The upcoming VALORANT League is set to begin in two weeks and with the initial Kick-Off event up first, the hype is real. Fans from all around the world are anticipating the start of the league and while we have already we have seen the competitive VALORANT begin in 2023, mainly through the VCT Challengers League Split tournaments, the LOCK//In event is said to be the first event to simply act as a teaser for the league as a whole.
Sentinels vs. Fnatic
Back in 2021, this matchup was highly anticipated and one which led to the livestream chat going bonkers. This was due to the massive debate about which region was the best, Europe or North America. Well, after nearly 2 years, we are about to see these two titans face off once again. There have been various changes made to each team's roster since their last matchup in the VCT Masters Reykjavik, where fnatic lost in a clean sweep 3-0. Since that game, the only player who is left on the roster for Sentinels is TenZ, while for fnatic both Derke and Boaster remain.
This is touted to be an incredibly close matchup and could be considered a coin toss. One thing to note, however, is that the Sentinels roster have played together this year against various North American teams in a professional environment. This could lead to the team having more practice and coordination before entering the tournament. For fnatic, they already have an idea of what role each player from Sentinels will be playing in. What one can expect for sure is that Boaster will be out for revenge this time, being defeated twice by their North American rivals in the past will have lit a fire in his heart for revenge.
Cloud9 vs. Paper Rex
The next fixture that fans are eagerly waiting for is the match between Cloud9 and Paper Rex. Paper Rex in the past have been a force from APAC and certainly a team to watch out for. They are mainly known for their unique strategies as well as line-ups. Cloud9 provides the "new kids on the block" vibe with their roster. While they have quite a stacked team, to say the least, with the likes of leaf, Xeppaa and yay, who are known for their incredible style of play in the game. Everyone is excited for the return of yay a main VALORANT tournament, desperately wanting to see "El Diablo" back on the server to cause some chaos with the Operator.
The advantage of Paper Rex is their team chemistry. The likes of Benkai, Jinggg and f0rsakeN have been together for a while now, with no roster changes since the last major VCT Champions tournament. Paper Rex is the team who have played the most amount of games together as a team in professional VALORANT. With the talent in hand between both rosters, this match is certain to be a cracking spectacle.
Koi vs. NRG-Esports
This game in the eyes of many casuals would be just a one-off but in my opinion, the game between Koi and NRG has the chance to steal the show. Taking a look at Koi, they are the new organization in the VALORANT franchising league, their roster consists of players from various nations around Europe. They have a Swedish head coach in BARBARR, who was previously the coach for Guild Esports, and due to their minimal presence from the previous tournaments and the talent each of the players on the roster has, Koi will be one of the teams to watch at the Lock//IN event.
NRG is a name that is familiar to most from the VALORANT Industry and having a look at their roster, they have the famous and familiar core of Victor FNS and crashies from OpTic. The additions of ardiis and s0m as well as thwifo have also improved their team. The one major thing to note is that the older OpTic core did play in a manner that supported yay and allowed him to play at his highest level. The major task at hand for NRG is to ensure that each of the players can blend their strengths and cover their weaknesses in order to be a top team in VALORANT
Tournament Format for VALORANT Champions Tour LOCK//IN
The format for the Lock//In event has been a point of contention as it is one of direct elimination. This tournament style has confused many fans around the world mainly due to the fact that teams who lose their first games will be instantly eliminated. As such their visit to Brazil immediately ends following a loss. The reasoning given by Riot for this tournament bracket is that they wanted to focus on international matchups. While in the main tournament, fans will be able to see teams from various nations battle it out. During the Lock//In, they want to make sure the fans can see different playstyles from various regions against the others.