This article is part of our VALORANT series.
VALORANT Champions is here, with the best teams in the world competing for the world title in 2022. The defending champions, M3 Champions aren't here to defend their crowns but the other heavy hitters are ready to make a splash with Fnatic, OpTic and FunPlus Phoenix all looking to prove they were the top teams in 2022. Here's a look at some players to target and fade for VALORANT Champions 2022.
Players to Target
f0rsaken and Paper Rex came up just short at Masters Copenhagen, losing in the grand final to FunPlus Phoenix. Coming into Champions this is a roster looking to go all the way and it's impossible to look past their superstar sniper f0rsaken. One of the most impressive players in the world, f0rsaken has shown the talent to compete with the top players, and now comes into Champions as one of the early favorites for the title. Paper Rex open their tournament against EDward Gaming, a match that should have plenty of fantasy upside for the entire roster.
The best player of 2022 and the best player in the world coming into Champions 2022, Derke. There is no debate, there's no argument. yay doesn't compare, aspas struggled at Masters Copenhagen, Derke is the best player in the world and his stats are simply absurd. In Stage 2 Main Event Derke put together a 1.28 rating on his way to the title before falling just short in Copenhagen. Derke on Chamber is the most valuable fantasy asset in the world and one worth targeting in all formats. Fnatic is among the tournament favorites and have the talent to dominate in Istanbul.
aspas may have struggled in Copenhagen but it's impossible to fade one of the most talented players in the world coming into Champions. aspas has been dominating the Brazilian scene, putting together consistently incredible performances while also keeping LOUD firmly atop the rankings in South America. The incredible star was also the key factor in sending LOUD to the grand finals in VCT Masters: Reykjavik Stage 1. LOUD as a whole had a rough time in Copenhagen but this is a roster coming in with a fresh mindset and aspas in otherworldly form, including a 1.30 rating and 263 ACS over the past three months.
Players to Fade
100 Thieves making Champions was not something most would have on their bingo cards coming into the second split and yet here they are. Not to say Derrek hasn't been valuable, but he's clearly taken a more supportive role in the second half of the split and that role knocks down a good bit of his fantasy value. Derrek has a 0.98 rating over the past three months with a disappointing ACS below 200 (194.55) and a nearly irrelevant amount of first bloods. Simply put Derrek has taken over the more supportive roles on 100 Thieves, something working on the server, but not working on the stat sheet for fantasy managers.
AYRIN and XSET are at Champions. That's about all that can be said about North America's most disappointing winners. This is a roster that has done well in North America while failing to even compete internationally. AYRIN is easily the least fantasy-relevant of this roster, simply due to dephh's occasional flashes of aggression. There's really not many paths to fantasy relevance for AYRIN, his role on sentinels doesn't offer much and his play on those sentinels has been less than impressive of late. AYRIN and XSET will hope to actually win a map in international competition this time though a round one match with XERXIA won't be easy.
The story with crow hasn't changed in over a year of international competition for the Japanese support. crow and ZETA Division are a truly excellent team domestically and one with upset potential even on the international stage. Despite that crow just doesn't offer a lot of fantasy value due to his more passive and supportive role on the team leaving him with just 115 ADR over the last three months. ZETA Division making a top four run, or even further, isn't out of the question, simply look at Masters: Reykjavik to see the potential this team can offer. The path to fantasy relevance for crow really just doesn't exist, he has some variance but his best matches are rarely fantasy relevant, ZETA win or lose off of their star fraggers, and crows hasn't shown the potential to pick up that slack, even at his best.
Stats courtesy of Thespike.gg