Thursday, May 26, 2022

Preview of the VALORANT Champions EMEA region

Thanks to Gambit’s victory at the Masters Berlin, the EMEA sent four teams – more than any other region – forward VALORING champions. It is definitely a great time to be an EMEA fan, because every single team present has already been to an international VALORANT LAN. A few of them might have what it takes to bring the trophy home.

From the Kings of the CIS to the Last Chance Qualifier winners, here’s a breakdown of what to expect from EMEA at Champions. This region will provide the toughest competition for North America and APAC.

Gambit Sports | CIS

Gambit sport
The entire Gambit squad at Masters 3 Berlin | Photo by Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games

The defending champion made a name for himself after winning the Masters 3 Berlin. It seems like there are absolutely no weak spots in the Gambit roster and they could be an absolutely unstoppable EMEA roster at Champions if all the players are able to do their job properly.

Led by the calm and strong-willed IGL Igor “Redgar” Vlasov, Gambit doesn’t have a single star player. You have five who can tackle any situation. Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin, the Masters 3 Berlin MVP, has proven that he is the best cypher and viper player in the world. His teammate Bogdan “Sheydos” Naumo tops almost every scoreboard, while Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov is one of the most trusted Sova players in the region. Nikita “d3ffo” is the jet player every team needs and rounds off the list with his mechanical skills on the most used agent in the game.

Gambit’s greatest strength is its impenetrable defense. This makes them one of the favorites to win the tournament along with their large pool of cards. It will be interesting to see how they deal with their opponents’ anti-gambit strategies this time around.

Akend | Europe

Acend with cNed at Masters Berlin
Acend with cNed at Masters Berlin | Provided by Riot Games

Acend were one of the strongest teams at Masters 3 Berlin, but their loss to 100 Thieves showed that they still had something to do. Fortunately, you already have some international LAN experience under your belt, so this time you should be much better prepared for high pressure situations.

One cannot talk about Acend without mentioning the sole Turkish representative, Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek. The Jett meta is still dominant, so cNed is expected to drop some big numbers. It will be a challenge to see if he can dominate a group that has several world class Jett players.

Acend shouldn’t have a problem making the playoffs. Armed with some of the highest levels of enthusiasm and hyperaggression in the game, don’t be surprised if they cause some excitement and defeat some of the best teams in the tournament.

Fnatic | Europe

Fnatic could surprise everyone like in Iceland | Provided by Riot Games

Fnatic was at its peak at the Masters Reykjavik, but we haven’t achieved similar form since then. They were last bombed out by Red Bull Home Ground, leaving fans with concerns about their potential with champions. However, the Fnatic players have repeatedly said in previous interviews: They like to be the underdog. They were greatly underestimated at Masters 2 and were able to prove the opposite to everyone by reaching the grand finale.

Even if their circumstances are very different this time around, the teams shouldn’t underestimate the great minds of Jake “Boaster” Howlett and coach Jacob “mini” Harris. Not to mention the newly added brain of Martin “Anderzz” Schelasin as her analyst.

Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev still has the potential to become one of the tournament’s best fraggers. It all depends on whether they can show up that day and outsmart their opponents. You won’t have the luxury of playing badly in a single game. After all, you are in the death group.

Team fluidity | Europe

Team Liquid LCQ
Team Liquid has had a hot streak since Nivera added | Provided by Team Liquid

Team Liquid looks hot. They are the hottest team to get into this tournament if we take current form into account. They won two tournaments ahead of the champions and stormed through the Last Chance Qualifier as the undisputed best team in the competition. In fact, they haven’t lost a single series since Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom, who moved from Counter-Strike to VALORANT, came into play.

As the goddamn anchor of Liquid, Nivera will be a massive win condition for his team and his chemistry with brother Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom takes them to the next level. ScreaM has been one of the most consistent players in the world and he will be keen to show this off on the big stage as his squad is in the best shape he has ever been in.

Travis “L1NK” Mendoza also plays against some of the best VALORANTs we have ever seen and a team with so much confidence and great form will be a contender for the title. Experience Team Liquid and all the EMEA action at Champions when it starts on December 1st in Berlin.

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