After a month-long qualifying phase, we finally have our 16 teams for the ESPL Valorant PowerUp India Group Stage, with four teams emerging from each qualifier. The group stage will feature a GSL format, which does spice things up and leaves an open window for some upsets. With the Group Stage set to begin from February 13, let us take a look at how Group A is shaping up, with Global Esports, White Shadows Esports, RAD Syndicate and , formerly known as NaCly drawn together in the aforementioned group.
Global Esports (Qualifier 1) (Team: HellrangeR, KappA, Lightningfast, skillZ, SkRossi)
Arguably the pick of the lot in Group A, Global Esports have found stability with this roster. While replacing the likes of DeathMaker and hellff is a gruesome job, the addition of skillZ and SkRossi seems to have given the team some new-found dynamism. Their recent triumph at the Loco Battle Zone Valorant series saw them overcome an execute-heavy Reckoning Esports team 3-0 in the best-of-5.
With the 3 duelist meta becoming popular as well, we have seen HellrangeR don the Phoenix, albeit almost always as the second duelist, with skillZ filling in as the Controller. However, it might be something of a surprise in store for their fans and the upcoming opponents; a pocket pick if you will.
As far as expectations are concerned, nobody expects Global Esports to bow out of Group A. Global Esports are one of the heavy favourites to win the entire event, in general. However, they will come up against a well-rested Team Mahi, a foe they have yet to best comprehensively in order to secure event wins in Valorant.
INGLU (ex-NaCly) (Qualifier 2) (Team: OrangeLeaf, Pixelzz, Shar1n, Thanos, THE GAME)
In a Group format that wants you to be among the half that survive, surely a team with Thanos in it will be favoured. Jokes aside, NaCly are the latest team to be backed by an organisation and their recent performances make them a worthy competitor in Group A.
They are still somewhat of an unknown quantity but one their adversaries in Group A should be wary of, considering the pace with which they seem to be improving in terms of performances and results. Unironically, it is Thanos that will be the player in spotlight for Team INGLU, with his ability to ‘deletus‘ the opponents with his aggressive Raze.
White Shadows Esports (Qualifier 3) (Team: dinO, GorbitZ, VaiBy, JoJo, Pushiii)
A team that is gradually showing signs of breaking through their previous ceiling; White Shadows Esports temporarily had to seek new players, with dinO and Pushiii taking a break. However, the players have returned, which means the organisation will field the same lineup they have tasted their recent successes with.
Under the leadership of VaiBy, the team should be taken as seriously as any other, especially with their uber-aggressive Jett in GorbitZ. White Shadows did give a tough fight to Team Mahi on Split in semi-finals of Qualifier 3 of ESPL Valorant PowerUp India, proving that, in time, we can expect them to go toe-to-toe with the best of the best in India.
RAD Syndicate (Qualifier 4) (Team: Anais, Deoxys, Mast3r, PaRaDoXks, ZBDF)
A team that has been there from the very beginning, the beta phase of Valorant; RAD Syndicate are your perennial darkhorse. While the lineup undergoes changes from time to time, the core has stuck together for a while and the same reflects in their gameplay.
Consistently up there towards the top echelon of the Indian Valorant scene, despite having bouts of irregularity in terms of performances, individual and otherwise, RAD Syndicate have one of the better duelists in the scene in the form of PaRaDoXks. Known for their firepower-heavy game, the entire lineup packs quite a punch on paper and the players, on their day, are just as good as any other player in their role.
The key for RAD Syndicate will be their versatility in terms of roles and agent selection, with every member able to switch into another according to what’s needed for a certain opposition or map.
Group A Prediction
Teams to Qualify: Global Esports, RAD Syndicate
Global Esports should make quick work of NaCly and even if they find some form of resistance, the Best-of-3 format greatly reduces the chances of an upset, with the latter able to soak this experience as a learning curve. The duel between RAD Syndicate and White Shadows is likely going to be one to watch, with both sides boasting of individual brilliance.
Global Esports should be one of the two teams to qualify at the very least, if not the first one. In the end, we expect RAD Syndicate to persevere over White Shadows Esports and be the second team to emerge from Group A, purely down to the experience factor. RAD Syndicate also have a tendency to surprise teams and have previously recorded wins over Global Esports lineup, including the period where they played under the GodSquad tag.