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VCT Masters Europe: Team Heretics and FunPlus Phoenix make it to playoffs

VCT Masters Europe: Team Heretics and FunPlus Phoenix make it to playoffs

Naim "EnKay" Rosinski


After an exciting weekend of Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Masters Europe, we are now back with more Valorant action as we’re nearing the playoffs. Team Heretics and FunPlus Phoenix are the first two teams to make it to the semifinals after defeating Ninjas in Pyjamas (NIP) and DfuseTeam respectively.

Team Heretics vs Ninjas in Pyjamas

Both teams came into this matchup on fire. Following Heretic’s fall from Challengers 1, they proved today it was just a small hiccup along the road. Meanwhile, NIP came out of Challengers 1 and 2 after beating G2 Esports in back-to-back victories. The two teams gave us an outstanding showing that went all the way to the decider.


First off, we were sent to Split, pick of NIP. Unfortunately for them, Split did not go their way at all. Heretics established dominance rather swiftly by getting the pistol plus two rounds on the board on defense. NIP finally retaliated with a jab on the fourth. It was all downhill from there for them, as Heretics were a force on defense with Dustyn “niesoW” Durnas and Žygimantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas popping off for their side. Two rounds in a row saw NIP get to three rounds at the half as two kills a piece from nukkye and Christian “lowel” Garcia Antoran closed out the half at a 9:3 lead for Heretics.

The half switch saw yet again Heretics pull the trigger with a 3k from Auni “AvovA” Chahade on the pistol. niesoW followed up with a 4k to get the second round for his side. NIP finally woke up to get two rounds on the back of a 3k from Kevin “akukhoS” Droolans to stay alive. Those two rounds were cut short as Heretics closed out the map by clinching out the last two points to make it 13:5.


It was time for Bind, map pick of Heretics. Right off the bat a tight half emerged. NIP got to work quickly getting the first round following a great defuse in the nick of time. That was followed by three more rounds of great defensive display on Bind. Emir “rhyme” Muminović on Raze was especially crucial. However, Heretics retaliated with four straight rounds of their own. The two teams traded the last four rounds to make it an even 6:6 at the half.

NIP needed to stay alive and force a decider map. Another brilliant start on the pistol was followed with two more rounds as NIP wanted to get away with the points. A joined effort by lowel and nukkye guaranteed one round with an effective defuse. From there a blow-for-blow matchup emerged as NIP was nearing victory. At 12:9 for NIP, Heretics made one last stride to take it to overtime by getting two rounds. At 12:11, NIP denied that opportunity as 4 join frags by rhyme and Yaroslav “Jady” Nikolaev made it 13:11 for the Ninjas.


The decider came out to be Ascent. It was do or die time for both teams. This time around, Heretics on defense took five straight rounds to solidify their lead early on. Jady on Sage broke that streak to up his team three rounds and deny a blowout half. Trades in the remainder of the half emerged as neither team was letting go of Ascent and that sweet playoffs spot. The half ended with Heretics being up at 7:5.

NIP looked like helpless beasts on defense of Ascent, however. NIP got the pistol and the subsequent rounds before they got one round off the back of a defuse. Clean four rounds then would go Heretics’ way as Melih “pAura” Karaduran finished the matchup off with a 3k at 13:6 for Heretics. Much less than we would have expected from NIP.

Team Heretics are the first team to reach VCT Masters playoffs in Europe. NIP will fight another day as they will face Acend in the decider matchup.

FunPlus Phoenix vs DfuseTeam

The second winners match pit Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow’s FunPlus Phoenix against DfuseTeam. The winner would go on to the playoffs while the loser will have to battle it out against Guild Esports at the decider match.


Split was up as DfuseTeam’s map pick. Looking for the upset, DfuseTeam was brushed aside for the first four rounds as FPX got to work quickly on attack. Dfuse got two rounds in, following a successful defuse led by Radolphe “rodeN” Blanco and a 4k from Logan “LogaN” Corti. The half went on to see the teams trade blows ANGE1‘s side closed out the half with a 7:5 lead.

Another pistol win for FPX, this time on defense started out the half. The initial upper hand was denied by LogaN with yet another 4k as Dfuse was starting to heat up. Blows were being traded until managed to get a lead at 11:10. That is when FPX became angry. An initial joined 4k by Pontus “Zyppan” Eek and Dmitriy “dimasick” Matvienko initiated a straight 3-round streak to close out Dfuse’s map pick at 13:11 in favor of FunPlus Phoenix.


FPX had the upper hand going into this matchup as it was time for their own map pick, Ascent. However, it was Dfuse who got the first two rounds on the defensive side. This in turn sparked a 4-round run from FPX to get ahead for a brief while. A joint effort from rodeN and LogaN led to a clutch defuse, which propelled Dfuse to take the following three rounds. At round 10, ANGE1 turned it around with a 3k to put FPX back out there. This was short-lived as the two last rounds of the half went to the underdogs, leading to a 7:5 lead for DfuseTeam.

On defense, FPX got yet another pistol in the series, including the follow up round to make it all square. Round 15 then went to Dfuse, yet that would only be the beginning of the gradual end for them. FPX went on a rampaging 5-round streak to bring them 1 round away from victory. Dfuse would have none of that, as they strung 3 rounds together to bring it within reach once more. All their work would be denied, however, as a phenomenal team effort saw FPX eliminate the whole Dfuse squad to get that final round in yet another 13:11 victory.

FPX join Team Heretics in the playoffs at VCT Masters Europe. DfuseTeam will face Guild Esports in the decider matchup.

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