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Stand Ready: NA VCL Mid-Season Face Off Preview

Stand Ready: NA VCL Mid-Season Face Off Preview

18 Mar
Foo Zen-Wen

The conclusion of the North American Valorant Challenger League (NA VCL) regular season gives way to the Mid-Season Face Off (formerly known as Mid-Season Invitational, MSI). The tournament is slated to begin on the 22nd of Mar, and will feature the top eight teams from the regular season. The teams were selected from the top four of each group, and finalized as below:

  • G2 Esports
  • Oxygen Esports
  • Moist Moguls
  • FaZe Clan
  • The Guard
  • M80
  • TSM
  • Disguised

The teams were then sorted into a bracket based on combined standings (Group A and Group B teams were sorted together and seeded based on overall performance regardless of individual group weightage).

NA VCL Mid-Season Face Off Format

The NA VCL Mid-Season Face Off will feature the top eight teams from the NA VCL placed in a double elimination bracket. All matches will be Bo3 format, and the teams were seeded for their matchup based on their performance during the regular season.


Round 1 Matchups and Predictions

M80 vs Disguised [2000 GMT, 22nd Mar]

As the top finisher in the league, M80 is heavily favored to win the matchup. Disguised’s recent performances have been decent but not overly impressive. Furthermore, their recent roster change only adds to doubts that they can go toe-to-toe with such a goliath.

TSM vs Moist Moguls [2300 GMT, 22nd Mar]

Finishing near the top of the more competitive group with a controversial roster move that has continued to pay off, its not looking good for Moist and TSM is favored to win. However, Moist’s recent run of good form gives them a fighting chance to win the series.

The Guard vs FaZe Clan [2000 GMT, 23rd Mar]

A slam dunk win for The Guard is what’s being predicted by the majority of pundits. FaZe Clan has had a string of poor form for the final weeks of play during the regular season. Meanwhile, The Guard has only dropped a single series of the five played.

G2 Esports vs Oxygen Esports [2300 GMT, 23rd Mar]

G2 has faced, and obliterated Oxygen once before during the regular season. They are heavily favored to win this second encounter by virtue of their current incredible form.


Early Criticisms

Due to the formatting of the Mid-Season Face Off, organizations find themselves facing off against their own group mates in several cases. This is evident for two of the matches in particular, G2 vs Oxygen and Disguised vs M80.

This dissuades interest in the R1 matchups, as they have already been played, and may furthermore result in expected outcomes and less opportunities for the less favoured rosters to forge new narratives.

Moreover, due to the combined standings used as the measure for seedings, it creates a theoretically ‘imbalanced’ split bracket, with a team like DSG ranked 8th despite their 4th place performance in Group B. DSG scored 2-3, with two of their losses attributed to Group B’s top performers- The Guard and M80.

This in comparison to an invited team such as FaZe Clan, who’s scoreline was similar, yet lost to teams such as Oxygen and Moist. Group A’s reputably easier games creates a supposed imbalance in terms of the threshold for qualification.


Image credit: Knights Arena

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