NRG to Take Down KOI, Giants to Get First Blood: George’s VCT LOCK//IN Predictions for Day One

We have another international VALORANT event after a long wait filled with squad changes and off-season events. Today, one of the tournament favourites, NRG, will play KOI in the opening round, while Giants will play DetonatioN FocusMe. Two of these teams will be eliminated after just one game because the bracket uses a single elimination system; this is cruel.


The first match of the day is EMEA team KOI facing off against North America’s NRG at 11am CT.

I expect NRG to take the victory. Not only are they considered one of the best teams based on scrim results in the region—some players told Dot Esports—but the team have added a winning piece to the puzzle.

When the team disbanded following OpTic Gaming’s failure to secure a partnership with Riot Games to take part in the Americas international league last year, the second-best team in the world at the time was practically forced to depart the organization if they wanted to compete at the highest level in 2023.

The core stuck it out; in-game leader FNS, Crashies, Victor, and head coach Chet, by joining NRG. The heavy hitters for the team, however, in Marved and yay, were missing. One player from the former NRG roster, s0m, kept his place on the team, likely as a smokes player, while NRG looked to EMEA to recruit a new duelist.

Enter Ardiis, a Masters-winning superstar who elevated the FunPlus Phoenix roster to new heights. I believe Ardiis is the key piece to the NRG puzzle. Prior to Chamber’s introduction to the competitive meta, Ardiis was usually on Jett (or rarely initiator duty), an agent that has made its return to the meta following the Chamber nerfs. He’s got big shoes to fill, but if Jett is on the menu, Ardiis can make it work.

KOI, on the other hand, put together a group of known talent in the EMEA region.

The team are entirely new from start to finish, and I suspect that a few months of practice together will not be enough to take down a core that is one of the most successful in VALORANT history. But stranger things have happened.

George’s prediction: 2-1 NRG

Giants vs. DetonatioN FocusMe

The second match of the tournament will be EMEA team Giants facing off against DetonatioN FocusMe at 2pm CT.

I’m going to call this one a mid-off.

Giants are a strong team, featuring the likes of former G2 star nukkye alongside former Gen.G player rhyme. I don’t suspect they are the best team in the region, but they aren’t too far away from the bottom.

DetonatioN FocusMe, on the other hand, look pretty mediocre. They failed to win a map against Paper Rex, Fnatic, or DRX at the ONE Pro Invitational in December. If you can’t hang with the big boys, you need to prove you can beat the middle of the pack, at least.

Giants are likely the favorite to take this one since they feature some quality players from EMEA. Plus, a potential matchup against KOI in the next round (albeit extremely unlikely) would definitely add fuel to a regional rivalry.

George’s prediction: 2-0 Giants

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