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Esports: Champions Tour 2023 Sao Paolo Wednesday preview

The action continues at Champions Tour 2023: LOCK//IN Sao Paulo on Wednesday, with the third round of matches from the opening tournament of Riot Games’ VALORANT circuit in 2023. 

We have already said goodbye to KOI and DetonatioN after an action-packed opening foray and we will say goodbye to three more teams on Wednesday, with the best of one format at this tournament meaning there are no second chances. 

Heretics, Evil Geniuses, Talon, MIBR, LOUD and Gen.G all enter the fray on Wednesday in the Alpha Bracket and you can find all the details below.

Fascinating starter between well matched pair

WhatHeretics vs Evil Geniuses
WhereSão Paulo, Brazil
When17:00, Wednesday 15th February
How to watchYouTube, Twitch
OddsHeretics 4/7, Evil Geniuses 5/4

The Wednesday opener is a fascinating clash between a pair of teams with solid claims, but the market has favoured Heretics, and that is of little surprise. 

The European roster won the Crossfire Cup in November, defeating the likes of KOI and Rebels Gaming on the way, and they were far from disgraced when reaching the quarter-final of Red Bull Home Ground in December. 

The roster is led by the former core of G2 - Mixwell, AvovA, zeek and keloqz - and the fact they have stuck together for so long bodes well as they enter a tournament full of teams whose rosters have changed over the winter. 

Evil Geniuses is another side who have made minimal changes, however, and they enter the tournament with a line-up of Boostio, C0M, BcJ, jawgemo and Ethan. There is a strong mix of youth and experience in the ranks but they were struggling domestically when last seen in officials back in August. 

This match should be highly competitive but slight preference has to go to Heretics, who showed they could mix it with the top teams in the world at Red Bull Home Ground. 

Heretics are 5/2 to win the series 2-1 and that might be the way to go, with Evil Geniuses likely to put up stern resistance in a back-and-forth series. 

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Talon well placed for upset win

WhatTalon Esports vs MIBR
WhereSão Paulo, Brazil
When20:00, Wednesday 15th February
How to watchYouTube, Twitch
OddsTalon Esports 11/8, MIBR  8/15

There is no doubt who the crowd will be cheering for in this match as home favourites MIBR take on Thailand’s Talon Esports in the second game of the evening. 

MIBR were unable to make the year-ending Champions event in Istanbul but ended the year with a good performance at the Movistar LATAM Gods tournament, finishing second to Leviatan in the Grand Final, a team they had already beaten at that event. 

That was their first tournament with their new roster and with time to prepare in the off season, they are one of the dark horses to make a deep run at this tournament. 

Similar comments could apply to Talon, however, who made the group stage of several international tournaments last year, including VCT: Champions in Istanbul. That experience should not be underestimated, especially as they were dominant domestically in 2022. 

There is plenty of reason to believe this will be a close series but given their success domestically, and international experience, it is a surprise that Talon are the outsiders in this match. 

Talon has an excellent chance of coming away with the spoils and odds of 10/3 for the Thailand-based squad to win the series 2-0 are particularly appealing. 

LOUD should record easy win

WhatLOUD vs Gen.G
WhereSão Paulo, Brazil
When23:00, Wednesday 15th February
How to watchYouTube, Twitch
OddsLOUD 1/6, Gen.G 7/2

Another South American squad enters the fray to close Wednesday’s action and it is the World Champions of 2022, LOUD, who are one of the tournament favourites. 

They produced a devastating run at VCT: Champions 2022, dropping just one series on the way to a 3-1 victory over OpTic in the Grand Final. Incidentally, OpTic were the team they lost to in the group stage and an overall map score of 14-3 shows their dominance. 

They will be reeling from the loss of pANcada and Sacy in the off-season, but tuyz and cauanzin are more than worthy replacements. The core of aspas, saadhak and Less remains intact and it is hard to see anything other than a LOUD victory here. 

Gen.G failed to qualify for the VCT: Champions tournament after a 3-0 defeat to EDward Gaming in the Grand Final of the Last Chance Qualifier and were unable to pick up a series in the GES Asia tournament at the end of the year. 

That does not bode well as they come up against a powerhouse of the scene and the odds accurately reflect Gen.G’s task. LOUD are 4/6 to win the game 2-0 and that is the most likely outcome. 

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