The final qualifier for a spot at the first Masters tournament of the year is on the line this weekend and many teams are in the hunt for the last four slots.
Masters qualification is on the line this weekend and only four of the eight teams at the Challengers Three tournament will make the cut. The field at this last-chance event is crowded with veteran teams that have yet to make it because of surprise roadblocks and new teams that have shocked North America with their skill.
Every team at the event has a chance to qualify, but some have more interesting narratives than others. Here are three storylines to watch at this tournament.
100 Thieves and Ethan
The most immediate news ahead of this tournament is Ethan "Ethan" Arnold joining up with 100 Thieves, in the stead of Quan "Dicey" Tran. Nabbing a talent like Ethan from Counter-Strike is a story in its own right. But slotting the player in a week before the last qualifier for a major tournament is a huge narrative.
The team has looked like it needed a change, especially after dropping out of the last two qualifier events, but the timing of the change may be detrimental to its qualifying efforts. Ethan has not had much time to practice with the team. And there are still plenty of strong teams that have not yet qualified for Masters that could knock 100 Thieves, and its inexperienced new rifler, out of the tournament series again.
TSM vs Gen.G First Match
TSM has also had a rough go of the first leg of the Valorant Champions Tour. The team has failed to make it to the two Challengers events before this tournament and has struggled in terms of agent roles and personal form. The team barely missed out on a Challengers Two appearance, denied in the final qualification match by Gen.G.
While Gen.G did not do anything of note at Challengers Three, going 0-2 in matches and getting knocked out immediately, the team did leave a bruise on TSM that may be returned in kind. The two teams matchup in the first round and both teams have something to prove going into the event and match itself.
The Legend of DaHoonkaBhanKoloos
Valorant esports is still maintaining its new title status this tournament with an amateur squad, DaHoonkaBhanKoloos, making the cut for Challengers Three. The event will be the newly minted team’s third event ever, following the qualification tournament and a Vanguard Champion Series appearance.
While the team may be new, the players are not. Andy “Andersin” Collins, Adam “Ange” Milian and Kyle “ScrewFace” Jensen have all bounced around the amateur and tier two scene of North America for a little bit and have been a part of other notable unsponsored teams in the past. Expectations for this squad are low, especially since its first matchup is against Luminosity Gaming. But DaHoonkaBhanKoloos should be a good litmus test for the North American region as a whole.
The team’s participation in Challengers Three should help gauge how far behind other amateur, and tier two, teams are compared to tier one teams with huge organizational backing.