VCT EMEA Winners’ Matches: Liquid stun FPX, Fnatic claw past Guild
Naim "EnKay" Rosinski
4/29/2021, 7:48:46 PM
The VCT EMEA Challengers playoffs are underway, with our the two Winners’ Matches taking place to determine who makes it to the single-elimination bracket. The winners enter the playoffs while the defeated teams receive another chance by going to the Decider Match. The Winners’ Matches on April 29 saw Team Liquid battle FunPlus Phoenix and Fnatic take on Guild Esports.
Team Liquid have never overcome Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow’s FPX side. This day marks the first time ever that this has happened as Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom’s side came out guns blazing into the best-of-three.
Liquid’s Haven map pick saw them whip out a duelist-less setup, something that was a highly unexpected move considering they have ScreaM and Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen on their roster. Nevertheless, this must have caught FPX by surprise. An equal 6:6 half had us all think it was going to be an equal matchup until the very end of Haven.
Unfortunately for FPX, this was not the story. Liquid’s pair of ScreaM and James “Kryptix” Affleck saw the duo take Liquid to new heights on attack. FPX’s defense was not fun at all for them as Liquid overcame the setups by strategically entering bombsites and simply outaiming their opponents. FPX only managed to get one round in the half, leading to a 13:7 win on Haven for Liquid.
It was time for FPX’s pick, Bind. With FPX having their backs against the wall, Liquid took the initiative by getting a massive lead on defense at 8:1. Things were looking bleak as ScreaM was back on Phoenix and was going ballistic on the duelist. Luckily for FPX, they manged to make it 8:4 in the half to stay alive going into the second part of play.
Yet again, Team Liquid came up huge on their attacking side. With the whole team doing their part, Liquid was going for that sweet victory. An insane 4k by ANGE1 was straight up denied by Liquid’s Travis “L1NK” Mendoza, with a 4k clutch on his own to make it 12-5, just one away from victory. A joint effort by Kryptix and Jamppi sealed the round as Liquid stunned FPX with two relatively easy map victories.
Team Liquid move on to the VCT EMEA playoffs and just need one more step before entering the Iceland Masters event.
The second matchup saw Group B’s Fnatic led into battle by Jake “Boaster” Howlett. On the other side of the battlefield stood the Swedish medley of Guild Esports.
Guild’s map pick, Ascent, did not go quite as planned. Fnatic took control of Ascent early on by getting a hefty lead of 9:3 at the half on attack. Fnatic was a well-oiled machine as they established dominance early on going into the second half.
Guild recuperated rapidly on their own attacking half by getting five straight rounds to make it 9:8, though still in Fnatic’s favor. A charge led by William “draken” Sundin saw Guild eventually pull it all back to 10:10. That would be it, however, as Fnatic recuperated and closed out their opponents’ map pick by getting three straight rounds. This led to Fnatic snatching the map at 13:10.
It was time for Fnatic’s signature map, Bind. Utilizing the rising Viper meta, Fnatic are known for being absolute machine on Bind. This time however, they were challenged heavily. Starting out on attack, Guild Esports managed to give Fnatic a hard time by managing to make it all square on Bind at 6:6.
The next half saw us witness one of the finest Valorant matchups in the region. An insane back-and-forth game emerged with Guild and Fnatic wanting this win more than anything at that very moment. Both teams kept trading blows, most of the time trading one or two rounds in hectic fashion. This led to the first overtime of the day.
Guild orchestrated a masterful push towards B site on their attack to win the first round of OT. Fnatic retaliated on the attack on the back of Derke‘s 3k to keep Fnatic in the game. The second OT saw an even more hectic affair unfold.
Stellar defense from Fnatic on A led to a 1v1 situation, Mistic against Malkolm “bonkar” Rench. Guild’s Brimstone planted the Spike in the nick of time and fired off the ultimate, pushing Mistic off of position. Mistic managed to get a shot off just as his opponent peaked to get the kill and defuse and keep Fnatic in it. The British-born capitalized on this on the following attacking round by getting a fantastic 3k to finish off the matchup at a 15:13 score for Fnatic.
Both Fnatic and Team Liquid move on to the VCT EMEA Challengers playoffs. Liquid will face either FPX or Gambit in their semifinal. Fnatic will be pitted against either Guild or Oxygen. These will be decided following the Decider Matches taking place on April 30.
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Naim "EnKay" Rosinski
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