VCT Game Changers East Asia 2023 will open with single-elimination matches.
EAST ASIA – The bracket for VCT Game Changers East Asia has been set, seeing eight teams make their way to the competition for a single coveted spot at the Global Championship event in São Paulo, Brazil.
Starting with a single-elimination format in the quarter-finals, the tournament will transition to a double-elimination structure for the teams advancing to the top four as the event unfolds. It now features a slightly more stacked level of competition compared to last year, with China and Japan each sending an additional team to bring the total number of participating teams to eight.
The players from FENNEL Hotelava who represented East Asia at the Global Championship last year have since gone their separate ways across a number of teams. Suzu “suzu” Sasaki, while originally from ZETA DIVISION GC, was only temporarily loaned to FENNEL Hotelava but has since rejoined, with Seina “KOHAL” Migita now playing alongside suzu on a permanent basis. Park “Festival” Ga-yeon departed the team after the first Split and joined Korea-based Lunatic-hai Flax, but could not advance beyond the Korean qualifier.
Currently, Kasumi “Len” Owatari and Haruka “Curumi” Tajima are the only players from last year still playing under the FENNEL flag as they enter the second East Asia tournament.
Reigning East Asia champions FENNEL Hotelava had a challenging route to qualify this year after being pushed to the lower bracket of VCL Japan Split 2 by Reignite Lily right from the start. This setback certainly raised doubts about their championship aspirations, especially considering their lackluster showing earlier in the year when they missed out on qualifying for the main event of Split 1. However, they managed to navigate their way through the lower bracket by defeating SCARZ GC, DRX Changers, Reignite Lily, and even further against DetonatioN FocusMe GC.
DetonatioN FocusMe GC clinched the third qualification spot for Japan, but their losses against ZETA DIVISION GC and FENNEL Hotelava suggest a significant gap in performance when compared to these teams.
DFM GC faced a tough defeat against Suzu “suzu” Sasaki and team during the upper final, ending Ascent with scores of 4-13 and a stark 0-13 on Split. In their games against FENNEL Hotelava, DFM GC managed to secure just seven rounds over three maps (Ascent 2-13, Split 4-13, Haven 1-13). However, boasting a roster of unfamiliar faces, they are hopeful of springing a surprise and possibly overturning expectations against the better-known teams in the coming week.
Below you can find the quarter-final matchups and schedule:
China has positioned itself as a strong competitor in the East Asia Qualifier despite only having its official Game Changers circuit this year. The inaugural edition of VCT Game Changers China took place in Shanghai and saw significant participation from major esports organizations like EDward Gaming, Attacking Soul Esports, TYLOO, and Nova Esports, showing their commitment to the thriving ecosystem and their efforts to rival Japan as one of the leading Game Changers regions in Asia.
Korea continues with two slots, with representation from Nuclear GC and CVA. Nuclear GC in particular stand out from the region, boasting the former Lunatic-hai pair Lee “YuH4” Yu-bin and Kim “DoHee” Do-hee.
Of the players from the two Korean teams that competed last year, only Park “Yamzzi” Su-jin will return to the East Asia level, now representing Japan’s FENNEL Hotelava.
Cover photo courtesy of Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games