Following the conclusion of the major roster shuffle in Thailand and the open qualifier, VCT Thailand Stage 1 Challengers will start from February 10-27 to determine the three best teams to represent Thailand in the APAC Challengers Playoffs.
THAILAND — Running from February 10-27, the tournament will also act as a qualifier for the VCT APAC Challengers Playoffs. Sixteen teams — four invited and twelve qualified — have been split into four round-robin groups, featuring best-of-three format for all matches. The top two sides from all four groups will move on to the double-elimination, best-of-three playoffs.
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The top three teams of the Challengers event will join 17 other sides in the APAC Challengers Playoffs to fight for two coveted Masters spots.
The group draw for VCT Thailand Stage 1 Challengers looks as follows:
|Group A||Group C|
|X10 CRIT||XERXIA Esports|
|Lumsum||Gelida Esports (The Reaper)|
|Daytrade Nursery (SDobby)||Team JOBSO|
|Group B||Group D|
|Sharper Esport||FULL SENSE|
|47 Gaming||Heat Waves|
|FW Esport||Attack All Around|
|No Brimstone||Aricat Esport|
Read more to understand the current landscape of the Thai scene (teams not in order):
- Itthirit “foxz” Ngamsaard
- Panyawat “Sushiboys” Subsiriroj
- Nutchaphon “sScary” Matarat
- Thanamethk “Crws” Mahatthananuyut
- Thanachart “Surf” Rungapajaratkul
- Yuttanagorn “Zeus” Kaewkongyai (Coach)
The Itthirit “foxz” Ngamsaard-led side concluded the 2021 season with a well-deserved 5th-8th Champions placement with victories against Keyd Stars and Masters 3 Berlin runner-up Envy, as well as a tight match versus Gambit Esports. While Patiphan “Patiphan” Chaiwong is now out of the picture, Thanachart “Surf” Rungapajaratkul’s arrival serves a single purpose: to maintain, if not enhance, XERXIA’s firepower against the world’s best.
The youngster is an up-and-coming player who dominated Thailand’s ranked leaderboard and has been putting up impressive numbers versus local rivals in his debut last month. It remains to be seen if the roster has the same winning-caliber level as it had prior to Patiphan’s departure, which can only be proven should the squad competes in the APAC Challengers Playoffs.
- Chanitpak “ChAlalala” Suwanaprateep
- Elamrahim “LAMMYSNAX” Khanpathan
- Kititkawin “PTC” Rattanasukol
- Chanawin “JohnOlsen” Nakchain
- Nattawat “SuperBusS” Yoosawat
- Thanaphat “THEE” Limpaphan
- Thotsaphon “cbbk” Suphatthanaphalaphon (Head coach)
- Kachaporn “zocha” Taveesin (Coach/analyst)
Another representative of Thailand in last year’s most prestigious event are more prepared than ever. During the off-season, FULL SENSE brought on two new coaches to their tactics department: former Team NKT CS:GO analyst Thotsaphon “cbbk” Suphatthanaphalaphon as head coach and former Xavier Esports Overwatch coach Kachaporn “zocha” Taveesin.
They have also been gathering momentum in the off-season with their triumph in the ZOTAC Cup. And to add to the excitement, the arrival of Thanaphat “THEE” Limpaphan would provide FULL SENSE with more options for determining the best course of action for the team to succeed. Nevertheless, it also comes with a downside to playing in a six-man roster configuration. In spite of all the changes and additions to the squad recently, the squad should have little to no significant barriers in securing one of the three APAC Challengers Playoff berths.
- Puwadon “b3ta” Jaisuekul
- Wattanachok “aLerT” Yingnakorn
- Teerasak “PinOcChiOs” Kedaim
- Patcharapon “Niffy” Junman
- Teerapat “Acetics” Jinyong
- Tuwanon “z3rIw” Siriwongmongkol (Coach)
The squad built around Puwadon “b3ta” Jaisuekul and Wattanachok “aLerT” Yingnakorn have maintained the longest-standing five since last August. Sharper Esports came dangerously close to defeating XERXIA Esports in last month’s FPSThailand VALORANT Tournament. The results, therefore, demonstrate Sharper Esport’s potential to reach greater heights in the game in 2022, which is to strive for the APAC Challengers Playoff berths, and nothing less.
Attack All Around
- Joonas “Fake” Oikarinen
- Khan “KhanBigD” Wautier
- Harry “Kromex” Webster
- Warittorn “ROLEX” Kalanukan
- Somprasert “somboyyy” Haddow
- Leon “Olite” Webster (Coach)
The former The Infinity Esports squad qualified for the main event by beating the newly-formed Made in Thailand. And to add to the excitement, Attack All Around have also acquired an import player in the forms of Joonas “Fake” Oikarinen to bolster their limited repertoire — at least for now.
Given the recent arrival of the Finnish in-game leader, they can honestly approach VCT Thailand Stage 1 Challengers as a warmup and easily tolerate any unpleasant outcomes – if that were even to happen. However, any upsets along the way will instantly show that this squad is a formidable opponent to the rest of the contenders despite relatively new.
- Nantapol “Kongared” Boonying
- Jirayu “wannafly” Meesuk
- Thanaboon “Delend” Tungsupsatit
- Palapoom “AloNeFillz” Thaikum
- Kantapong “Kadoom” Kingthong
Formed after the major roster shuffle in Thailand, Made in Thailand opted to re-enter the scene. Similar to that as of Attack All Around, but with only two players having ever competed together, there is little expectation of them finishing as high. Nonetheless, it would add color to the intense rivalry if they could breeze through the group stage. After all, it is still a strong roster capable of bringing surprises to the table against the better oppositions.
- Thanachok “notxd” Rattanapranee
- Nuttadet “xcool” Wijit
- Kitisak “SeveN89” Kititharakun
- Apiwat “garnetS” Apiraksukumal
- Phakphon “Flukky” Sukhonchasiri
- Yuranun “0bi” Sangurang (Coach)
While the new-look X10 CRIT are not bearing the same weight of expectation as to their previous lineup, X10 CRIT is still a banner known for playing in the highest level of Southeast Asia and representing Thailand on international stages. And there should be something in the newly-picked players that would make the talent scout of X10 CRIT choose them over acquiring more established teams.
Cover photo courtesy of Euan Cameron