After being plagued by a series of disappointing domestic performances and subsequent rebuilds, 100 Thieves VALORANT seems to be on the road to recovery. For the first time since 2021, 100T is returning to the international stage. With a 3-0 victory over The Guard in the grand finals of the 2022 North American VALORANT Champions Tour Last Chance Qualifiers, 100T are officially the North American third seed headed to VALORANT Champions.
VALORANT Champions, the biggest VALORANT tournament of the year, is the equivalent to League of Legends’s World Championship. However, because there are only four total domestic and international tournaments—and no regular season—the qualifying teams are determined based on Circuit Points.
In short, Circuit Points are a point-based system that allocates points based on international and domestic placements. Domestic tournaments award very few CP, but allow teams to enter international tournaments where much more CP can be earned. Regular appearances and adequate performances at international tournaments often leads to qualifications; however, missing one or both international tournaments makes qualification through CP almost impossible.
What is the LCQ?
This is where the LCQ comes in. The LCQ is hosted after the “regular season” tournaments have all been completed. With all of the year’s CP distributed, the final seed of each region is awarded via an invite-only tournament. The invites are granted to the top eight unqualified domestic teams based on the amount of CP they have.
Unlike other tournaments, each team has an equal opportunity to win from the start. With no record other than CP taken into account, the bracket is made perfectly even. Each team starts in the upper bracket and is eliminated after two losses (double elimination format). This menas that, despite having the most CP in the tournament, you still need to win the same number of matches as the lowest CP team to win the final regional seed.
This year, 100 Thieves pulled off an incredible feat by winning from the lower bracket, something no other LCQ team completed. The reason this is so difficult is because the upper bracket qualifier to the grand finals is given the advantage of two map bans prior to the map picks. This means that the upper bracket team can ban two maps—typically the opposing teams best maps, as was the case in this tournament—before either team picks their maps. The Guard banned Breeze and Bind, 100T’s preferred maps. This left the playable map pool with Icebox, Fracture, Haven, Ascent, and Split.
Despite their best maps left out of the rotation, 100T dominated the matchup, winning Icebox; Fracture; Haven; and the tournament as a whole in a dominant 3-0 fashion.
While the grand final was a dominant shutout, 100T’s previous matches were not as clean. Their first matchup, against NRG, was quite the nail-biter. NRG struck the first blow, winning 13-11 on their map pick: Icebox. Taking the matchup to a more comfortable map, 100T selected Bind where they won handily 13-7. The decider map was left to Ascent, where 100T narrowly edged out a win 13-11.
Continuing in the upper bracket, 100T were slated to play what has become a rivalry matchup against FaZe. Encountering each other for the ninth time, the record was FaZe-favored with a 4-3 edge to babybay and friends. Their last two meetings—the only two with the current rosters—had each gone 2-1, with both teams pulling off incredible comebacks. Returns from 8-4 and 9-3 had become commonplace and even anticipated when these two titans clashed.
This time was no exception. Tied 1-1, FaZe rebounded from a 9-3 scoreline to win the matchup 13-9, relegating the Thieves to the lower bracket.
Now facing elimination, 100T faced off against Sentinels. Nicknamed the “clout match,” this matchup garnered the second-highest views of the tournament; the only match to bring in more views was the tournament opener between Sentinels and The Guard. Although Sentinels struck first with a double overtime victory 17-15 on Fracture, 100T rebounded and took the remaining two matches on Breeze and Haven 13-7 and 13-11, respectively.
While a comeback victory might not have been the most convincing victory for a Champions-level team, these wins were pivotal in jumpstarting their dominant win streak. From here, 100T did not drop a single map or enter a single overtime. They destroyed Cloud9 2-0 with 13-7 and 13-10 victories on Ascent and Fracture. They then went on to rematch FaZe and dominated them 3-0 with a 13-10 victory on Icebox, a 13-6 victory on Breeze, and a 13-3 revenge victory on Ascent.
With only The Guard left, 100T quickly dispatched their opponents and secured their spot alongside XSET and OpTic Gaming in VALORANT Champions 2022.