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VCT Europe Stage 3 Challengers 1 Main Event Preview: Who Will Get Closer to Masters Berlin?

VCT Europe Stage 3 Challengers 1 Main Event Preview: Who Will Get Closer to Masters Berlin?

Naim "EnKay" Rosinski

7/6/2021, 5:18:24 PM


Valorant Champions Tour is starting to pick up in all VALORANT regions once more. Stage 3 of the competition is the last Masters stage before for the first time ever we have the Champions tourney. For some teams, Stage 3 is the most important one of all. Not accumulating enough Circuit Points throughout 2021 will lead to most squads missing out on participating in the grand Champions event.

Europe’s Stage 3 Challengers 1 has finally reached the Main Event. The Closed Qualifier provided some surprises, but was rather tame in terms of upsets. In other words, the teams that should be here, are here for the most part.

Four teams from this Challengers Main Event will book themselves a spot in the Challengers Playoffs. There, only four teams from the EMEA region will find themselves in Masters Berlin in early to mid-September.

Below are the first sets of BO3 matchups along with our analysis and prediction who will move on.

Credit: Valorant Champions Tour EU

Team Liquid vs. Fnatic

Right off the bat we have probably the best matchup we could have wished for as the very first. Team Liquid and Fnatic were the representatives from the EMEA VALORANT region at Masters Reykjavik. Both were extremely solid, yet it was Jake “Boaster” Howlett’s Fnatic side that entered the final against the NA giants, Sentinels, eliminating Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom’s side in the Lower Bracket on the way.

This will be the perfect time for Liquid to shed some blood. Fnatic looked somewhat shaky in the Closed Qualifier. Fnatic’s new agent composition backfired in the match against G2 Esports, leading to the renewed G2 squad qualifying from the Upper Bracket to this event. Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev and co. were quick to bounce back in the Lower Bracket after defeating Wave Esports. It wasn’t without trouble, however, as the best-of-three went all the way to map three.

Meanwhile, Team Liquid bested Team Finest and Alliance to get themselves qualified right off the bat from the Upper Bracket.

Prediction: Team Liquid 2-1 Fnatic

Both sides are considered to be the finest when it comes to European VALORANT. If we could bet on a draw, we definitely would. Given Fnatic’s recent showing paired with Liquid’s hunger for revenge, we think they will take this one. However, this is ultimately a toss-up. All predictions apart, Liquid vs. Fnatic is THE match to watch at this VCT Europe Challengers 1 Main Event.

Guild Esports vs. Team BDS

Guild Esports looked great in the Closed Qualifier. They managed to overcome Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow’s FunPlus Phoenix (despite being a tight game), after besting BK ROG Esports with ease. Guild also proved to be one of Europe’s finest after their deep run in contention for Masters Reykjavik.

Team BDS overcame Rix.GG Thunder with ease, but were halted by Acend in the Upper Bracket of the Closed Qualifier. They quickly made it up by defeating Team Finest in smooth fashion to qualify for the Main Event from the Lower Bracket. The French medley, boasting the likes of Logan “logaN” Corti and Alex “AKUMAAAAA” Lo Bello, proved time and time again they belong at the top of European VALORANT. However, Guild continues to look as solid as ever throughout the course of this year.

Prediction: Guild Esports 2-1 Team BDS

This will be another tight matchup. We believe that both teams oscillate around the same level. Yet, Guild has proved time and time again that they have what it takes to be up there. If Leo “Leo” Jannesson brings his A-game along with the squad, then Team BDS can run into trouble. However, Team BDS’ has extremely capable solo players. This is another toss-up, but we’re sticking with our gut feeling.

G2 Esports vs. FunPlus Phoenix

G2 has returned with a fresh VALORANT roster during the shuffle-mania of June. And, as mentioned earlier, has dealt with Fnatic to get themselves an Upper Bracket entry into this Main Event. The team has suffered from dips in form over the course of the year. This led to the talented G2 squad, on paper, miss out on major event entries. This seems to be changing as G2 looks fierce and motivated to bring their A-game on the way to Masters Berlin.

FunPlus Phoenix, though not as unsuccessful as G2 in 2021, failed to get a 1st or 2nd spot finish where it mattered most. Their run is riddled with 3rd-4th and one 5th-6th place finishes, including an upset against Gambit Esports at EMEA Challengers Finals for Reykjavik. Despite that, nobody can deny FPX’ extraordinary teamwork and utility usage. Paired with Dmitriy “dimasick” Matvienko’s clutching ability, FPX remains a great threat against any team.

Prediction: G2 Esports 1-2 FunPlus Phoenix

We have not seen enough of the new G2 to be able to have their back in this matchup. Despite FPX’ hiccup against Guild, we think FPX has better long-standing team chemistry than G2. This will for sure be a phenomenal matchup. Ultimately, FPX should be able to clinch this BO3 in their favor.

Acend vs. Rix.GG Thunder

The last Upper Bracket Quarterfinal pits a top dog versus the only underdog team in this set. Acend failed to live up to expectations during their run for Masters Reykjavik. Being the winners of Masters 1 Europe, Acend have still much to prove, especially on an international VALORANT stage. Their Closed Qualifier run against BIG and Team BDS was nothing short of impressive and they are sure to carry on the momentum into this matchup.

Rix.GG Thunder is a big surprise in this Main Event. After falling to Team BDS, Rix.GG went on to best BIG and Alliance to get themselves this far. An impressive feat as the team is yet to garner a 1st place finish at any event. The team led by Oliwer “LATEKS” Fahlander has done an excellent job at maintaining focus during crunch time (OT against Alliance) and shows potential with their newest addition, Mikołaj “Mickebwoy” Chojnacki.

Prediction: Acend 2-0 Rix.GG Thunder

Despite Rix.GG’s admirable run, we believe Acend will deal with the underdogs in quick fashion. Acend have shown steady form throughout the qualifier and are an absolute force to be dealt with when Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek pops off. Their new addition of Aleksander “zeek” Zygmunt from G2 Esports seems to also be doing wonders for the team in terms of sheer firepower. However, we are open to surprises. If Rix.GG Thunder can take at least one map of off Acend, we will be mighty impressed. Prove us wrong!

We will be covering the European Challengers 1 Main Event so make sure to check back!

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7/6/2021

Naim "EnKay" Rosinski

An avid competitive FPS lover that started off with covering the Counter-Strike scene and now is starting to love Valorant. Covered IEM Katowice 2019 Major as press and is now conducting interviews on the regular at the Valorant Champions Tour online press room. If I'm not covering Valorant news, I'm trying to break into Diamond with Phoenix or Omen. Twitter: @NaimRosinski Email: naim.rosinski@gmail.com