Considered the most prestigious event in the world of VALORANT, the VALORANT Champions is about to get underway for only the second time.
On Wednesday, the VCT Champions begins in Istanbul in Turkey with the group phase and it features the best 16 teams from across the world.
The teams involved this year hail from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), North America (NA), Latin America (LATAM), Asia Pacific (APAC), Brazil, South Korea, Japan and China.
They have qualified for the VCT Champions through either an accumulation of circuit points or courtesy of their performance in a Last Chance Qualifier event and will now be looking to make their mark on the biggest stage in the Esport.
The group phase features the 16 teams divided across four groups with the top two in each advancing to the double-elimination playoffs.
From there, the remaining sides will battle it out for top spot and the lion's share of a prize pool yet to be confirmed.
VALORANT VCT Champions 2022
Volkswagen Arena, Istanbul
Wednesday August 31st 2022 - Sunday September 18th 2022
|How to watch:|
VALORANT VCT Youtube / Twitch channels
LOUD +300, FunPlus Phoenix +375, Paper Rex +450, Fnatic +550, OpTic Gaming +600
While there are some attractive outright selections for the VALORANT VCT Champions, there is also value to be had betting on which team wins each group and Paper Rex look the most likely to come out on top in Group A.
The standout side in the APAC region, Paper Rex recorded 1050 circuit points to qualify for this event after decent showings in the Stage 1 Masters Reykjavik and the Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen.
They made the top four in both events but it was in Copenhagen where they really shone, reaching the Grand Final in which they pushed FunPlus Phoenix close in a 3-2 defeat.
They have a 33-4 VCT record in 2022 and although they did not win a major event this year, their aggressive playing style should carry them far in this tournament and they are at least worth a bet at +100 to win Group A, which also features Team Liquid, Edward Gaming and Leviatan.
It is set to be a two-way tussle in Group B with LOUD, who are -110 to win the group, and OpTic Gaming, who are +110, expected to fight it out for top spot.
That seems fair given that the group is completed by a ZETA side who are set to be missing injured talent Tenta "TENNN" Asai and a BOOM Esports outfit who are still finding their feet and qualified through the APAC Last Chance Qualifier.
OpTic Gaming and LOUD were the finalists at the Stage 1 Masters Reykjavik earlier this year and it was OpTic who prevailed 3-0 in that final to take the title.
OpTic have also looked the better team since, making the upper bracket final in the Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen, whereas LOUD were dumped out of the group with a 0-2 record.
With that in mind, opt for OpTic at +110 to win Group B.
FunPlus Phoenix are the pick of the teams in Group C at -200 to top the section, but they have got bigger fish to fry and look the best outright pick at +375.
They looked unstoppable in the Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen, putting together a barnstorming lower-bracket run to make the final, in which they defeated Paper Rex 3-2.
They are now looking to do what no team has done before and win two international events in the world of VALORANT.
They are more than capable of doing so, having been strengthened by the addition of Dmitry "SUYGETSU" Ilyushin earlier in the year, and after many of their players were at one stage struggling with visa issues, they have one of the best stories of 2022.
There are teams with better records than FunPlus Phoenix (30-8) but they have won seven of their nine Masters matches this year and have gone from strength to strength.
LOUD just were not convincing enough at the last Masters event in Copenhagen and FunPlus Phoenix are the better bet to go the distance and win the 2022 VCT Champions.
As for Group D, Fnatic, spearheaded by Nikita "Derke" Sirmitev, look the best bet to top the section at +125 ahead of DRX, who are +162 to win the group.