nav logo

Hit enter to search or ESC to close

With Fnatic’s win over 100 Thieves, every team from the Europe, Middle East and Africa region at Champions Istanbul has qualified for playoffs. The three EMEA teams at Champions — FunPlus Phoenix, Team Liquid and Fnatic — were all able to escape their groups; however, none of them were in first seed.

At the start of the final day of the group stage, North America were poised to be the region that completed the feat. OpTic Gaming and XSET had already qualified and only 100T remained, but they weren’t able to win their rematch against Fnatic. Both FPX and Fnatic came up clutch, locking in playoffs in the elimination match.

Asked about the dominance of EMEA at Champions in the post-match press conference, Fnatic’s coach Jacob “mini” Harris pointed to their success rate at previous international VALORANT Champions Tour events.

“Has there been an event so far that we’ve done actually bad at?” mini said. “The only event we’d done badly at, FPX couldn’t go and we had half a team.”

Andrey “Shao” Kiprsky, Pontus “Zyppan” Eek and Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov of FunPlus Phoenix at the VALORANT Champions 2022 Istanbul Groups Stage on Sept. 8, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. | Photo by Lance Skundrich. Provided by Riot Games.

The one poor showing for EMEA? According to mini and Fnatic, it was Masters Reykjavík at the start of 2022. Coincidentally, it was supposed to feature the same three EMEA teams present at Champions. FPX couldn’t attend because of visa issues. Fnatic were also playing with two substitute players. Only Liquid’s roster was complete, but they weren’t able to make it past the first round of playoffs.

So far in the VCT, an EMEA team has won Masters Berlin, Champions 2021 and Masters Copenhagen. The other two events were won by teams from NA, the other “major region.”

“I think there’s an obvious statement that EU has the most depth,” mini said. “It doesn’t mean necessarily that we’re the best at the top — even though I would probably argue that — but we have the best depth.”

While there are many reasons that EMEA may have the most depth, the robust system of regional leagues is certainly a contributor. Historically, the EMEA region has also typically been the strongest in other first-person shooter esports like Counter-Strike.

“You send the tenth best team of any region to EU and they’re probably not the tenth best in EU,” mini said. “We just have really good teams here.”

More News