Valorant PAX Arena Invitational Preview
Slowly but surely, Valorant’s competitive scene is making its first baby steps on the esports stage all thanks to the hyped Valorant Ignition Series… and the upcoming PAX Arena Invitational is only going to keep the fire going. The game’s been out for more than a month already, and its esports ecosystem is still fragile, but we’re seeing positive trends across the board, with numerous events making their mark on the game’s scene. Despite the fact many suggest Valorant will never reach the hype, I’d say we’re looking at the classic marathon/sprint comparisons here. The forming of an esports ecosystem takes time, and if we are to draw direct comparisons between Valorant and some of the biggest esports titles out there, you’d be surprised at just how strong Riot Games’ new IP is.
But, let’s put all that aside for now and focus on the next big event In Valorant’s competitive calendar. Nope, we’re not talking about We Play! International that starter earlier today. We’re not talking about RAGE Japan event either… As the title implies, PAX Arena Invitational is what this piece is all about! PAX events are always a special treat, and this one will be no different, despite the fact it focuses on a brand-new game.
That said, let’s take a closer look at it and see what sort of entertainment we can expect!
PAX Arena Invitational Preview | Interesting Facts
- PAX Arena Invitational packs $25,000 in prize money, which isn’t that high considering past events. In fact, PAX Arena Invitational isn’t even ranked as a tier A Valorant event. It’s labeled as Tier B, but will pack quite the punch as far as the team sheet goes.
- Talking about the team sheet, PAX Arena Invitational already has several good names. The most resounding name is surely Gen.G, currently the second-best team in the region. T1 will be playing too… but TSM still isn’t on the team sheet. They must’ve gotten their invitation – it should only be a matter of time before they accept it.
- The event will feature twenty teams, sixteen professional esports organizations and four influencer rosters ready to make an upset. Will one of four influencer rosters pass the test and qualify for the playoffs? We’ll find out next week!
- As for the format, PAX Arena Invitational has settled for a simple system. Twenty teams, four group, each featuring five. All group stage matches are Bo3 and only the two best teams from each group advance to the playoffs.
- The playoffs pack a single-elimination bracket with Bo3 matches until the grand finals. The grand finals is nicely poised as a Bo5 contest, meaning we’ll get plenty of action cometh the 26th of July!
- I almost forgot to give you the key dates, fellas. The event starts on Wednesday, July 22nd, and ends on Sunday, July 26th. It packs a total of 47 matches, some of which ought to provide us with a few outstanding moments of pure Valorant brilliance. Fingers crossed we get plenty of 200IQ plays!
Prize Pool Distribution
Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the prize pool distribution. All we know is that PAX Arena Invitational sports $25,000 in prize money, $10,000 of which goes to the winning team. We can only assume the rest of the numbers on that list will follow the traditional distribution system.
PAX Arena Invitational Team Overviews
Next up, we have to talk about the most prominent teams that’ll be competing at the event. As mentioned earlier, PAX Arena Invitational will feature twenty teams. However, so far, only five names have been officially confirmed. We’re still waiting for some of the big guns like TSM, MouseSpaz and Cloud9.
With TSM out of the equation (at least for now), Gen.G seems to be the first name on the team sheet. This Gen.G roster was one of the leading sides in the region, having bought French Canadians on May 4th, a month before the game’s official release.
Thus far, Gen.G has won just short of $30,000 from Valorant esports events. $29,500, to be more precise. As far as standout performances go, they won three events (T1 x Nerd Street Gamers, Pittsburgh Knights Series, and Pulse Invitational), and came in second on CLG Blitz Cup #2. Pulse invitational is the most recent triumph – Gen.G defeated C9 in the grand finals.
gMd and huynh were the leading factors for Gen.G in their recent Pulse Invitational triumph. Generally speaking, they are the strongest and most complete players in this Gen.G roster, even though it’s a pretty well-rounded bunch of guys. Effys seems to be the “lowest” of the crew, but he’s the go-to support with mostly Omen and Sage picks in recent weeks. All in all, if TSM declines the invite, I reckon we’ll see Gen.G win another event…
According to Liquipedia’s Valorant ranking, T1 is the third-best team in NA, and the fourth-best team in the world. They already won $15,000 from Valorant events, but clinching just one silver medal finish. What’s up with that?
Well, T1 is one of the newest teams to enter Valorant’s esports scene. They signed a bunch of experienced CS:GO veterans, most of which were a part of the old iBUYPOWER team, notorious for their match-fixing scandal. As far as roster quality goes, they are looking pretty solid, having reached the grand finals of T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown roughly two weeks ago. TSM stopped them in the grand finals, clinching a clean 3:0 win that Skadoodle and T1 boys will want to avenge… sooner rather than later!
At the time of writing this piece, TSM was not on the confirmed teams list. Come to think of it, we don’t even have any official record stating they’ve been invited. We’re just assuming the folks over at PAX invited the best NA team at the moment, and chances are high they did. In other words, it should only be a matter of time before TSM accepts the invitation… There’s no excuse for missing out on an event such as this one!
So, what’s so special about TSM? What makes them currently the best NA Valorant team? Well, let’s just say WARDELL, Drone, and Subroza are still the best players in the game. They’re fragging on all fronts, have an excellent agent pool and are pretty viable across all four maps. Ascent is the one they’re struggling with the most, but they’re in an upwards trend and I reckon they’ll continue to plow their way through to greatness!
If TSM accepts the invitation for PAX Arena Invitational, and I see no reason for declining, the likes of T1 and Gen.G will be their biggest competitors… but with in-form WARDELL and Subroza, I reckon they’ll finish at the top with $10K in their pockets.
Other Teams That Might Make an Appearance
Obviously, the most resounding name that’s yet to be officially included in the event is TSM. But, we’ve already talked about them so there’s no point in doing it twice. We’ll move right to the next contestant that should be making an appearance on PAX Arena Invitational – Echo 8. The same goes for Cloud9! We’re looking at two teams with plenty of several good outings. We’re likely to see both of them show what they’re made of…
MouseSpaz ought to make an appearance too. At the moment, Liquipedia global Valorant ranking has them at the ninth spot, which isn’t half bad… If we’re only counting NA teams, MouseSpaz are on the fourth spot, below TSM, Gen.G, and T1.
PAX Arena Invitational Schedule
Unfortunately, the exact starting times of group stage matches haven’t been announced yet. Here’s what we know at the moment:
- The group stage matches will be played during the first two days of the event.
- The quarterfinals will be played on Friday, July 24th.
- The semifinals will be played on Saturday, July 25th.
- The Bo5 grand finals are scheduled for Sunday, July 26th.
Once again, the show starts on Wednesday, July 22nd. More precisely, the PAX Arena Twitch channel boots up at exactly 2 PM PT, which should mean that the first group stage matches start roughly an hour later.