the year on the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT). It is the world championships for VALORANT esports and will see the best 16 teams from around the world converge in Berlin, Germany to compete over 12 days.
The teams have earned their place in the tournament by either winning circuit points at official events on the VCT, winning Masters-level events during the year, or by winning their regional Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) event.
VALORANT Champions 2021 will be taking place between December 1 and December 12, 2021.
Credit: VALORANT via Riot Games
VALORANT Champions – tournament format
The event is split into two stages - a group stage and a playoff stage.
The group stage will see the 16 teams divided into four groups, and the matches within each group will take place as a double-elimination bracket. The top two teams from each group will earn qualification to the playoff stage.
The eight teams that earn a spot in the playoff stage will be seeded into a single-elimination bracket to battle for the title of the first-ever VALORANT world champions.
All matches will be played as a best-of-three (Bo3) with the exception of the grand final which will be played as a best-of-five (Bo5).
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Analysing the teams at VALORANT Champions 2021
The first year of the VALORANT Champions Tour comes to a close in Berlin, Germany with the first-ever VALORANT Champions tournament. With VCT competition initially taking place online at the beginning of 2021, the VCT made a successful transition to LAN competition and showcased what the very best players in VALORANT can achieve.
Group A – Acend, Team Envy, X10 CRIT, and Keyd Stars
Two teams stand out in Group A as clear favourites to earn qualification to the playoff stage: Acend and Team Envy.
Acend (ACE) are the number two seed from the EMEA region (Gambit ranks higher due to their win at Masters – Berlin), and accumulated the most VCT circuit points from the region to earn their spot at Champions. The international line-up, which is home to star Turkish player Mehmet Yagız "cNed" İpek, have elevated their level of play throughout 2021 and this has resulted in a stellar win rate of 86%. While the team were knocked out in the quarter-finals of Masters – Berlin by 100 Thieves in a close match, the team have shown they have the potential to compete with the top teams in attendance.
Expectations will be extremely high for the number two seed from North America, Team Envy (NV), after the team – led by enigmatic In-Game Leader Pujan “FNS” Mehta – finished runners up at Masters – Berlin, beating tournament favourites and fellow North Americans Sentinels to do so. Team Envy seem to be on the cusp of greatness and a strong performance in the group stage will justify their placement in our outright odds as a top-five contender.
Group B – Sentinels, KRÜ Esports, Team Liquid, and FURIA Esports
For anyone that’s followed the VCT in 2021, it would be easy to understand why the North American side of Sentinels (SEN) are expected to dominate Group B and are one of the favourites to win the tournament. The Masters – Reykjavik champions were the first team to lock in a spot at the Champions 2021 tournament and have successfully competed at the highest level throughout the year by attending all three Masters events in their region. The team, who are home to star player Tyson "TenZ" Ngo, will be looking to cement their legacy in VALORANT by winning the tournament.
Barring any unexpected losses to KRÜ Esports or FURIA Esports, Team Liquid (TL) have a strong claim on the second spot in the playoff stage, behind Sentinels. Following two changes to their line-up in 2021, the team have realised their potential as a top team in VALORANT. This was demonstrated recently in the Red Bull Home Ground #2 tournament where they comfortably beat fellow Champions 2021 attendees Acend and Fnatic.
Much will be expected from Team Liquid at Champions 2021, especially from Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom and his brother Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom who is the most recent addition to the team.
Group C – Gambit, Team Vikings, Team Secret, and Crazy Raccoons
Drawn in Group C, Masters – Berlin champions Gambit (GMB) should have an easy time navigating the group stage. On paper, they are significantly better than Team Vikings, Team Secret, and Crazy Raccoons, and even one map loss could be considered an upset given that the team are title contenders. Much like Sentinels, the team want to make history and be the first VALORANT world champions.
When looking at which team may also make it out of Group C, it becomes difficult to pick a clear favourite. Representing the Brazilian, South East Asian, and Japanese regions respectively, the battle for the second qualification spot may come down to who performs the best on the day. Of the three, Team Vikings (TKS) and Crazy Raccoons (CR) have had a taste of international competition before, having maintained the same line-up since they participated in Masters – Reykjavik and Masters – Berlin respectively. Team Secret (TS) are the exception in Group C, with the team making their debut at an international competition.
Group D – Vision Strikers, Fnatic, FULL SENSE, and Cloud9 Blue
Possibly the most competitive group of the tournament, Group D has three teams that have the ability to make the playoff stage but there are only two spots to compete for.
North America - Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) invite Cloud9 Blue (C9B) are in attendance at VALORANT Champions 2021 against the odds, having beaten the expected invitees 100 Thieves in the LCQ. The team, who are led by Anthony “vanity” Malaspina (formerly a member of Version1), enter Champions 2021 in strong form having performed well in regional tournaments such as the NSG Summer Championship and the VCT – Challengers event. This will be the first time the team has competed at a VALORANT Masters-level or above tournament, and will be relying on their 72% win rate to find success on the international stage.
The third seed from EMEA, Fnatic (FNC), will be looking to live up to their performance at Masters – Reykjavik which saw the team finish as runners-up behind Sentinels. Led by their charismatic In-Game Leader Jake “Boaster” Howlett, the team have achieved a 78% win rate going into Champions 2021; however, they also suffered a poor set of results at the Red Bull Home Ground #2 in November, where they lost to Giants Gaming and Team Liquid. Whether this was just a case of a temporary dip in form is up for debate, but regardless, Fnatic have the pedigree to succeed in Group D.
The final team we’ll be discussing is South Korea’s Vision Strikers (VS). The team, who hold the highest win record among the competing teams in Champions 2021 (94%), will be looking to elevate their performance, having being knocked out by Gambit at Masters – Berlin in the quarter-finals. The team had flashes of brilliance at Masters – Berlin, being one of two teams to actually win a map against Gambit at the tournament, and are expected to show similar competitiveness at VALORANT Champions 2021.