Should the best VALORANT teams from the previous Master's event automatically qualify for the next Challengers tournament?

Should the best VALORANT teams from the previous Master's event automatically qualify for the next Challengers tournament?
Screengrab via Riot Games

Some players and fans believe that the best teams are at a disadvantage.

The Sentinels dominated the VALORANT Champions Tour NA Masters One tournament last month and established themselves as the best team in North America. Many people expected the Sentinels to easily continue their winning streak in Stage Two, but the team was unable to qualify for the Challengers One event over the weekend.

The Sentinels are not the only Masters One team that also failed to qualify for the Challengers One event. FaZe Clan and Gen.G, the second and third placed teams in Masters One, also failed the open qualifiers for the Challengers event. One.

It is not uncommon for teams to fail to perform in back-to-back events, as other teams may improve and their strategies may become ineffective. But the fact that the top three teams in North America have not qualified for the next event is concerning to some players and has raised questions about whether the best teams are properly rewarded for their past performances.

Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan of the Sentinels has expressed his opinion on the best teams that deserve a reward or bonus for being the best in the previous Masters event and believes they are at a disadvantage against other rosters. It's unclear what advantage the top teams should receive from the latest Masters event, but some experts believe they should be given plenty of time to properly prepare.

The Sentinels began the VCT Stage Two Open Challengers Qualifier with three straight wins against lesser-known teams. The Masters One champions faced their first real challenge against Built By Gamers, who they defeated 2-0 in a one-sided series.

A significant disadvantage the Sentinels faced was not being able to prepare for their opponents by adapting or changing their strategy prior to the Challengers One event. The team spent most of the last few months competing in the Challengers tournaments and qualifiers to secure their place in the first tournament. Masters One. This left little time to study and observe the playing styles and strategies of other teams.

But other teams that failed to enter Masters One were able to watch the pre-tournament Challengers events. This meant they could go through all the games of the best teams and understand how to counter or defeat them in the second phase. ShahZaM explained this issue in a recent broadcast and talked about how it potentially affects a team's performance.

"Now these teams that have been sitting here watching Challengers One, Two and Three, watching Masters, they have all the time, and this is all they prepare for, you can't prepare for these teams," ShahZaM said. "That's why I made the argument about the open qualifiers, the teams that won in the big tournament a place ahead, so that they have a chance to prepare for the teams in the open qualifier as well."

ShahZaM also mentioned that there are no significant changes between Masters One and the first Stage Two Challengers event as it is still on the same patch. Teams can now use Astra in competitive play, but few teams have added the new agent to their comps.

However, this does not discredit the teams that beat the best teams, as they also feature some of the best players in the region. ShahZaM noted that his team lost important fights that they normally win and said he is confident they will come back strong in Challengers Two. But not being able to prepare for the same amount of time raises some concerns.

FaZe also won three games in Challengers One Open Qualifiers before being eliminated from Version 1. Gen.G suffered the same fate but was eliminated by Cloud9 Blue. These three teams proved to be the best in the region during Stage One, but a lack of preparation time compared to their opponents and poor performance prevented them from continuing their winning streak.

Skipping the first round of open qualifiers and qualifying immediately for the Challengers One main event seems like a relatively fair reward for a superior team from the previous stage. This would allow them to learn and adapt to other teams and reinvent themselves before fighting in multiple teams. But this raises the argument as to whether teams should receive a bonus.

100 Thieves, Envy, XSET and Immortals qualified for the first challenger tournament and were part of the eight teams in Masters One. Each of them faced talented teams in their fourth match of the playoffs, but still managed to pass the draw.

Seven of the eight teams from the European Masters One tournament qualified for the Challengers One event. Six of the eight final Brazilian teams made it to the Challengers One main event in the region, while seven of the eight teams from the CIS Masters One event qualified for the Challengers One tournament.

These regions had the same amount of time or less to prepare between the Masters One event and the Challengers One open qualifiers. There is not enough data to confirm that preparation time is the only factor impacting North American teams to make it through qualifiers. Stage Two openings, but teams from other regions have succeeded.

VALORANT's professional scene is still in its infancy and will likely continue to adapt and adjust. Successful teams from previous stages could be automatically placed at the next qualifying tournament in the future, or open qualifying tournaments could be modified to offer a card advantage or other bonus.

The winner of the previous Masters event must receive protection that prevents them from being eliminated in the open qualifiers for losing a single series. Automatic qualification for the next Challengers tournament would still force them to prove themselves in the main event, but they would have time to prepare during the open qualifiers.

Sentinels, FaZe and Gen.G have one more chance to qualify for the next Masters event. They will have a short period of inactivity to prepare and adjust their strategies before attempting to return to their dominant form.

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