The VALORANT Champions Tour has been a great way for relatively unknown teams to win their way to fame. XSET did exactly that in VCT Stage 1, and Built By Gamers -- their first opponent in this weekend’s Stage 2 Challengers 1 closed qualifier -- is trying to do the same.
XSET made a name for themselves in Stage 1 with wins over FaZe Clan and Luminosity Gaming at Challengers 2 that allowed them to qualify for Masters. After surprising many by making it to Masters, they had a disappointing showing at the tournament. XSET lost to FaZe Clan in their first match and then lost to Gen.G in the losers bracket. As it turned out, both Gen.G and FaZe Clan finished among the top three at Masters.
While their matchups may have been the reason for an early downfall, the team doesn’t believe that the opponent matters more than their own gameplay. The team has been focusing on their own gameplay as they prepare for another run at Masters.
“The biggest thing we’re going to work on is comms and fundamentals,” Bryce “PureR” Lovell said. “I think we’re always working on those, obviously, but I don’t think we’ve nailed it down 100%. I think we’re going to take it a little bit slower and try to read the enemy more, because sometimes we get overzealous and confident that we’re going to take a space or take a site, and then we get hit.”
A big aspect of VALORANT is predicting what a team will do in any given situation, and the more predictable the team, the easier it is to defeat. FaZe Clan is a great example of being unpredictable. Not only does Andrej “babybay” Francisty fly around the map as Jett and take fights that his opponents didn’t think he would take, but the team is also set up in a way that allows for those plays to happen.
“A lot of times we’re very predictable in how we play,” Matthew “Wedid” Suchan said. “We’re definitely going to learn from that for future tournaments. Most teams don’t even leave a site because they know we’re going to re-hit because we don’t show any presence on the other side of the map, and that’s definitely something we’re going to change moving forward.”
Although the team admitted that they have some things to work on, they still think it’s just a matter of time before they win a major tournament.
“I think it’s crazy that we picked up a new player, won a tournament with him, and he’s adapting very well into our playstyle and everything,” Wedid said reflecting on the team’s win at the NSG X Complexity Invitational in January after picking up Brendan “BcJ” Jensen. “Communication is getting better, that’s for sure.”
The team they happened to beat in the grand final of the NSG x Complexity Invitational is the same team they’ll face to open up this weekend’s closed qualifier: Built By Gamers.
Built By Gamers competed in VCT Stage 1, but never made it to a closed qualifier. During both Challengers 1 and Challengers 2 they finished one win short of qualifying for the closed qualifier. They lost to Sentinels in Challengers 1, and FaZe Clan ended their run in Challengers 2.
In a surprising turn of events in Challengers Stage 2 qualifiers, BBG beat Sentinels and Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, fresh off of their Stage 1 Masters win.
BBG recently have made two additions that are obviously working well for them. Mike “pho” Panza was benched by the team, and BBG brought on two new players on a trial basis, Raymond “Rarkar” Xu and Jake “POACH” Brumleve. Both have taken a spot on the active roster, making Rob “rob-wiz” Kennedy their sub.
XSET will face a BBG squad coming in off the high of beating Sentinels. Fans have been wondering if the match was a fluke on Sentinels’ part, or if Built By Gamers’ newest additions are what the team was missing for success. The winner of their matchup will be one step closer to qualifying for the Challengers Finals.
The top four finishers from both Challengers 1 and Challengers 2 will compete in the Challengers Finals, where the top two teams out of the eight that qualify will punch their ticket to Iceland to play at Stage 2 Masters.
Lead image credit: Riot Games