VALORANT Champions Group B Preview
11/28/2021, 3:28:54 PM
This is it. This is what we have all been waiting for. The entire VALORANT Champions Tour of 2021 is ready to culminate with the most hyped international tournament the game has seen thus for. The event is going to determine the best of the best and that team could very well be found in Champions Group B.
Make sure to check out our comprehensive preview of VALORANT Champions Group A, where we compared key players for each of the teams.
Teams have been split into four groups with massive firepower in each one. None may have more eyes on it in Berlin than Champions Group B, however. It will see Sentinels, KRÜ Esports, Team Liquid, and FURIA Esports fight to determine two teams that will advance to the single-elimination playoff bracket.
Sentinels ran rampant through the world of VALORANT for quite some time. They finally showed signs of mortality after losing to Team Envy at Masters Berlin. If anything, that just made them even scarier. With the pressure of an international loss off of their shoulders, Sentinels should be ready to make it through Champions Group B and deep into the playoff portion.
The addition of Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty as their coach will do nothing but take them to new heights. It gives Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan and the rest of the team time to focus on the game itself. That makes them dangerous, but we know anything can happen in VALORANT. Expect Sentinels to perform well. Don’t be surprised if we see an upset, though. The rest of these teams are at Champions for a reason.
The LATAM region has been at the mercy of KRÜ Esports since they entered VALORANT on January 12, 2021. With appearances at both Masters Reykjavik and Masters Berlin, the team was a certainty for Champions with Circuit Points. Masters Berlin saw vast improvements from the team and their fans only hope for that upward trend to continue.
KRÜ Esports has some serious players with the likes of Angelo “keznit” Mori and Juan Pablo “NagZ” Lopez Miranda. If anybody underestimates them, they are going to be in a world of hurt. The LATAM squad has a chance to really prove themselves with a first round battle against Team Liquid. It is a rematch from the bout that sent them packing in Iceland. It is now or never for them to step up to the plate and drive one out of the park in Champions Group B.
Team Liquid has kept busy since the previously mentioned contest against KRÜ Esports. TL has proven to be a juggernaut in the EMEA region with some absolute superstars on the roster. Highlighted by the brothers Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom and Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom, Team Liquid rolled through the EMEA Last Chance Qualifier. They followed that up with an insane outing during the second ever Red Bull Home Ground.
It will be a tough task to keep pace with the rest of Champions Group B and the other EMEA representatives. There’s Acend, FNATIC, and of course the Masters Berlin victors, Gambit Esports. If anyone can do it, though, it is the most locked in version of this Team Liquid you can get. They’ll need to be as focused as ever to make it to the playoffs. If they do, look out everyone else.
The South America Last Chance Qualifier pit some of the best teams coming from Brazil and the different Latin American regions against each other. It was truly a toss up going into it, but FURIA Esports clawed their way to the finish line after dropping their first Group Stage series. That was to Australs, the team they would go on to sweep in the Grand Final.
If they can make that kind of adjustment, imagine what we’ll see from them in the Champions Group B. This will be the first taste of international VALORANT that FURIA has had. On LAN nonetheless. This team will need some massive plays from its IGL Agustin “Nozwerr” Ibarra and top fragger Alexandre “xand” Zizi. No doubt they are the dark horse. They should take that label with pride and show us what they’ve got come Champions.
Champions Group B will kick off with that rematch between KRÜ Esports and Team Liquid on Day 2. It will be immediately followed by the second opening series of the group as Sentinels takes on FURIA Esports.
Our Group A preview showcased the match up between Jett players. This preview is going to focus on the in-game leaders going head to head. Typically, you will see an IGL give way to a Duelist or other player who shines and is considered the star of the team. Each of these Group B rosters has more than one superstar and it is safe to say the IGL is one for each.
Each IGL is unique and brings their own playstyle to VALORANT. One thing they all share in common, though, is the ability to keep their team from crumbling by making the right calls and doing their part as a versatile player.
Let’s start with Nicolas “Klaus” Ferrari vs. Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen. The KRÜ Esports IGL played both Killjoy and Sova during Masters Berlin, opting for the latter more frequently. For TL, Jamppi is most often seen on Sova, but played five different Agents throughout Red Bull Home Ground #2. We know TL shares play calling duties at times, but we opted for Jamppi here as he is the IGL on paper (according to Liquipedia).
We will be looking at some stats that would come from the IGL, the teams’ attack speeds and defending round performances, along with their personal K/D ratio. For these two, the stats are taken from Masters Berlin for Klaus and the EMEA LCQ for Jamppi.
KRÜ Esports’ attack speed during Masters Berlin.
Team Liquid’s attack speed during the EMEA LCQ.
It is easy to see that KRÜ Esports plants much later more often, but are capable of pulling out quick kills to get an early plant down. The LATAM team is quite middle of the road when it comes to their defensive capabilities, however. It doesn’t help that Klaus had a K/D less than one. Hopefully he made some adjustments to the team’s defensive setups or it will be another short outing against international talent.
Team Liquid have some of the most impressive stats here. Looking at the attack speed, they seem to play a bit slower. The majority of their plants go down a minute or later into a round and they start racking up plenty of kills as they take sites. When it came to defensive success at the EMEA LCQ, Haven was their only issue. Bind was even, but they performed admirably everywhere else. Especially on Ascent. Then, of course, Jamppi himself had a nice 1.54 K/D.
All signs point to Team Liquid picking KRÜ Esports apart.
Up next is Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan vs. Agustin “Nozwerr” Ibarra. Again we see two in-game leaders who put a lot of time into Sova. Of course, ShahZaM spends plenty of his time on Jett, too. Nozwerr gets his time on a Duelist in, as well, with a Raze pick here and there.
Again, take a look at the attack speeds of both teams, defending round performance, and individual K/D ratio of the in-game leaders. The stats for ShahZaM are also from Masters Berlin while those for Nozwerr come from the SA LCQ.
Sentinels’ attack speed during Masters Berlin.
FURIA Esports’ attack speed during the SA LCQ.
Sentinels take out players very early into the round. Nearly 25 pre-plant kills came within 15 seconds. Aside from that, you can see their planting strategy is pretty spread out. They have an almost straight line across the graph after 30 seconds have passed. When it comes to defense, Sentinels struggled on Icebox during Masters Berlin. Every other map they played was a solid effort. Who knows what they’ll bring to the table with a coach in place and ShahZaM‘s focus on the game? That 1.11 K/D could shoot way up.
The SA LCQ winners have quite the trend going with their attacking speed. It may depend on the moment, but by the looks of it, Nozwerr leads the team to planting either pretty early or pretty late. There is a huge dip between 35 seconds into the round and 65 seconds into the round. That might give some knowledge into their mid-map pace changes. Like KRÜ Esports, they don’t have the best defensive stats. They’ll be relying on Nozwerr to repeat that 1.33 K/D against a brand new set of teams in Champions Group B and preparing a perfect attack strategy. That’s where they shine.
Another hot match between NA and Brazil is coming no matter the outcome.
Stay tuned to Run It Back for all the Champions coverage you could possibly need!
Brandon "Mothman" Moore
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