This article is part of our VALORANT series.
VCT Masters is finally here! After a grueling two months of regional play that was disrupted by a war, a pandemic and internet issues all over the planet, we finally have our challengers for the first major VALORANT title of the year. Here's a look at some players to target, and fade in VCT Masters Reykjavik.
Note: FunPlus Phoenix, the No. 1 seed from Europe, haven't been allowed to the event due to sanctions against the Russian Federation. The team has been awarded $25,000 prize money and 200 VCT points, equivalent to a 7th-8th finish.
Players to Target
Derke has tested negative for COVID-19 and will be heading to Iceland with the rest of the Fnatic squad. This is a complete gamechanger for the team that many consider to be the best in the world. Despite finishing third in Europe, this team was dominant up until qualifying for Masters, and seemingly took their foot off the gas after qualifying. Derke is perhaps the most dominant player on the team and one of the best in the world. Derke has a 1.17 rating and 251 ACS in the previous three months, and opens his group against Ninjas in Pyjamas, a match Fnatic are favored to win.
Coming out of Korea, he's has always been underrated, but BuZz is a bona fide superstar, and this is a chance for him to show that on the world's biggest stage. DRX open the group stage against ZETA DIVISION, and BuZz, with a 1.26 rating, will be the most important player in the match. On the whole this should be a nail-biter for both sides, with BuZz and his defensive retinue of agents likely being a difference maker. Most impressively has been his Killjoy, a pick he has a 1.36 rating and 1.56 K/D on in the last three months. He also has 185 ADR on Killjoy, an absurd tally considering the lack of carry potential on the sentinel.
Keznit and KRU broke onto the international stage at VCT Champions 2021, the first ever World Championship, where KRU secured a fourth-place finish. At the event Keznit played 14 maps and ended with a 1.17 rating. That is better than Chronicle or zeek, the top two finishers for MVP voting in the event. Writing KRU or Keznit off as a minor region team and player will be a mistake. KRU open the tournament against Team Liquid, who didn't qualify to the event, but were brought in as a replacement for FunPlus Phoenix.
Players to Fade
I really hate doing this. Jamppi is a personal favorite, and one of the most exciting players in the world to watch, and has been ever since he was a young superstar on SJ Gaming in CS:GO. The numbers don't lie though. Jamppi hasn't even been mediocre lately, he has been abjectly awful. In the last three months, Jamppi has a 0.87 rating, 190 ACS and a 0.95 K/D, with only 0.68 kills per round. Against the star power of Keznit and Mazino it is exceedingly unlikely that Jamppi will be able to keep pace. Yet the only hope for Team Liquid is that Jamppi keeps pace, and more.
Call me a hater, say that I'm underrating North America, and I'll just laugh. 'North America is a major region!' sure they are, but they've yet to show anything in major international competition, and it's impossible to trust a team as inconsistent as OpTic Gaming. crashies is perhaps the best example of that. The support has a 0.98 rating and 192 ACS in the last three months in North American (read: easier) competition. In international competition it's hard to see him doing particularly well. Keep in mind, at VCT Champions 2021, this OpTic roster, then known as Envy lost to X10 Crit in a decisive group stage tie breaker. That X10 Crit roster has since been renamed to XERXIA... who OpTic play in Round 1.
crow is the support and utility agent for ZETA DIVISION, and while he is an absolutely crucial part to the way his team plays, he is definitely not a crucial part of any fantasy roster. crow has a 0.90 rating and 168 ACS in the last three months. His 111.96 ADR and 0.62 kills per round are equally disappointing, the positive for crow is his 1.17 K/D, meaning that he is very rarely a fantasy negative. The only issue is he has quite literally no upside, he simply doesn't have 'pop-off' games. crow and ZETA DIVISION open the tournament against DRX in Group A.