Relive the highs and the lows of VALORANT Champions 2023 as the season draws to a close!
And just like that, the 2023 VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) season draws to a close. Sixteen of the best teams fought for international glory in Los Angeles, but in the end, only one could lift the Champions trophy – Evil Geniuses (EG).
Dismissed at the start of the season following a 1-4 start in the VCT Americas regular season, the team won three of their next four to secure playoffs. They then secured their spot at Masters Tokyo by placing third. Going into that tournament as underdogs, these geniuses defied all expectations to make it to the Grand Final, where they lost to EMEA’s Fnatic 3-0. Champions provided them a chance to go one step further, and that’s exactly what they did.
Miss any of the action, or just want to relive VALORANT history? Here’s everything that went down at Champions 2023.
VALORANT CHAMPIONS 2023: Final Placements
Below are the final placements for VALORANT Champions 2023:
Valorant Champions 2023: Group Stage
Champions began with four groups of four, with two teams from each making it to playoffs.
Pacific’s Paper Rex qualify without dropping a single map, defeating China’s EDward Gaming (EDG) in their final group stage game. EDG then faced EMEA’s Giants, who were eliminated from the tournament following a comfortable 2-0 victory for EDG.
EG qualified without dropping a single map, in a similar fashion to fellow finalists Paper Rex. EMEA’s FUT Esports also qualified here after beating Pacific’s T1 2-0.
It was where tournament favorites Fnatic qualified, defeating Pacific’s ZETA Division and China’s Billibilli Gaming 2-0. Billibilli then went on to beat Americas’ NRG 2-0 to qualify.
Pacific’s DRX qualify after closely fought games against Americas’ LOUD and EMEA’s Natus Vincere (NAVI). Champions 2022 winners LOUD then fought NAVI across three maps, all ending 13-11, to eliminate NAVI from the tournament 2-1.
Valorant Champions 2023: Playoffs
The playoffs began with a LOCK//IN Grand Final rematch between Fnatic and LOUD, but this time LOUD were victorious, taking the series 2-0. Paper Rex took down FUT Esports 2-0, whilst DRX defeated Billibilli Gaming 2-0 as well. Finally, EG reverse swept EDG with two 13-5 victories to win the series 2-1.
With the opening playoff games concluded, the lower bracket began, where Fnatic had to defeat fellow EMEA team FUT Esports for survival. EDG then eliminated fellow Chinese team Billibilli Gaming in a close three-game series. Meanwhile, the upper bracket saw Paper Rex advance to the Upper Final following a 2-1 victory over LOUD, where EG would join them following a 2-0 victory over DRX.
The second round of the lower bracket followed, where Fnatic reverse swept DRX to survive – despite losing map one (Bind) 13-1. LOUD then took down EDG 2-1 to advance.
The Upper Final then kicked things off at the Kia Forum, though little did any of us know that these same two teams would be our grand finalists. Paper Rex defeated EG here despite three close maps on Ascent, Bind, and Pearl to take the series 2-1.
Fnatic then faced LOUD in the lower bracket, where the winner was set to play EG in the Lower Final for the second spot in the Grand Finals. The EMEA team failed to take down LOUD yet again, eliminated following a 2-1 defeat.
The Lower Final took place the following day, in which the two remaining Americas teams fought tooth and nail through five maps. EG took the first map (Ascent) in overtime, winning 14-12, and then took Lotus 13-4. LOUD then answered back, taking map three (Pearl) and Split 13-8 and 13-7 respectively. It then came down to Bind, where EG won 13-8 to take the series and secure their Grand Final spot.
Star player Max ‘Demon1’ Mazanov ended on 101 kills, setting the record for most kills in a Bo5 at an international event. He beat his own record of 99 kills in the Masters Tokyo Lower Final, which was set against his next opponent, Paper Rex.
#LiveEvil: The Brilliance of Evil Geniuses
The Grand Final kicked off on Split, which looked to be in Paper Rex’s hands by halftime, with the team leading 8-4. Unfortunately for them, EG had other ideas, giving up just two rounds in the second half to close things out 13-10. Demon1 got straight to business on Jett with 27 kills, with fellow teammate Alexander ‘jawgemo’ Mor narrowly behind him on 25.
We then went to Ascent, where Paper Rex again led at the half, but this time they closed things out following a back-and-forth that ended 13-11. Star player Ilya ‘something’ Petrov and IGL Khalish ‘d4v41’ Rusyaidee shone here, with 25 and 24 kills respectively.
Third map Bind never looked in doubt for EG, who ended the half 9-3 before taking the map 13-5. On the brink of glory, EG headed to their pick of Lotus. Paper Rex finished the half ahead at 7-5, but EG’s attack proved to be too strong, with the side closing out 13-10 to take home the Champions trophy on home soil.
A story of resilience, Evil Geniuses (EG) proved to the world why they should never have been counted out, and that every VCT season is truly a marathon – not a sprint.
Looking to next season, IGL Kelden ‘Boostio’ Pupello was asked if this is the start of a dynasty, to which he simply responded “Absolutely”. We look forward to seeing what they have in store for the world of VALORANT next season – congratulations Evil Geniuses!