VCT Europe Challengers 1 recap: biggest surprise qualifier and unexpected losers of the first race to Masters Berlin
VALORANT Champions Tour in Europe has ended its first stage, Challengers 1, in the fight for Masters Berlin. The first European Challengers Main Event of Stage 3 held four spots for the EMEA Challengers Playoffs. There, four teams from the EMEA region have the chance to qualify for Masters Berlin. The stakes were high. Some teams impressed. Others failed to live up to expectations.
Four teams that failed to qualify for the Playoffs were sent to the Challengers 2 Main Event. However, only two spots for the EMEA Challengers Playoffs are guaranteed there, unlike Challengers 1 which had double the amount.
In 2020, this headline would have been outrageous. However, G2’s reign as VALORANT’s best team in Europe has long been forgotten. But that may change. The revamped G2 Esports roster now featuring Team Heretics’ former players; Žygimantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas, Auni “AvovA” Chahade, Jose Luis “koldamenta” Aranguren Herrero, and young talent Cista “keloqz” Wassim, once more looks fierce.
G2 qualified from the Upper Bracket of the Closed Qualifier by beating Fnatic. Then, in the Main Event, was instantly dropped to the Lower Bracket by Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow’s FunPlus Phoenix squad. G2 marched on nevertheless, fighting out of the Lower Bracket and reaching the final. On their conquest, G2 defeated Rix.GG Thunder, once more swept Fnatic, got revenge on FPX, and edged out Guild Esports 3-2 in a best-of-five Lower Bracket nail-biter. The European reformed medley was then stopped by Acend in the Grand Final of the event.
Despite taking 2nd place, G2’s performance was more than admirable. Toppling the likes of Fnatic, FPX, and Guild proves that G2 is getting back to their winning ways of 2020. This Challengers 1 Main Event was the perfect stage to wrong the haters.
It was a tough sell to bet against Fnatic and Team Liquid. The two European giants were the sole representatives of the EMEA region at Masters Reykjavik. Despite that, both teams failed to grasp their first chance at qualification for the EMEA Challenger Playoffs.
Team Liquid fell to Fnatic in the Upper Bracket Quarterfinals. Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom’s side continues having unfinished business with Fnatic as their exit from Reykjavik was also due to a loss to Jake “Boaster” Howlett’s side. Nevertheless, Liquid battled on defeating Team BDS in a clean 2-0 fashion. However, FPX was too much to handle as 13:9 losses on Haven and Ascent saw the talented Liquid side exit the tourney prematurely.
Fnatic dropped to the Lower Bracket after suffering from a loss to Guild Esports in the Upper Bracket Semifinals. They were then pitted against G2 Esports for the second time at this Challengers 1 event. After suffering a 2-0 blowout loss, Fnatic were hoping to put that behind them and get the revenge victory this time around. A 13:9 loss on Icebox led to an extremely long Haven play out. Multiple overtimes ultimately led to Fnatic once more falling to G2 Esports in a 2-0 sweep. This match cost Fnatic qualification for the EMEA Challengers Finals. Back to the drawing board it is.
Despite the loss, all four teams have been given a free pass to the VCT Europe Challengers 2 Main Event. This means that they do not need to qualify all over again.
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