Valorant Champions 2023 Regional Preview: Best and Worst from Pacific

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Valorant Champions 2023 Regional Preview: Best and Worst from Pacific

Although the Pacific region used to garner the lowest expectations at tournaments like the Champions, the recent success of the teams, especially Paper Rex’s performance at Masters Tokyo, has made it into one of the favorites to root for at Valorant Champions 2023 


The third-ever Champions is taking place in Los Angeles with a huge prize pool of $2.25M, and for the first time, we are seeing franchised teams from the Americas, Pacific and EMEA participate in the tournament. Moreover, three squads from China will debut at Champions 2023, and we will witness 16 of the best names from the world go head to head in the most important Valorant event of the year. 

Before the event kicks off, here are our predictions on the best and worst teams from the Pacific region, including a list of the best players who will shine at the Champions. 

Credit: Riot Games

All Pacific Teams Valorant Champions 2023

  • Paper Rex
  • DRX
  • T1 
  • ZETA DIVISION

Paper Rex, DRX and T1 secured their Champions slots through the Pacific League event. ZETA DIVISION had to battle through the LCQ to arrive here. 

Although the Pacific region used to garner the lowest expectations at tournaments like the Champions, the recent success of the teams, especially Paper Rex’s performance at Masters Tokyo, has made it into one of the favorites amongst all the regions.

Now, let us delve into the details of each Pacific team participating in Valorant Champions 2023:

Paper Rex

  • Jason “f0rsakeN” Susanto
  • Khalish “d4v41” Rusyaidee
  • Aaron “mindfreak” Leonhart
  • Wang “Jinggg” Jing Jie
  • Ilya “something” Petrov 
  • Alexandre “alecks” Sallé (Head Coach)

Paper Rex made 2023 their finest year ever by winning the inaugural Pacific League with the Russian star something. Despite the absence of their talented player from Masters Tokyo, the Singaporeans performed admirably with their replacement. Their entire roster and strength will make them a formidable force in California. 

DRX

  • Kim “stax” Gu-taek (IGL)
  • Goo “Rb” Sang-min
  • Kim “Zest” Gi-seok
  • Byung-chul “BuZz” Yu
  • Kim “MaKo” Myeong-kwan 
  • Seon-ho “termi” Pyeon (Head Coach)

The previous Pacific region kings enjoyed a successful regular season in the Pacific League. However, their streak of excellent performance did not continue after that, as they kept switching between their 6th player and Zest. Concerning the Champions, we believe that the South Koreans have resolved these concerns and are set to resume their spectacular performance. 

T1

  • Son “xeta” Seon-ho (IGL)
  • Byeon “Munchkin” Sang-beom
  • Joseph “ban” Seungmin Oh
  • Ha “Sayaplayer” Jung-woo 
  • Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok
  • Yoon “Autumn” Eu-teum (Head Coach)
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T1 earned enormous success after transferring territories from North America to South Korea, but not enough to make their name in history. Bringing major upsets to Champions will be their opportunity to draw more attention to the outstanding group. This lineup failed to make the Masters Playoffs, winning only one match against EDG. Aside from EG, they will have significantly easier opponents in the Group Stage this time around.

ZETA DIVISION

  • Koji “Laz” Ushida (IGL)
  • Tomoaki “crow” Maruoka
  • Yuma “Dep” Hashimoto
  • Shota “SugarZ3ro” Watanabe
  • Tenta “TENNN” Asai
  • Hibiki “XQQ” Motoyama (Head Coach)

While ZETA was unable to compete in their home country's Masters tournament, they advanced to the Champions owing to their LCQ victory. As we saw at Masters Reykjavik, ZETA DIVISION is no stranger to upsetting the competition by defeating big names. Furthermore, after an unbeaten run in the Pacific LCQ, the Japanese team is primed to make waves at the Champions. 

Best Pacific Players at Valorant Champions 2023

The following are the must-watch Pacific players in Valorant Champions 2023:

Ilya “something” Petrov – Paper Rex

  • Role: Duelist
  • VLR Rating: 1.24
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 265.0
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.39
  • Kill/Assist/Survived/Traded: 75%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 168.8
  • Headshot Percentage: 22%

Fans of Paper Rex were met with a harsh reality at Masters Tokyo, as the team's new talent was unable to compete owing to visa concerns. Fortunately, he will make his worldwide debut at the Champions, and we are anticipating a fantastic performance from the 21-year-old.

