With the Group Stage over, we finally have our final eight teams ready to battle it out in the Masters 3 playoffs.
Vision Strikers, Acend, Envy, KRU, 100 Thieves, and Gambit will be fighting for first place over the weekend in the finals.
Here are our top five takeaways from the Group Stage, allowing us to make some predictions about what we'll see this weekend.
1. Sentinels are mortal
We've seen Sentinels lose online matches to NA teams, but had never seen them lose an international LAN match until the last round of the Group Stage against G2.
All credit goes to G2 for being the first international team to figure Sentinels out. They finally look mortal.
Here's the thing, though. I don't think Sentinels took the loss too hard. In fact, I think they've been banning Ascent as a smokescreen. They probably have some banger strats we haven't seen yet.
This was only the Group Stage and Sentinels had already qualified for playoffs when they lost. In my opinion, they would have rather lost than given away strategies they can use in the playoffs. We'll soon see whether or not I'm right.
2. Vision Strikers are legit
The South Korean contender finally made their international LAN debut at Masters 3 with a ton of hype behind them.
With 2-0 victories over Acend and Paper Rex, it's safe to say that the hype around Vision Strikers was deserved. They still haven't lost a map going into the final playoff bracket.
Vision Strikers are legit, but how legit are they? You could argue that Acend could have been holding something back in their first match. We need to see them in a do-or-die situation, but they're among the top teams ready to take Sentinels off of their pedestal.
3. NA and EMEA vs the world
Vision Strikers have put Korea on the map, but it's still an NA and EMEA world.
All three North American teams have qualified for playoffs, along with three of four EMEA teams. The only EMEA team to miss the playoffs are SMB, and they've only lost to Acend - another EMEA team.
Things might look a bit different if Vision Strikers take it home, but Valorant is still dominated by the top two regions in the world.
4. Did KRU take the next step?
KRU, representing the Latin America region, seems to have taken the next step in Masters 3. After a relatively early exit in Masters 2, KRU were among a handful of teams to make it through their region and qualify for another LAN.
This time, KRU made it through to the playoffs, taking out Zeta Division and Vivo Keyd along the way.
Sure, the team lost 2-0 to Envy before qualifying through the lower bracket, but they're still among the top teams in the world. We'll have to see if they can make some noise in the finals.
5. EMEA is the most competitive region
While many of the eyes are on NA's success in recent Valorant matches, the Group Stage showed that EMEA has to be the most competitive region in the game.
Not only did the Masters 2 representatives, Liquid and FNATIC, miss qualification, but the teams that made it are still positioned at the top of the pack.
NA is top-heavy, but EMEA is anyone's game. When it comes to excitement, there's a lot more to be had in EMEA than any other region in Valorant.