This article is part of our VALORANT series.
VCT is back for Stage 2 with reigning champions OpTic Gaming back in action in North America while Europe looks to consolidate rosters after a disappointing first split. Here's a look at some players to target, and to fade in VCT 2022 Stage 2.
Players to Target
Fnatic finally have their superstar Finn back after missing him at VCT Masters due to a positive COVID-19 test. It might be easy to overlook just how good Derke was in the first stage of VCT, but he is arguably the best player in Europe and the world. Fnatic come into Stage 2 with something to prove and Derke will be looking to remind everyone that he has a 1.26 rating and 267 ACS over the past three months. With nerfs to Chamber many snipers will be hamstrung heading into Stage 2 but not Derke. The Flying Finn has only played Raze and Jett in the last three months, with both agents still among the top meta picks currently. Derke opens VCT Stage 2 against reigning EMEA champions FunPlus Phoenix.
VCT EMEA truly is back with Chronicle's name back in these articles and surprise surprise, it's back in blue. M3 Champions failed to qualify for VCT Masters but to overlook the out-of-server issues impacting this team would be ignorant to the extreme. This is a group of five Russian Federation players who have lost their organizational backing and are dealing with issues far beyond that of VALORANT. The fact that they were among the top teams in EMEA is laudable though on talent many would expect this to be the best team in the world. If they can perform at their best then Chronicle and co. should be the top team in EMEA and primed to take the VCT Masters Stage 2 title. Chronicle in particular was disappointing during the Stage 1 playoffs, but his overall level is so high it's impossible to not trust him, at least for Week 1 of Stage 2.
The Guard had an awful, no good, very bad time at VCT Masters Reykjavik. There's no denying that. But it was also trent's first major LAN, and he has consistently shown his level is among the best in the world in other matches. We're not ready to give up on him just yet, and you shouldn't be either. trent was absolutely dominant in the Stage 1 playoffs, and consistently put up numbers over a 1.20 rating. In the past six months trent is averaging a 1.23 rating on Sova, some of the most ridiculous numbers in North America. trent and The Guard are coming into Stage 2 with a chip on their shoulders, and look like top fantasy options.
Players to Fade
G2 may have been the top European hope at VCT Masters, but Meddo just isn't worth trusting for fantasy purposes. He's a strong Sentinel player, with his Killjoy in particular being tough to match, but that doesn't make Meddo worth putting in many fantasy rosters. His slower more conservative style often leaves him lacking on engagements and is big reason he averages a 0.99 rating over the past three months. G2 is a strong team, but Meddo is best left out of fantasy rosters while he is saddled with the Sentinel duty.
Ghost Gaming have qualified for VCT Stage 2 and that's worth plaudits on it's own. That does not mean you should start throwing aproto and co. in your fantasy rosters. aproto has a 1.12 rating over the last three months, but a 1.06 rating during his time in professional VALORANT and is generally saddled on Viper and Astra for Ghost. With an ADR hovering around 135 and only 208 ACS against lower-tier competition it's entirely possible that aproto falls off individually in Stage 2 of VCT North America. aproto could move himself out of this category with some strong Week 1 play, but until he shows it on the big stage it's impossible to trust him as a fantasy asset.
Ah 'players to fade' the home of in-game leaders and Sentinel players. Here's a two-for-one with dephh, an in-game leading Sentinel player. Over the past three months dephh has a 0.95 rating and an ACS well under 200 (188.35). With numbers like those there's not much explaining to be done as to why he isn't a fantasy option. dephh and XSET are a good match and dephh in particular can temper the young superstars such as Zekken, but 'calming presence' still doesn't award fantasy points. XSET should be among the top finishers in Stage 2 if they can buid on their form from the first stage of VCT North America.
Stats courtesy of TheSpike.gg