5 players to watch at VCT Masters Copenhagen

Declan Mclaughlin
DRX Zest before VCT Masters Copenhagen
Lance Skundrich/Riot Games

Valorant Champions Tour Masters Copenhagen is set to begin July 10 with the groups stage as eight teams battle for a shot at playoffs and the right to play against the four top seeded squads. The VCT major event has many returning players, but some teams and players are making their first appearances as well.

While there are obvious favorites, like EMEA’s Fnatic and Brazil’s LOUD, dark horses like Paper Rex and the always tactically sound DRX are in the mix alongside underdogs in NORTHEPTION and KRÜ Esports.

This list will cover more under the radar players that fans may not have heard of, but should still give the time of day to at the event.

DRX Zest

DRX Zest points at the camera in a close up
Lance Skundrich/Riot Games
DRX have a host of stars under their roster.

 

DRX come into this tournament as the perennial South Korean powerhouse, having only missed the first international VCT masters event and qualifying to every other. While former Counter-Strike player Kim “Zest” Gi-seok may not have been a part of the team during their 2021 run, he has been instrumental in their current 2022 run of form.

The 21 year old mostly plays Initiators for the squad, picking up Sova and Fade across most maps, but has also taken up Sage and Brimstone for the team. DRX as a team normally trade off who is carrying the squad and rely on their superior tactics and strategies to win rounds and some of the that can be attributed to Zest as one of the callers of the squad.

Zest was also a quiet standout in DRX’s last Masters run in Iceland, toping the leaderboard in their loss to OpTic Gaming and finishing with a positive Kill/Death ratio in almost every series they played.

He may not be the flashiest or most important player on DRX, but Zest is a rock for the team and rarely underperforms.

Guild Esports koldamenta

Guild Esports are one of the new comers to the international stage at VCT Masters Copenhagen and their IGL, Jose Luis “koldamenta” Aranguren Herrero, is another player fans should keep an eye on.

The EMEA 2021 Masters 1 winner and former G2 Esports IGL has bounced around Europe’s top teams and has made a home for himself on an explosive Guild team with young stars. In typical IGL fashion, koldamenta plays smoke agents for his team, usually picking up Omen or Viper depending on the map, and is normally the anchor of the squad.

While never flashy in his play, the Spanish leader isn’t afraid to play like a rat and is the architect around many of the team’s mid-round plays that secured them the third seed from EMEA.

NORTHEPTION xnfri

Another new team to the international stage, NORTHEPTION overtook ZETA DIVISION and Crazy Raccoon to represent Japan at VCT Masters Copenhagen and their flex player “xnfri” is a big reason why.

The native Japanese player plays Chamber, Raze, Skye and KAY/0 for his team and brought out all four agents in their grand final match against ZETA. Normally the support behind the team’s primary Duelist Kim “Meteor” Tae-O, xnfri has the highest Kill/Assist/Trade/Survive percentages on the team at 73% because he is always there to trade his teammates and follow protocols.

Him and Meteor make a duo comparable to Paper Rex’s Jason “f0rsakeN” Susanto and Wang Jing “Jinggg” Jie on certain maps and with his flexibility, he can take a step back and let the team’s other flex, “Derialy,” take the lead at times when he plays Duelists.

NORTHEPTION is in a group with FunPlus Phoenix and DRX, but much like ZETA DIVISION at VCT Stage 1 Masters, they have some upset potential.

Leviatán Tacolilla

leviatian Valorant team after winning LATAM
@LeviatanGG
Leviatán are only the second Latin American team to qualify for a Valorant Masters event.

Another new face to the international scene, Leviatán made history in Valorant becoming the second team to qualify for a Masters event from Latin America and breaking KRÜ Esport’s stranglehold on the region.

A big reason for their break through into the international space is their Chamber player Vicente “Tacolilla” Compagnon. Previously a Jett main, Tacolilla is a Chilean player that has lead teams like Australs to VCT Challengers finals in LATAM but has never been able to lift a trophy until now.

Almost since the introduction of Chamber into pro play Tacolilla has chosen the French sniper as his main agent and continuously puts up big numbers for his team. He was top two in the VCT Latin America Stage 2 Playoffs in terms of Average Combat Score, KD and KAST and held the top KD at 1.59, a good 0.32 ahead of the second place spot.

If Leviatán manage to make a dent in the playoff stage it will probably be off the back of some incredible plays by Tacolilla.

XSET BcJ

BcJ playing Apex Legends
Turtle Entertainment
BcJ’s XSET are the surprise package in Masters NA.

One of the most flexible players coming into VCT Masters Copenhagen, XSET’s Brendan “BcJ” Jensen is an underrated aspect of the new North American challengers. The former XSET pro doesn’t leap off the leaderboard with impressive stat lines, but has one of the longest tenures of any North American player on one team and put time on 11 different agents in his pro career.

XSET qualified to the major tournament off the backs of two young guns in Zachary “zekken” Patrone and Matthew “Cryocells” Panganiban, but the intelligence gathering needed to give those players the space to make plays comes from BcJ. Thanks to his utility use, and willingness to step into every role in the game, the former Apex Legends pro is another rock that fans should pay attention to.

If BcJ is popping off, then the other team will probably have massive problems on their end.

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