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Road to Reykjavík 2022: North America

Road to Reykjavík 2022: North America

Brandon "Mothman" Moore


The first Masters event of 2022 is bringing competitive VALORANT back to Iceland. Masters Reykjavík is happening once again with some familiar faces and a handful of brand new ones. We’ve shared an overview of the EMEA teams that have qualified and up next is North America.

In Run It Back’s Road to Reykjavík series, we will preview each region and the teams they sent to the tournament. NA will see The Guard and OpTic Gaming as its representatives for Masters Reykjavík 2022. They’ll have some tough competition coming their way, but it is clear that they are the two best teams from their region.

The Guard

All but guaranteed

No one doubted The Guard’s ability to make it this far. The team came from seemingly out of nowhere and now found themselves on the grandest stage VALORANT has to offer thus far in 2022. With only a loss to Cloud9 in the Group Stage, everyone assumed they’d bounce back. They did exactly that.

The Guard got their revenge against Cloud9 in the Lower Final and got revenge for their Upper Final loss in the Grand Final versus OpTic Gaming. This is a team that was on no one’s radar to end 2021. Now, they are arguably the most dangerous and unpredictable team in the VALORANT world.

That is thanks to their star duelist Ha Sayaplayer Jung-woo and his knack for turning the most dire situations into a victory. He ended the Main Event with 256 kills, behind only Nathan “leaf” Orf from Cloud9. Just imagine what he might be able to do on LAN.

Young and hungry

The Guard has players with lots of FPS experience, but they are still young. Then there are their players who are competing in their first FPS with VALORANT. They are also just as young. This team is full of youthful competitors who could be the future of the esport. If they win in Iceland, a dynasty could be forming right before our very own eyes.

Just look at their in-game leader. Jacob “valyn” Batio led this team to an international tournament on their first try at just 19-years-old. Then you have the likes of Trent “trent” Cairns and Michael “neT” Bernet backed up by Jonah JonahP Pulice who has been with high profile organizations in the form Complexity and Immortals.

It is a solid mix of journeymen and newcomers, but they are all still young and in their prime. They have proven how capable they are in the server. Beating the two teams that gave them any sort of trouble on their way to a 1st seed berth and a pass through the Group Stage has this team primed for a big showing in Reykjavík.


In the post-Grand Final press conference, The Guard did not hold back about their inexperience and potential nerves. This will be the first LAN of many for them. The nervousness could potentially set in and the team could find themselves out of the tournament fairly quickly. If working on getting past those nerves has been a part of their preparation, however, then expect The Guard to make it far and perhaps even win the entire tourney.

OpTic Gaming

From a tough Group Stage to the Grand Final

The former Team Envy squad did not have it easier. While The Guard and Cloud9 were more than likely the winner of Group A, Group B could have been anyone’s for the taking. It eventually went to an undefeated Version1, but OpTic Gaming grabbed the second seed. That came by way of a 3-2 record with losses to Rise and the aforementioned V1.

Only their wins versus Knights and NRG ended in two maps. Their two losses and the victory over Sentinels went the maximum of three. In fact, the majority of matches in Group B went the distance. That just proves how hard every team was playing in hopes of making it to the Main Event for a chance at Masters Reykjavík.

Only OpTic Gaming maintained that fighting spirit from their Group. They put down XSET, Cloud9, and The Guard for a dominant Upper Bracket run to the Grand Final. While a best-of-five went in favor of The Guard 3-2 in that Grand Final, OpTic Gaming has nothing to be ashamed of. During the post-game press conference, they stated they weren’t aware of the winning team skipping the Masters Group Stage. Who knows how much harder they would have battled if the players knew about those higher stakes.

Veterans with plenty more to prove

The Guard has the talented youngsters of NA. OpTic Gaming is the complete opposite of that. The region is sending its most fearsome newcomers and arguably its most consistent team since the beginning days of VALORANT. The switch to OpTic Gaming was business and business alone. The team didn’t change a thing when it comes to their roster or playstyle.

Going all the way back, we saw them take 2nd Place at Pop Flash. They finished 3rd-4th at First Strike. They were the champions of VCT 2021 NA Stage 1 Challengers 2. Nothing lower than 4th Place has come their way in top tier North American tournaments. A 2nd Place ending to Masters Berlin may be the height of their accomplishments, because they didn’t perform as well as they would have liked at Champions.

Regardless of that, it is hard to argue against their consistency. The core three of Pujan FNS Mehta, Victor “Victor” Wong, and Austin “crashies” Roberts have been together since September 2020. Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen joined June 30, 2021 and Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker arrived at the start of August. The five of them have won together. They have lost together. And there is still so much more that they want to prove as the 2022 VCT heads to Reykjavík, Iceland.


OpTic Gaming has competed against the very best the world of VALORANT has to offer, whether under their current name or the Team Envy brand. Everything may be up in the air with how other regions have played out, however. New and unexpected teams will be taking the international stage. If anyone can persevere through the unknown, it is this team right here. They will have to be on the very top of their game if they want to survive the Group Stage and enter the Playoff Bracket with probably more than just a chip on their shoulder.

Stay tuned to Run It Back as each region finds themselves on the Road to Reykjavík!