The VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 is going to be more competitive than ever, with new ranks, leagues and qualifiers giving players more opportunities to stand out from the crowd in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. The first qualification for the VCT EMEA Challengers begins on January 10th, followed by the second qualification on January 17th.
Four teams from the EU as well as two from the CIS and Turkey will be at the main VCT event in February together with Acend, Gambit, Fnatic and Team Liquid. With that in mind, these are the five players to watch out for in the first VCT EMEA Challengers.
pAura – BBL
Together to new victories👊
Welcome Melih “pAura” Karaduran!@pauravalorant
– BBL Esports (@BBL_esports) December 30, 2021
Turkey is guaranteed two spots in the first VCT series and there are many incredible teams in the region. Your favorite team, BBL, have underperformed since their 2020 win at First Strike – but an off-season rebuild brought new firepower to the roster.
The most notable new asset for the all-Turkish roster is former Team Heretics in-game leader and SuperMassive Blaze Melih “pAura” Karaduran. PAura made a name for itself in Europe and Turkey in 2020 and 2021 as Sentinel IGL, but since he now shares an agent pool with Hüseyin “aimDLL” Kabişteke, a role change is in the future. PAura has picked up agents like Reyna, Viper, and Sova in the past, so it will be interesting to see if it stays versatile enough to try other things.
As someone with a lot of experience in Europe and on the international stage, pAura is expected to have a significant influence on the team under the direction of head coach Berke “Vlad” Kantürk. The couple have the potential to bring BBL to the VCT main event.
– Yinsu Collins
Jady – you want to win
– NAVI Jady (@Jadyleet) December 21, 2021
Similar to Turkey, the CIS gets two places for the first VCT season. With Gambit already qualified for the event, there is room for new players and teams in the region to shine. That being said, our CIS Challengers player is a very familiar face – Na’vis newcomer Yaroslav “Jady” Nikolaev.
Jady has always been recognized as an outstanding player since his HSDIRR days, and after being selected by ninjas in pajamas, he quickly established himself as a flexible fragger. Although NiP couldn’t quite keep up with any of the big events in 2021, Jady was consistently one of the best players on the team.
Now that he’s moving from Europe to the CIS, Jady has the potential to become one of the region’s star players. Na’vi are hands down the CIS favorites to qualify for the VCT, and there is no doubt that Jady will be at the center of their success.
Meddo – G2 Sport
Time to make champions. 👊.
– G2 Sports (@ G2esports) December 23, 2021
After Johan “Meddo” Renbjörk came to FunPlus Phoenix as a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive veteran (one of many in the VALORANT scene), he played in three finals against G2 Esports in 2020 and lost every time. In his own words, “It’s G2 and FPX. The rivalry should be. “
However, while G2 continued to reach greater heights, the 22-year-old star had no chance to challenge them after leaving FPX to join Giants Gaming in 2021. His team won many B-tier tournaments, but did not do well at the level above.
As someone who knows what it’s like to play against titans, what it feels like to be successful and take it all or fail when victory is almost within your grasp, Meddo is now part of his fateful rival, Team G2, in 2022 . After a year in the lower rings of VALORANT, he’s back to prove himself the promising guardian and information carrier that he always was.
This is his biggest chance after all the finals he lost against G2. Now is the time for him to take her – and himself – higher.
– Aykut Sapaz
PaTiTek – (inactive) Team Heretics
From a current G2 Esports player to a former G2 Esports player, this year is a fresh start for the currently inactive Polish player Patryk “paTiTek” Fabrowski. He is reportedly facing a move to UK team Excel in the near future, which will bring him back into the game within Europe.
Of all the players with high potential who came from Poland, paTiTek belonged to the group that included Patryk “starxo” Kopczyński and Aleksander “zeek” Zygmunt. It didn’t help that these players became champions in 2021 while he remains inactive at Team Heretics – but at least one more opportunity is on the horizon.
His time at G2 Esports in 2020 was great and resulted in many tournament wins, particularly defeating Team Liquid in the final of the Red Bull Home Ground tournament in early 2021.
Now that Excel is building an entirely new squad (apart from UK player Muhammad “Moe40” Hariff) paTiTek has the chance to return to his 2020 form and show even more of his “best player in Europe” mentality that he had .
– Michael Tsar
mcnuggets – Movistar Riders
⏰The time has come !!
We dressed up to announce our new squad from #VALUANT until 2022:
– Movistar Riders⛄❄ (@Movistar_Riders) January 5, 2022
The UK scene has always struggled with producing world class talent, but those who moved from UK Counter-Strike have had great success with VALORANT. From Fnatic and Team Liquid to Rix.GG and Tenstar, there are many players from the UKCS scene who are currently successful in Riot’s FPS.
Outside of Elric “juseu” Belland and Mitch “MitchMan” McBride, however, there was a serious lack of Irish representation at the top level VALORANT. That could possibly change with Movistar Riders’ new player, Conor “mcnuggets” McCool.
Besides having probably one of the best names in the game in EMEA, Mcnuggets will be a nice wild card for the Spanish side entering the Challengers. Prior to VALORANT, mcnuggets worked with a range of Counter-Strike talents including Jake “Boaster” Howlett, Joseph “Luzuh” Loose, and represented Fish123 in 2016.
Mcnuggets did a lot of grinding, streaming, and ranking VALORANT while balancing university work on the side. A high rank can only get players so far, but his versatility as a Flex / Kay / O player and experience in previous FPS titles could really make him stand out at Challengers.