The North American VALORANT scene is in full swing. Teams are competing in both Ignition Series events as well as smaller local tournaments, all to prove themselves better than their opposition. While winning smaller tournaments certainly helps, it is those large-scale events that truly puts a team over the top.
The following power rankings take into account both tournament placements, and individual match performance. The current rankings are based on performances from tournaments in July and early August.
1. Team Solo Mid
The fan favorites have certainly made their mark in the professional VALORANT scene. TSM look streaky at moments, but they ultimately find a way to pull through. In fact, they have managed to place top four in the past three Ignition Series tournaments – even winning two of them. Matthew “Wardell” Yu was an absolute monster throughout the FaZe Clan Invitational, proving himself as one of the top Jett players in the region.
While Wardell performed up to expectation, it was teammate James “hazed” Cobb that come up clutch in crucial moments. TSM are far ahead of the competition in terms of team synergy and sheer big-play potential thanks to their history of a team. It will be tough to knock off Team Solo Mid from the top spot.
If there was one team that could compete, it would be TSM’s new rival Sentinels. Led by former Overwatch League MVP Jay “Sinatraa” Won, Sentinels are fighting to make a case as the best team in the region. After winning both the PAX Arena Invitational and the 30Bomb: Summer Cup, Sentinels were poised to take down TSM and rightfully claim the title of best team in NA. However, they stumbled down the stretch and fell 3-2 to Team SoloMid in the finals of the FaZe Clan Invitational. Overall, Sentinels have a strong core that is able to take down any opponent. The key for the team going forward, is being able to come through in those high pressure situations.
The winners of the T1 X Nerd St Invitational are easily the quietest top team in the region. The group doesn’t necessarily have the star power like some other teams in the region, but they certainly hold their own. Gen.G has failed to beat both TSM and Sentinels in meaningful tournaments, but it’s tough to put that against them as no one can beat those two teams consistently.
.@HUYNH_CS with a clean 3k to clutch up the round! 🔥
— Gen.G Esports (@GenG) August 9, 2020
Gen.G are a formidable opponent, and certainly are the best team outside the top two. The gap between Gen.G and Sentinels however is quite large. In the upcoming tournaments, Gen.G will serve as the gatekeepers for the top spot in the NA rankings.
Potentially the team with the largest excitement surrounding their signings, T1 have yet to catch that elusive first place finish. Since their namesake tournament, T1 have failed to place in the top four. T1 breaks the top five, because they have had the misfortune of playing top tier competition at every turn. In the PAX Arena Invitational, T1 looked strong coming out of groups with a clean 4-0 record. Although they had an early exit at the hands of Homeless, but came back swinging again at the FaZe Clan Invitational. By winning their group, T1 was rewarded by facing TSM. A tight 2-1 loss sent T1 into the losers bracket, where they faced Gen.G for the knockout match. Not a lot of teams can pull off wins against opponents sitting in the top three spots in the region. With a little more time, and a bit more luck, T1 has the potential to snag that first place.
The Immortals roster is potentially locked in, and they look solid. The recent release of Joseph “Bjor” Bjorklund and acquisition of Quan “Dicey” Tran appears to be the change this team needed. While placing third in the T1 x Nerd Street tournament was a massive statement, they couldn’t replicate that success. Before the swap, Immortals failed to place top four or higher in three consecutive events.
Immortals look ready to prove themselves as contenders after a solid result in the FaZe Clan Invitational. Taking down FaZe, Cloud9 and Gen.G is no easy feat, especially after initially losing to Gen.G to get knocked into the lower bracket. Immortals are a team to keep an eye on in the upcoming Pop Flash Invitational.
Much like T1, Cloud9 are still searching for that first place finish in a larger event. C9 found success in some of the earlier tournaments, even beating the eventual TSM and 100 Thieves rosters in the Elite Esports Rivalry Bowl. Since then, Cloud9 has found themselves settling for second. Tyson “TenZ” Ngo is undoubtedly one of the best VALORANT players in the world at the moment, but his talent alone is not enough to carry the rest of the squad. It’s clear the team as a whole is improving with each event, but to crack the top five, Cloud9 needs to be able to consistently beat the top teams.
7. Team Envy
Formerly known as “Together we are Terrific”, Envy has yet to put up a strong result under the new banner. They beat the teams when they are favored, but struggle against other signed teams. Team Envy escaped the group stages in both the PAX Arena Invitational and the FaZe Clan Invitational, but failed to make a splash in the playoff stages. The team has plenty of experience playing together, and now it is time for them to make the next step.
8. FaZe Clan
The Overwatch pros and Marved made their debut at the FaZe Clan Invitational, but couldn’t quite get the pieces together. The players individually had highlights throughout the tournament, the most exciting player being Corey “Corey” Nigra. The team however, left a lot of opportunities on the table. Starting the tournament losing in upsetting fashion to China Nguyen to open the tournament. Although they eventually made it out of groups through the lower bracket, they had a quick exit at the hands of Sentinels.
— #FaZeUp (@FaZeUpdate) August 7, 2020
The good news is that newcomer Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty looked like a bright spot on the team. The bad news however, is fellow Overwatch pro Andrej “babybay” Francisty appeared to struggle in his first VALORANT showing. If FaZe wants to find success with this roster, those two need to show they can compete with the best around.
9. 100 Thieves
100 Thieves are by far the most disappointing team in VALORANT right now. Like FaZe, the individual players have no problem proving they can perform at a high level. The team play however leaves a lot to be desired. Whether it is a coaching issue, or the in-game leader is having trouble making the necessary adjustments, 100 Thieves have not played up to their potential. Hopefully something changes before the Pop Flash Invitational later this month. If not, the team will continue to underperform.
10. Everyone Else
The rest of the North American region is filled with potential underdogs and bracket busters. After watching Homeless make a deep run at the PAX Invitational, signed teams now need to play a bit more serious against lesser-known rosters. China Nguyen looked competitive at moments, but ultimately couldn’t keep their momentum going. MixUp and Built By Gamers haven’t netted meaningful results in their few appearances.
The two teams that need to start showing some improvements are Renegades and Complexity. Having the backing of established organizations brings along expectations to succeed. They aren’t quite the size of TSM or Cloud9, but these two teams need to start placing higher than eighth in larger tournaments. This is their time to make a statement before teams like Dignitas and CLG eventually sign a roster and compete. If Complexity and Renegades fail to bring home a medal, they just may stay at the bottom of the NA region.
Featured image courtesy of Sentinels
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