He was the top player in the VCT Pacific, with a VLR rating of 1.22 for the whole tournament. He also symbolizes a real PRX player, as we've seen him prevail with unconventional choices like Reyna vs DRX in the Pacific League Grand Final. 

Goo “Rb” Sang-min – DRX

  • Role: Flex
  • VLR Rating: 1.05
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 216.0
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.14
  • Kill/Assist/Survived/Traded: 73%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 135.1
  • Headshot Percentage: 24%

Rb is one of the few players on the Global stage that can play nearly any role or agent. His adaptability lets DRX play comfortably with any agent composition, and he can also frag out. 

Rb shone in the Masters with a 1.09 VLR rating, the most among his colleagues, despite not having the best scores at VCT Pacific. 

Koji “Laz” Ushida – ZETA DIVISION

  • Role: Flex
  • VLR Rating: 1.11
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 226.1
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.21
  • Kill/Assist/Survived/Traded: 72%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 143.6
  • Headshot Percentage: 28%

Despite having had a very unremarkable year so far, this 27-year-old Japanese player's performance in the LCQ helped ZETA DIVISION to secure their Champions spot. If you recall, Laz and SugarZ3ro were the ZETA heroes at Masters Reykjavik last year, and they helped Japan become a serious candidate for VCT. We anticipate an identical performance in Los Angeles this year.

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Laz's form wasn't the finest at VCT Pacific, but he made a strong recovery at the LCQ with a 1.13 VLR rating, making him the top member of the lineup. 

Ha “Sayaplayer” Jung-woo – T1

  • Role: Duelist
  • VLR Rating: 1.06
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 224.4
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.13
  • Kill/Assist/Survived/Traded: 71%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 144.7
  • Headshot Percentage: 26%

The former Duelist player for The Guard began his professional career in North America with T1. In October 2022, he rejoined his previous team, which had relocated to Sayaplayer's native country of South Korea. The South Korean player has been a steady excellent member in command of Jett and Raze during his stint with The Guard, even helping his squad win OpTic Gaming in the North American VCT Challengers' Grand Final, earning them a berth in Masters Reykjavik in 2022. 

Valorant Champions 2023 – Pacific Teams Predictions

We have seen a stronger side from Pacific teams this year, from DRX’s performance at LOCK//IN to Paper Rex securing the #3 ranking at Masters Tokyo. Therefore, for the first time in a Champions event, the Pacific region is one of the favorites of the event, and here are our front runners and underdogs –

Front Runners

  • Paper Rex: Top 2
  • DRX: Top 4

Paper Rex are undoubtedly the best roster at the Champions, as they have enjoyed massive success this year after getting the Russian talent something on their lineup. Even with the star player missing in Tokyo, PRX were still able to show a strong look with their substitute player, which speaks of the individual skill of all the members. Even though they failed to make the Grand Final at the Masters, we believe they can do it this time with the complete squad attending the event.

If we were talking about the best Pacific teams back in the Regular Season of the VCT League, DRX would be the first pick, as they enjoyed a dominant 8-1 run before the Playoffs. However, after losing to Paper Rex in the Grand Final, the South Koreans are still waiting to return to their glory, and Champions 2023 seems to be the perfect opportunity. Sadly, we think the semifinal curse will haunt DRX again, but they will likely secure the top 4 spots.

Underdogs

  • ZETA DIVISION: Top 8
  • T1: Top 16

ZETA’s run at the LCQ shows signs of hope for the Japanese team, and we are ready to put them above T1 to secure the Playoffs. On the other hand, the second South Korean roster of the event will likely face an early exit, as per our Group Stage predictions.

Valorant Champions 2023 Regional Preview: Best and Worst from EMEA

Credit: Riot Games

Valorant Champions 2023 Regional Preview: Best and Worst from Pacific
Najib R
Who knew combining a love for cheesy one-liners and Valorant would lead to a writing career?