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by Gabriel Ionica in
Competitive News Valorant

You’ve seen Valorant Champions Tour NA and EU, now get ready for Japan! VCT 2021: Japan Challengers 1 will kick off January 20 with the qualifier having wrapped up January 19. Before the action starts, let’s go over the teams participating and their claims to fame.

First Strike Top 4

The top four teams from First Strike Japan earned themselves an invite to VCT 2021: Japan Challengers 1.

In first place are the absolute kings of Japan, Absolute JUPITER. These guys have more first place wins than any team in Japan and had a flawless run in First Strike. Since First Strike, they also took first place at the eGG esports challenge G-Tune VALORANT INVITATIONAL. If nothing changes between now and the 20th, we could see another dominant Absolute JUPITER at VCT.

In second place we have BlackBird Ignis. Given their previous performances, it was a bit of a surprise to see BlackBird Ignis perform so well at First Strike. Their two standout players, Shuma “RIPablo” Ikeda and Masayuki “oitaN” Takahashi had the 8th and 10th best average kills per round in the tournament, at 0.74 and 0.73 respectively. oitaN also had the eight highest ACS in the tournament at 222. Will they perform just as well or will there be an upset?

Up next in third place is REJECT. What’s interesting here is that even though REJECT placed third, they had two of the best players in all of First Strike Japan. HaReeee and Yuma “Dep” Hisamoto had the third and fourth best kills per round at 0.89 and 0.87 respectively. Not only that but they also had the fourth and fifth best ACS which Dep‘s being 242 and HaReeee‘s being 239. Since First Strike, Dhimoruto and coach XanLy left the team, with Masahiro “Feez” Morisaki stepping up to the plate. Will their lack of coach prove detrimental?

In fourth place is DetonatioN Gaming, who results have been as mixed as America’s population. One cool thing to note about them is that even though they were 4th, Lee “mystic” In-pyo had the 10th best KDA in the tournament.

VCT Japan Challengers 1 Open Qualifier

The Open Qualifiers here were a very interesting mix of known and orgless teams. Based on their performance, some of the latter are sure to become known in the near future. For now, let’s focus on the four teams who made it to Challengers 1.

FAV Gaming is a name you might recognize. They had a rocky start as a team up until October of 2020. Since then, they’ve seen various first, second, and third-place finishes at tournaments like UTAGE VALORANT Season 2, UTAGE VALORANT Season 2, VALORANT TechnoBlood Climber Summit, and Mildom Masters. They even passed through the First Strike Japan: Qualifier #1 with flying colors but fell short at the actual First Strike Japan event. In Challengers 1, FAV Gaming is in Group B with DetonatioN Gaming, the team that knocked them out of First Strike Japan. If the stars align, we might see a comeback story here.

Up next we have SCARZ and their results have been somewhat scattered. Sometimes they’ll defeat a team with no problem, other times they’ll lose to that same team 0:2. Their roster has remained mostly the same with only their sixth player, NerCy, leaving before First Strike. Much like FAV Gaming, they are in the same group, Group A, with REJECT, the team that eliminated them from First Strike. While we don’t know the Group B matchups yet, we know that SCARZ will actually be facing REJECT in a redemption match.

In third place is the lesser-known FIRST Gaming. They haven’t been in many tournaments so far, with some second and third-place finishes under their belt. They tried their hand at First Strike Japan where they were eliminated by FAV Gaming in Qualifier #1 and DetonatioN Gaming in Qualifier #2. Lucky for them, those two teams are in Group B while they are in Group A. That means they get a new chance at making it big.

The fourth team to qualify is Lag Gaming, another team that was eliminated from both First Strike qualifiers. While they do have a few first-place wins under their belt, they are fairly small tournaments. Not to mention, they are in Group B with Absolute JUPITER who have been dominating the Japanese Valorant scene. I’m not saying they’ll lose, but it’d be one hell of an upset if they didn’t.

Now that you know who’s participating, tune in on the 20th to see how Group A turned out! While you’re at it, come back on the 21st for Group B’s result! To make sure you don’t miss that, follow us at Run it Back and join our Discord for all your latest news, extensive guides, and exclusive interviews in the world of Valorant.

Not-yet-famous esports writer. Started out with CS:GO but now I write about Valorant too. Check out my article backlog on Twitter!
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