Things are heating up in Asia.
The sixth week of league play is underway for the VCT Pacific League, and the best VALORANT teams from Asia have just three weeks left until the playoffs begin.
While it was certainly clear who sits at the top of the league going into the week, the first day of matches on Saturday painted a clearer picture of what team sits at the bottom and what that means for the rest of the standings.
After thee playoffs, the best teams in the region will head to Tokyo for VCT Masters in June to compete against other teams from the Americas, EMEA, and select teams from China. This will be the first time a major VALORANT event is being held in Japan, and it’s a huge deal for fans.
The Japanese scene continues to grow rapidly as the game gains popularity. There are only two teams representing their country in the VCT, however, and only one of them still has a chance at playing on stage in Tokyo in June.
While ZETA DIVISION has had strong performances in the past, most notably finishing third at Masters Reykjavík almost exactly a year ago this week, they looked a bit shaky so far in the 2023 Pacific League. This time, they came out with a big win against a team also vying for a coveted playoff spot. going 2-1 against Team Secret in a close affair.
ZETA’s biggest hurdle so far has been the beginning of their matches. SugarZ3ro even admitted during an interview on the VCT Pacific broadcast that his team’s biggest weakness is “the first map.”
The team has also dealt with some other odd inconsistencies, like losing 0-2 to Talon Esports, a struggling team, and dropping a map to Rex Regum Qeon, one of the teams with the worst record in the league (aside from DFM).
Their series against fellow midtable site Team Secret went to three maps and was full of high-quality VALORANT all around, with stellar mechanics and strategies. Dep emerged as ZETA’s MVP with some very impressive statistics on Raze.
But the pressure of Japanese fans is all on ZETA’s shoulders now because the other team from Japan, Detonation FocusMe, has basically no chance of making it into playoffs.
DFM has the worst record in the entire VCT across all three leagues, with a 0-6 match record and a 2-12 map differential. KRÜ Esports in the Americas is the only other team without a match win, but their map differential is better than DFM, and they also haven’t played as many matches.
According to several simulations run by Sam Rosenberg, an independent VALORANT analyst, DFM had a 0.24-percent chance of making it to playoffs going into this week of play. After their close loss to T1, this number is likely even lower. If DFM somehow made it to playoffs, they would have to finish ahead of several other teams to make it to Tokyo.
Before this week, ZETA’s simulated playoffs probability was at about 70% last week, just below Team Secret’s odds. Whichever way you spin it, the two teams are very close, and ZETA’s ability to pull out a win against them on Saturday might prove crucial to them representing their country on home ground later in June.
The VCT Pacific League continues tomorrow, Apr. 30, at 4 am CT with Korea’s Gen.G vs India’s Global Esports.