One of the most heavyweight regions of Asian VALORANT will start its inaugural VCT campaign this year, which will take place from February 23 – March 27. Eight teams will vie for a single spot in Masters 1 in April.
SOUTH KOREA — Most of the big names managed to make it through the main event of VCT Korea Stage 1 Challengers, with the exception of Spear Gaming, Prince, and Alpha Six Gaming. Two of the favorites, DRX and DWG KIA, breezed through to the main event without handing any maps or double-digit rounds so far.
Eight teams will fight through a best-of-three round-robin group stage played over three weeks from February 23 – March 13, with the top six sides advancing to the double-elimination playoffs. Lower Final and Grand Final will have best-of-five settings, with the winner earning a spot in VCT Stage 1 Masters and a KR₩30,000,000 (~US$24,986) first-place prize.
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Read more to understand the current landscape of the Korean scene (teams not in order):
- Kim “stax” Gu-taek
- Goo “Rb” Sang-min
- Kim “Zest” Gi-seok
- Yu “BuZz” Byung-chul
- Kim “MaKo” Myeong-kwan
- Seon-ho “termi” Pyeon (Head coach)
- Soon-woo “Argency” Kwon (Coach)
- Kim “glow” Min-soo (Coach)
The player break is over, and DRX are preparing for a monumental year ahead. There were few changes during the off-season, including Kim “Zest” Gi-seok’s return from his prolonged medical leave, Lee “k1Ng” Seung-won’s loan to rivals ESportsConnected, and the departure of Kim “Lakia” Jong-min to the Japanese circuit with IGZIST.
Despite only changing one player from its active lineup, the agent composition has shifted significantly looking at two of DRX’s qualification games, with Yu “BuZz” Byung-chul comfortably transitioning to Sentinel and still continuing to put up high numbers, and Goo “Rb” Sang-min and Kim “Zest” Gi-seok returning to their starting agents as Jett and Sova, respectively.
- Kim “Eugene” Su-yeong
- Kim “t3xture” Na-ra
- Lee “Jeong Hi” Jeong-ha
- Kang “iNTRO” Seung-gyun
- Jeong “Esperanza” Jin-cheol
- Park “exy” Geun-cheol
- Yoon “Hyeoni” Hyun-seok
- Kang “solo” Keun-chul (Head coach)
- Hong “Eraser” Chang-pyo (Coach)
- Han “Calmly” Dong-geun (Coach)
DWG KIA are one of the genuine contenders for the coveted Masters 1 slot after Korea’s huge roster upheaval. Last year’s campaign demonstrated unequivocally that Kim “Eugene” Su-yeong and co. can compete with Korea’s finest. But the four new high-profile signings of Jeong “Esperanza” Jin-cheol, Yoon “Hyeoni” Hyun-seok, Park “exy” Geun-cheol, and coach Kang “solo” Keun-chul have just elevated DWG KIA in a way to another level of firepower with a variety of player selections.
- Kim “GodDead” Sung-sin
- Kim “zunba” Joon-hyuk
- Lee “k1Ng” Seung-won
- Park “Bazzi” Jun-ki
- Yu “TS” Tae-seok
- Jeong “Jaemin” Jae-min (Head coach)
- Jung “peri” Bum-gi (Coach)
The newly-formed ESportsConnected snuck their way to qualification with a near-perfect campaign, losing just two maps to DWG KIA, out of fourteen played. Notably known for its LCK history, the organization, late last year, assembled a roster of five players and two coaching staff with experience from six different banners. And, should ESC has already established a rhythm with all of its players, they may be able to compete with the big boys in Stage 1.
World Game Star
- Kim “HANN” Dong-ho
- Hong “iRdy” Soo-min
- Ko “Sylvan” Young-sub
- Ha “ClarK” Jeong-o
- Kim “Halbae” Jun-young
- Lee “GODLIKE” Seo-ha
- Kang “Cruise” Ji-min (Coach)
Despite losing its core players from the 2021 VCT Korea Stage 1, World Game Star’s ceiling is now much higher with the late-year signing of Lee “GODLIKE” Seo-ha from the now-defunct TNL Esports, as well as the six-man roster configuration in place.
- Kim “Harry” Han-kyu
- Kim “JinboongE” Jin-won
- Choi “10X” Jin-woo
Formerly hailing from T1 Korea, Choi “10X” Jin-woo and Kim “Harry” Han-kyu will make an appearance at the regional competition with ‘Brimstone’, who took down SPEAR Gaming and Chungnam JUEGO Esports en route to qualification, only losing to Kim “JinboongE” Jin-won’s former teams in the process in a closely-contested 1-2 series.
The complete participants for VCT Korea Stage 1 Challengers can be found below:
|Maru Gaming||Team T5|
|World Game Star||Brimstone|
Cover photo courtesy of Sava Bobov