Karmine Corp to come out on top, DRX to defeat BBL Esports, perhaps an upset over Cloud9?: George’s VCT LOCK//IN predictions for day 2

Three matchups today.

Day one of the first international VALORANT event of the year saw comebacks and stompsand day two could be set to follow in its footsteps. 

The VCT LOCK//IN tournament continues today with Karmine Corp set to face off against FunPlus Phoenix while DRX will play BBL Esports and Cloud9 will take on Paper Rex. Three of these teams will be sent home while the other three will continue in the single-elimination Alpha bracket. 

Here are my predictions for today’s matches at the VCT LOCK//IN tournament.

Karmine Corp vs. FunPlus Phoenix 

Im not going to pretend I know everything about the Chinese teams coming into this eventI dont suppose the majority of the players know much, either. Despite this, we have some relevant results to go off when it comes to the caliber of the region. 

EDward Gaming, who were taken down by FunPlus Phoenix in the FGC VALORANT invitational tournament in December, took part in Champions 2022, the most prestigious event on the calendar. They had a pretty tight game against Paper Rex but were eventually defeated 2-1. Against Liquid, it got dicey in the second map, but EDG were defeated 2-0. 

The problem is that were talking about FPX, not EDG. Both teams look relatively similar on paper in terms of skill level, but weve never seen FPX on the international stage, which is a lot different than regional matchups. 

Karmine Corp, on the other hand, has one of the most known and prolific fraggers in FPS esports history in ScreaM, who actually took up the in-game leader role for his team. I dont expect them to make it deep into the tournament, but this should be a win for them. 

Karmine Corp has both ScreaM and Nivera, two players who have competed at the highest level in VALORANT, while Ryad SHIN Ensaad was brought in from the previous KCorp iteration. He looked solid considering he was playing a bunch of different agents. 

Former MAD Lions player xms is on the KCorp roster, too, and he hard-carried his former team. At the last tournament he competed in, the VRL France: Revolution – Stage Two, he had the highest rating of any player with a 1.32 and a respectable 250.9 average combat score, according to VLR.gg. I expect xms to be at the forefront of the rosters firepower. 

The blue wall is nothing to scoff at, and theyve got a decent roster to cheer for. I expect KCorp to take this match. 

Georges prediction: 2-0 Karmine Corp

BBL Esports vs. DRX 

DRX have a lot of eyes on them at this event. They seem to only lose against international opponents and continuously dominate the APAC region. After all, the roster is the birthchild of the infamous Vision Strikers team.

They need to perform well to break through the final hurdle that has kept them from an international trophy since their inception. Do I expect this to happen at the largest international VALORANT tournament ever held? Maybe. 

DRX have a relatively easy start to the tournament, all things considered. BBL Esports are pretty middle of the pack in the EMEA region with mediocre results. If they were coming up against Team Liquid, Natus Vincere, or Fnatic, I wouldve felt different. 

BBL Esports were defeated by Giants last November as their most recent match. On the other hand, DRX took part in the ONE Pro Invitational tournament in December and won both their matchups against DetonatioN FocusMe and ZETA Division.

I expect BBL Esports to put up a fight but I dont see them taking a victory against one of the best teams in the world. 

Early prediction: DRX will bomb out of this tournament after the second or third round and go on to win Masters Tokyo later this year in June. I know, pretty bold, right? Fans from across the globe can probably share my sentiment, they need to show they can hang with the very best. 

Nonetheless, I expect DRX to take first blood, at the very least. 

Georges prediction: 2-0 DRX

Cloud9 vs. Paper Rex

Now, this is the big one. Heres a matchup that will see one of the best teams in North America come up against one of the best from APAC. 

Cloud9 have some high expectations considering the organization acquired the best player in the world at the time, yay, alongside Zellsis, who was one of the best initiator players at the time under Sentinels and Version1. 

Paper Rex, on the other hand, have the same core that’s dominated the APAC region and came inches away from taking Masters Copenhagen against FunPlus Phoenix last year. 

On paper, youd suppose that C9 are the better team. But Paper Rex are one of the teams that you dont want to underestimate under any circumstances, because they have a unique fast-paced playstyle, one which yay has said makes Paper Rex “unpredictable.”

I will say that if C9 lose this match, I wouldnt be surprised. Paper Rex are an incredibly tough opponent to face in your opening game. Paper Rexs last matchup against a North American team was OpTic Gaming at Masters Copenhagen in July 2022. They won this match 2-1. 

Im just saying, these guys are scary. This is why Im predicting the first major upset of the tournament to be Paper Rex moving forward in the event with a victory against C9. 

Georges prediction: 2-1 Paper Rex

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