Valorant Stage 3 Masters Berlin is here, and our Curveball panel has all the hot takes in their preview show. There’s a lot of eyes on the NA squads defending Sentinels’ title from Iceland, but who will play spoiler to the party? Gambit seems like the best bet.
James ‘BanKs’ Banks, Mitch ‘MitchMan’ McBride and Daniel ‘fRoD’ Montaner have all made their cases for how Masters Berlin is going to play out, and one thing is for sure — Valorant esports has never been better.
With 15 teams taking part, the competition will be tight, but ultimately there’s one team on everyone’s lips: Gambit.
Group A odds on DJ Esports
- Acend (1.479) vs SuperMassive Blaze (2.536)
- Vision Strikers (1.132) vs Paper Rex (5.345)
The Curveball panel expects SuperMassive Blaze to beat Acend in a repeat of their last matchup (timestamp 08:30), but conceded the game will be tight if Acend have improved since the last time the two teams met. While Vision Strikers are considered a lock for their first match, only time will tell (timestamp 11:30) if they can disrupt the path of the two EMEA teams.
Group B odds on DJ Esports
- Envy (1.200) vs Vivo Keyd (4.213)
- KRU Esports (1.652) vs ZETA DIVISION (2.151)
The team expects this to be an easy group (timestamp 14:40) for Envy and ZETA to progress from. The question is, which of the two will come out on top?
Group C odds on DJ Esports
- 100 Thieves (1.134) vs Havan Liberty (5.308)
- Gambit Esports (1.080) vs Crazy Raccoon (6.902)
Another group the panel expects to have two clear favorites (timestamp 19:42) in 100 Thieves and Gambit. Once again, it’s a question of which side can come out as the group’s first seed. Gambit are given a slight edge based on what they can do on a LAN client.
Group D odds on DJ Esports
- G2 Esports (1.160) vs F4Q (4.798)
- Sentinels (1.300) vs G2 Esports (3.320)
- F4Q (6.880) vs Sentinels (1.081)
- F4Q (4.798) vs G2 Esports (1.160)
- G2 Esports (3.528) vs Sentinels (1.271)
- Sentinels (1.091) vs F4Q (6.514)
In the only double round-robin group, the Curveball team backs Sentinels (timestamp 26:27) to take the group. As for the second team to make it out of the group, F4Q (timestamp 26:56) could prove to be a surprise and cause G2 to make an early exit.
NA “lucks out” in the group draw, while EMEA struggles
“The Gods graced us with an easy bracket,” fRoD said right off the bat, even teasing a potential podium finish for all three NA representative: Sentinels, 100 Thieves, and Envy.
100 Thieves have one major threat in their group with Gambit, but Sentinels and Envy have avoided the “Group of Death” with Europe’s SuperMassive Blaze and Acend being lumped in with Vision Strikers in Group A.
Group D has also shrunk with SEA squad Bren Esports failing to get visas into Germany. The change in format makes the path for G2 Esports, Sentinels, and F4Q different — not necessarily harder, but the breakdown into groups is a marked improvement on Iceland’s format.
Valorant Masters Berlin Group A breakdown: The Group of Death
Group A is a three-horse race with one big match to kick things off. Acend and SuperMassive Blaze faced off in the EMEA Winners Final, and will do so again to kick off the Masters Berlin campaign. Draw aside, it makes for exciting viewing.
“I want SuperMassive Blaze to win that game, but I feel like cNeD is going to take over that game, not only because it’s on LAN, but maybe he has a lot of experience playing against SuperMassive Blaze, and maybe he’s going to put that all together,” fRoD said.
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While the Curveball panel expect Vision Strikers to make it to the Winner’s Final — with Paper Rex being all but written off — it remains to be seen if Europe’s top two seeds can survive the Group of Death, or Korea will get another scalp.
Recognized all over the world, this @AcendClub player is a force to be reckoned with. Can they win it all during their debut on the international stage?
— VALORANT Champions Tour (@ValorantEsports) September 8, 2021
Valorant Masters Berlin Group B breakdown: Envy’s group to lose
Since picking up Jaccob ‘yay’ Whiteaker, Envy have looked on another level. Not only that, there’s not many VODs on them, given he only joined for the Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs.
With Keyd Stars, KRU Esports, and ZETA DIVISION, it should be an easy run on paper for Envy, but the minor regions will be digging in to prove their worth. Mitchman himself thinks ZETA, formerly Absolute Jupiter, are going to “slap Envy around”.
“This is a team that has been around for a long time. ZETA are going to top [the group], I really think that.”
Valorant Masters Berlin Group C breakdown: Gambit and 100 Thieves fight for first
The Curveball panel believe Group C is NA’s hardest group, with 100 Thieves facing off against Gambit for that top seed (after they brush aside Havan Liberty and Crazy Raccoon respectively).
While Gambit has some cracked youngsters, including Ayaz ‘nAts’ Akhmetshin, 100 Thieves’ experience on LAN could prove to be the deciding factor. Although, it’s swings and roundabouts, with the Russian squad unlocking their true potential on low ping.
“Gambit is going to be a sight to see. CIS, Turkey — these are regions that have such a ping disadvantage when they’re competing [at home], so every time they’re on LAN, it’s like their unlocked,” fRoD said.
Valorant Masters Berlin Group D breakdown: G2 Esports could fall out early
It might seem like an easy group for Sentinels and G2 Esports on paper, but F4Q are nothing to scoff at. The “stream team” have proven to be more than that, flexing their mettle on Vision Strikers, and they’re ready to take their experience in other titles on stage.
“I think F4Q are pretty decent. From what I understand it’s not as serious a pro team as you’d expect, but they can do some damage, especially when you consider G2 more recently have looked a little bit sloppy,” Mitchman said.
Bren missing out might have serious ramifications on how this group plays out, giving F4Q to surprise chances to nab maps here and there off their western rivals and sneak through.
Bold Predictions: Vision Strikers to make deep run, All NA podium?
The panel have some very bold predictions for how Masters Berlin is going to play out. MitchMan is confident Gambit will win the title overall, nabbing another spot for EMEA come Champions, but he’s also got faith in Vision Strikers to run deep.
fRoD on the other hand is all in on the NA hype train. With the group draw working in their favor, there’s nothing stopping the region from taking all three spots on the podium in his eyes.
BanKs is backing MitchMan’s opinion though, with the “CIS bias” towards Gambit being too strong. “They are more than ready, they look too good.”
Valorant Stage 3 Masters Berlin kicks off on September 10.