The VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) is back after a month-long hiatus.
The penultimate phase of the tour in Europe, Stage Three, starts today with the open qualifiers.
Hosted by Riot Games and Freaks 4U Gaming, the open qualifiers will feature 321 VALORANT teams—significantly more than Stage Two. The initial rounds will be played in a single-elimination format before switching over to double-elimination in the closed qualifiers.
The top eight teams from the open qualifiers will go on to play the eight invited teams in the closed qualifiers. When all is said and done, the top eight teams from the closed qualifiers will advance to the first main event in July.
Here’s how to watch the VCT Europe Stage Three open qualifiers.
Patch 3.0, KAY/O, and Breeze
On June 21, Riot confirmed the open and closed qualifiers will be played on VALORANT Patch 3.0, which includes sweeping changes to abilities and weapon prices—buffs to Skye, Breach, and the Operator, as well as nerfs to Jett, Raze, and the Judge.
Although KAY/O was introduced to the game in Patch 3.0, the agent will be disabled. As per rule 7.4.1 of the VCT global competition policy, he’ll be available to play again on July 22 for the second round of the open qualifiers on July 20.
Breeze, which was released on April 27, will be available to play for the first time in the open qualifiers. The map was initially disabled for VCT Masters Reykjavík but will be making its debut today. The pick/ban phase has been adjusted to compensate for the new addition.
Despite including over 300 teams, the VCT open qualifiers will be short and sweet.
The event starts today, June 28, and ends on June 30. The closed qualifiers begin a day later on July 1 and conclude on July 3.
Teams to watch
Most of the big-name rosters have already been locked into the closed qualifiers based on a number of factors, including their performance in previous stages of the VCT. But there are still a few notable teams to look out for in the open qualifiers.
HEET, Alliance, and Wave are established teams with the potential to go far in the tournament. None of them are clear favorites, but they shoudn’t be underestimated. They’re all respectable teams with competent players and coaching staff.
G2 and Heretics are favorites, though. The teams recently underwent roster reshuffles and traded players. Heretics arguably downgraded, losing a few of their star players. But G2 upgraded. The additions of nukkye, AvovA, and Koldamenta could make them a serious threat in Europe.
Where to watch
As always, matches can be found on VALORANT’s official Twitch channel. Not every game will be streamed, but a good portion of the matchups will be available. RyanCentral, Kaquka, Hypoc, John Allen, Geometric, Lothar, and MitchMan will also be streaming the event from their individual channels.