This article is part of our VALORANT series.
VCT Stage 2 playoffs are down to the final four in North America and Europe. Fnatic, Guild, FunPlus Phoenix and M3 Champions in Europe. XSET, OpTic Gaming, NRG, and FaZe Clan in North America. Fnatic and Guild have already secured their spots at VCT Copenhagen, with M3 Champions and FunPlus Phoenix set for a winner-takes-all lower bracket decider for the final spot. Here's a look at some players to target and to fade in the VCT Stage 2 Final Four.
Players to Target
I know it must get old seeing Derke in the 'Players to Target' section each and every week, but it's impossible to ignore the flying Finn. Over the entirety of Stage 2 he has a 1.33 rating, 269.3 ACS, a 1.60 K/D and 0.98 kills per round. Derke is 0.02 away from averaging a kill in each and every round; this is form we have never seen before in VALORANT. Derke has already nearly guaranteed he will be rated as the top player of 2022 and nobody is particularly close. In fact his only competition likely comes from his teammate Alfajer, who is also hovering at a 1.30 rating. Fnatic face their toughest competition of Stage 2 this week and still many, including me, have already penciled this team in as the VCT Copenhagen favorites and the best team in the world.
Did people forget about yay? The sniper for OpTic Gaming led his team to the VCT Reykjavik title and seemed to slow down for the first two weeks of VCT Stage 2 in North America. That's no reason to forget about North America's best player though - he has a 1.27 rating throughout Stage 2 and sits comfortable atop the North American ranks. The only concern for yay is the caliber of snipers left to contest him. dicey and Cryocells might not be as dominant as yay but they are two of the most talented players in the region and can shut him down with aplomb if given even the slightest of chances. That concern shouldn't scare anyone away from yay though, the best player on the best team coming off of an international win in Stage 1? yay is a slam dunk in every single fantasy lineup.
Back to Europe and back to a team that has flown under the radar throughout the season, Guild Esports. This team has always been so close to qualifying to international competition. Stage 2 2021, the first international VALORANT event - Guild ended in 5th-6th in playoffs. Stage 3 2021, Guild once again make playoffs... and finish in 7th-8th, missing out on qualification. Surely 2022 was going to be different? Stage 1 2022 Guild make playoffs... and go out in 5th-6th. Stage 2 is different. Guild topped the group stage and are already qualified for VCT Copenhagen, so the pressure is off and this team is flying high. The only reason Leo and Sayf don't join trexx in the 'to target' section is because of the absolute dominance of Fnatic, their upper bracket opposition and a team they are likely to play twice this week, once in the upper bracket final and once in the grand final.
Players to Fade
FNS and OpTic Gaming have been one of the most impressive teams in the world. Many doubted them in Stage 1 and they pulled it together to win VCT Reykjavik. Even with that international win in the books it's impossible to move FNS out of the 'Players to Fade' section. The in-game leader simply doesn't get the kills he'd need to move out of this section. He's an excellent captain and strategist, but you don't get fantasy points for a perfectly executed fake. FNS is likely to end up with another championship title, but he doesn't belong in fantasy lineups.
d3ffo is one of the most confounding, infuriating and misleading players for fantasy managers. Here's some facts about d3ffo: He plays Jett and Chamber mainly and he is often the sniper for M3 Champions, a team often included among the five best in the world. Sounds like one of the most appealing fantasy options possible, right? Here's some more facts about d3ffo: 0.86 rating, 177.8 ACS and 117.3 ADR. M3 Champions don't seem to care for the meta. Putting their best players on Chamber? Never heard of it. d3ffo will hold onto the most valuable fantasy role possible and still produce next to nothing, so don't fall into his trap.
XSET have finally broken into the upper echelon of North America and sit one match away from qualifying for international competition. BcJ has been a crucial part of that - playing five agents this stage and being more than competent on all of them. The issue that BcJ and most of XSET face is simply the absurd duo that is Zekken and Cryocells. With those two on the map there are rarely enough kills to go around and BcJ is left holding down sites or supporting his two young mega-talents. BcJ will be one of the most important players during the VCT Stage 2 Final Four, but he just isn't a fantasy option.
Stats courtesy of Thespike.gg