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Esports: Valorant - VCL NA Thursday preview

Part of the Valorant Champions Tour, Challengers League: North America reaches the Mid-Season Face Off on Thursday.

The top four teams from each of the Split 1 groups will compete in a double elimination bracket, where the landscape of the Challengers scene will become much clearer. 

M80, Disguised, TSM, Moist Moguls, The Guard, FaZe Clan, G2 Esports and Oxygen are all in contention for what should be a fascinating bracket. 

With $11,000 going to the winning team, all the sides will be giving their all and you can find all the details from Thursday’s matches below.

WhatThe Guard vs FaZe Clan, VCL NA
When16:00pm ET, Thursday March 23rd
How to watchYouTube, Twitch
OddsThe Guard -450, FaZe Clan +300

The Guard have looked imperious in the Challengers League thus far and should be kicking off their Mid-Season Face Off journey with a comfortable win over FaZe. 

Finishing second in Split 1 of the North American Challengers League by virtue of round difference, they won four of their five matches. 

Their sole defeat came to another of the 4-1 teams, TSM, but it was a narrow defeat and a series that perhaps should have gone the distance. 

In their most recent match, they defeated the Split 1 winners M80 in what can easily be described as a statement victory, and they look ready to have further success at this mid-season tournament. 

FaZe were not disgraced in the opposite group of Split 1, but they could only finish with a 2-3 record, and their wins came over the two sides below them in the table, who finished with 2-3 and 1-4 records respectively. 

Against teams above them in the standings, they picked up just one map from a possible six, and there was little to shout home about against Oxygen and Moist Moguls in their final two matches of the split. 

As the odds dictate, this is a very difficult match for FaZe. They are an out of form side coming up against a team with a huge amount of momentum and it is difficult to see where they can exploit the pool to their advantage. 

Odds of -110 for The Guard to win this match 2-0 could be the most attractive, given what we have seen from them so far in the Challengers League.

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WhatG2 Esports vs Oxygen, VCL NA
When19:00pm ET, Thursday March 23rd
How to watchYouTube, Twitch
OddsG2 Esports -275, Oxygen +200

Barring a blip, G2 looked strong in Group A of the opening Challengers split and are rightly the favourites as they take on Oxygen, a side they have already accounted for this year. 

Led by the former Sentinels duo of ShahZam and dapr, G2’s switch to North American Valorant from EMEA has worked out excellently. 

Pairing that duo with the younger trio of wippie, OXY and penny, G2 have the perfect mix of experience and youth, which was illustrated in the first split. 

Ignoring their puzzling 2-0 loss to Turtle Troop, G2 won their other four matches, dropping just two maps along the way. 

That includes a 2-0 win over today’s opponents Oxygen, where they won the opening map of Split 13-4 and continued that momentum to a 13-11 success on Haven. 

That was one of two defeats suffered by Oxygen in the opening split, ending it with a 3-2 record. 

That is more than respectable, but those victories did come against three sides who struggled in the grand scheme of things, which does not bode well as they come up against a high-flying G2. 

Given the relative ease with which G2 won against Oxygen in the Split 1, it would be surprising if we saw an upset. 

G2 are +125 to replicate the regular season result, but if you do believe in an Oxygen surprise, they are +200 to win the match.

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