2023 heralded a new exciting era for the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT), with a new format established by Riot Games. With the updated format, the roadmap to the season finale Championship, to crown the 2023 Champions, is packed with challenging obstacles and games taking place worldwide. All roads will finally lead to Los Angeles in August, the location of the 2023 Championship, where 16 of the best Valorant teams will compete for the mantle of 2023 Undisputed Valorant Champions. The first big event of this year is already done and dusted, and the Lock//In Sao Paolo event was a resounding success. With intense competition, new rosters, and shifting metas, it can be tough to keep track of which teams are on top. In this article, we’ll take a look at the hottest VCT teams this season and examine what makes them stand out from the pack.
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Defining the Hottest VCT Teams
The hottest VCT teams are those teams that are showing good progress so far this season and who we expect to put up a good fight at the season finale Championship. Some of the criteria we focus on include the team’s makeup, from its strengths to its weaknesses, focusing on some key players on each team and finally, analysing some of the current records of these teams so far this season.
Top VCT Teams
The 2022 season saw Team Fnatic secure a top-six finish at the Champions event and a top-four finish at the Masters. Fnatic has already laid down a marker as the best team this season. At the Lock//In Sao Paolo event in Brazil, Fnatic was imperious and won a hard-fought final 3-2 against Team Loud. After going unbeaten in Lock//In, Fnatic has maintained excellent form and is dominating the EMEA region this VCT season. Team Fnatic stands has assembled an impressive unit that still includes their three core star players in Boaster, Derke and Alfajer. Fnatic has improved their squad with two outstanding new signings, Leo and Chronicle. Team Fnatic, like any team, has its weaknesses, but it will be interesting to see whether they can carry their form into the Champions event, especially with the added pressure of never winning the Championship.
Our list of the hottest and top VCT teams of 2023 has to include Team Loud. Not only are Loud their reigning Valorant Champions, having won their first World Championship last year, but they also have started this season strong. Much was made about some of the departures from the successful 2022 team, and after losing two key players in Sacy and Pancada, fans would have been fearful heading into the new season. However, one of the best, if not the best, Duelist players in the world, and the new face of the team, Aspas, has brought fresh hope to all fans. At their home event in Sao Paolo, Loud was agonisingly close to winning the Lock//In event but eventually went down 2-3 in a close battle with Fnatic in the final. However, Loud has started the VCT 2023 Americas League emphatically and is 5-0 so far, and with four games to play, they are on course to win the league and a place at the World Championship, plus the Masters.
A standout team from the Pacific, DRX is one of the hottest teams heading into the 2023 season. The all-South Korean team have kept hold of their dynamic squad and includes the best Smokes player from the Pacific in MaKo. MaKo is a man for the big occasion and proved himself last year when he performed courageously in the Champions and Masters events. The 2022 season was a breakout season for DRX and showed fans that the team could compete internationally and finished in third place at the Champions event. DRX started 2023 similarly and finished in the top 4 at the Lock//In tournament and is currently 5-0 in the VCT 2023 Pacific League. The strength of DRX is their squad chemistry, and by keeping hold of the same team, they should be able to have a solid run at a trophy this year.
Breakout Players and Rising Stars
Even at the young age of 19, Leo has achieved great success as a Valorant player. Having joined Fnatic for the new season, Leo has already played a pivotal role in helping his team win the Lock//In event in Sao Paolo, where he was named the MVP player of the tournament.
Having joined Natus Vincere before the 2023 season, Shao has quickly made an impression on the team in Europe and the global stage. Considered a leader in the team, Shao has helped Natus Vincere to a top-four finish in the recently concluded Lock//In event, where he finished with an impressive 1.29 rating.
Shyy, LEV’s resident KJ main, is a rising star in Valorant and has been dependable for Team Leviatan. Shyy debuted last year in the Latin America Challengers, and this year had a good showing in Sao Paolo, finishing with a 1.22 rating and scoring well all around. At only 18, Shyy is really young compared to some of the standout players on the VCT tour, but he shows great promise and will definitely go far in the Pro Valorant scene.
Who’s Not Hot
Sentinels have a large following in esports and are one of the most well-known Valorant teams globally. Having been in VCT from the beginning, Sentinels are unfortunately not the team they used to be. Even with the signings of talented players like Sacy and Pancada, Sentinels have struggled so far this year. After an early first-round elimination at the Lock//In event, the team are struggling in the VCT 2023 Americas League, with a disappointing 2-3 record. Either by bad luck or a lack of chemistry, Sentinels are not a hot team in the 2023 season.
Paper Rex is a strong team from the Pacific. After not changing their roster for the 2023 season, it was expected that they would be able to mount another strong challenge at the Masters and Championship. This season, however, the team has struggled to perform, getting eliminated in the first round of Lock//In and currently going 3-2 in the VCT 2023 Pacific League. Now that record is alright, but it could be better, and it definitely isn’t up to the standard they set in previous years. Their inconsistency may be due to some unfortunate luck. Most of their games were closely matched, so there are some positive signs from the season.
In this article, we’ve explored the hottest VCT teams this season and some of the breakout players to watch out for. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer, these teams will surely provide exciting gameplay and fierce competition in the coming weeks.