The sun is shining bright on North American VALORANT. Eight teams have emerged in an exhausting, upset-riddled open qualifier to reach the main event of NA VCT Stage Three: Challengers One. These teams will run through a double-elimination bracket over four days, with the top four securing a spot in the NA Challengers playoffs in August. A total of $50,000 will also be on the line at Challengers One.
In the open qualifier, upsets dominated the final two of the bracket. Top-seeded teams like TSM, FaZe Clan, Cloud9 Blue, NRG, and Immortals all fell in either the round of 32 or the round of 16. This has resulted in a couple unfamiliar faces in the Challengers pool, Rise and Kansas City Pioneers. Rise, consisting of several former Dignitas players, stunned C9 Blue 2-0 in the final qualifier round with stellar play on Astra from supamen. In the same qualifying round, Kansas City and VIRTUOSO met after they each knocked off Immortals and NRG, respectively, with the Pioneers pushing through just a week after forming.
Outside of the top teams that were upset and the two new faces, the rest of the field is quite familiar to NA VALORANT viewers. Both Masters representatives Sentinels and V1 took advantage of their byes to qualify, although Sentinels had to fight back from a 1-0 deficit after dropping Icebox to Soniqs—their first map loss since the Stage Two NA Challengers Finals. They weren’t the only team that had to work for their win. XSET won a hard-fought three-map series against DarkZero, who had just knocked FaZe out of the qualifier. Envy had to come back from trailing map two after losing map one to T1. 100 Thieves had to work to make it past a Noble team that had just upset TSM.
The qualifier showed that the North American region has gotten deeper, and that the top teams now have to work harder to keep their position. The teams that survived the qualifier now move on to the main event.
- XSET Gaming
- Team Envy
- 100 Thieves
- Gen.G Esports
- Kansas City Pioneers
Bracket and Schedule
- 4pm CT: Upper bracket quarterfinals
- 100 Thieves 2-0 Version1 (19-17 Icebox, 13-5 Haven)
- Team Envy 2-0 Kansas City Pioneers (13-9 Haven, 13-11 Ascent)
- 6:30pm CT: Upper bracket quarterfinals
- XSET 2-1 Rise (XSET 13-4 Icebox, Rise 13-5 Split, XSET 13-4 Ascent)
- Sentinels 2-1 Gen.G (Gen.G 13-11 Bind, Sentinels 13-7 Icebox, Sentinels 13-9 Haven)
- 9pm CT: Lower bracket round one
- Kansas City Pioneers 2-1 Version1 (V1 13-7 Split, KCP 13-10 Ascent, KCP 13-9 Icebox)
- Rise 1-2 Gen.G (Rise 13-8 Split, Gen.G 13-9 Icebox, Gen.G 13-4 Bind)
- 4pm CT: Upper bracket semifinals
- 6:30pm CT: Lower bracket round two
- 2pm CT: Upper bracket final
- 4:30pm CT: Lower bracket round three
- Sentinels 2-0 Envy (13-8 Breeze, 13-7 Bind)
- 7pm CT: Lower bracket final
- Sentinels 2-0 100 Thieves (15-13 Haven, 13-8 Breeze)