Teams to watch in VCT NA Stage 3

Teams to watch in VCT NA Stage 3

Brandon "Mothman" Moore

6/30/2021, 6:24:36 PM

The VALORANT Champions Tour is already underway in a few regions. North America’s turn is soon approaching. There have been a ton of roster shakeups prior to VCT NA Stage 3. There are bound to be some massive surprises with the new meta and a clean slate for a lot of organizations. Of course, everyone expects the likes of Sentinels, 100 Thieves, and Team Envy to perform well. This is about the teams that are looking to take that one step further or finding themselves in a situation which raises some questions.

Here are Run It Back’s teams to watch in VCT NA Stage 3.

Teams to watch in VCT NA Stage 3

Cloud9 White

It is only a matter of time before Cloud9 White goes from dominating Game Changers events to placing high in other VALORANT Champions Tour tournaments. In VCT Game Changers Series 2, they once again swept through the Main Event bracket without dropping a single map. Making it out of the qualifier could require them to defeat Luminosity, Complexity, and Version1. Cloud9 White has shown nothing but improvement. If the first Challengers tournament isn’t a successful one, look for them to come back even stronger in Challengers 2.


XSET has been on the cusp of greatness for a long time. They have toppled giants and proved that they deserve to be in the Tier 1 NA conversation. They have some fresh faces on their roster with the signings of Rory “dephh” Jackson and Zachary “zekken” Patrone. Another Challengers Finals appearance is in XSET’s future. There’s no doubt about it. This team just needs to show they can still hang with the big dogs after a few roster changes. That shouldn’t be a problem.


TSM, now known as TSM FTX, was once a powerhouse team in North America. The meta changed, other teams gave themselves opportunities, and TSM has been quietly waiting in the shadows. Once they emerge from those shadows, will their fortune be altered? A ton has happened with TSM since we last saw them on top. They benched Stephen “reltuC” Cutler, are without Braxton “brax” Pierce, and have recently signed Sean “bang” Bezerra. There are plenty of unknowns as this team heads into VCT NA Stage 3. It would be nice to see them return to form, but they are going to need to have a few tricks up their sleeve.


Speaking of brax, the first ever VALORANT professional player is back home. After being released in February, T1 has acquired him from TSM for a reunion. T1 has made it to two previous Challengers Main Events only to exit them with nothing to show for their efforts. Has anything changed? This is one of those teams that every thought would take over the NA scene from the beginning. That chokehold on North America never materialized and T1 has fallen by the wayside. This is their chance to turn that around. At this point, they have to make it to Berlin.


Renegades are essentially the gatekeepers of Tier 2 NA VALORANT. They have been utterly dominant in monthly Nerd Street Gamers events. Out of their last seven, they took 1st every time but one. And that was a 2nd place finish in the Pittsburgh Knights Monthly Gauntlet of May. Justin “Jerk” Milani is the new face on the team and very well may be their new secret weapon. Renegades is more than ready to take on VCT NA Stage 3 and crash through the very gate that they guard. It is going to be exciting seeing them progress even further. In Challengers 1, they will potentially have to go through a familiar rival in Soniqs and everyone’s worst nightmare in Sentinels.

DarkZero Esports

DarkZero Esports is going to create some chaos as they enter VCT NA Stage 3. The organization has a huge presence in Rainbow Six and recently made the jump to VALORANT by acquiring Kooky Koalas. Fans may remember Kooky Koalas making it to the Stage 1: Challengers 3 Main Event after defeating SpaceStation Gaming, Built by Gamers, and beastcoast. They were bested by Luminosity and Gen.G, but showed immense promise. The players teased a signing for some time and when it was finally revealed to be DarkZero, the roster’s stock immediately skyrocketed. XSET and FaZe Clan could await them during the open qualifier. That is a perfect chance for DZ to let NA VALORANT know they have arrived.


The second of two teams to represent NA in Iceland is ready to make another international trip to Berlin. Why are they a team to watch after having a huge Stage 2? The team is coming out strong with stand-ins, that’s why. Maxim “wippie” Shepelev was unable to make the trip to Masters Reykjavik. This gave Jamal “jammyz” Bangash the opportunity of a lifetime and he had ran with it. Now, the former is back with the team, but another stand-in is needed. Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro was suspended for all of Challengers 1 after comments made in Iceland. V1 has announced that benched Luminosity player Brady “thief” Dever will be taking his place. There is no reason V1 doesn’t keep up their success, but there are always uncertainties with a substitute player. After a placement of 5th-6th at the last Masters, it truly seems like they can only go upward.

Stay tuned to Run It Back as the VALORANT Champions Tour continues!


Brandon "Mothman" Moore

Brandon is a long time gamer with a passion for writing. Combining the two has been a dream come true. He was Run It Back's official correspondent for First Strike NA and looks forward to covering the North American Valorant scene for a long time.