After a grueling three-week qualifier process, the 12 teams competing in 2022 VCT EMEA Stage 1 Challengers have been decided. EMEA established itself as the strongest VALORANT region in the world last year, with the two 2021 VALORANT Champions finalists — Gambit Esports and Acend — being from the region. Both Gambit and Acend will be competing in Stage 1 this year alongside familiar faces and new challengers alike. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming tournament.
When does VCT EMEA Stage 1 Challengers start?
VCT EMEA Stage 1 Challengers will officially start on Feb. 11 with the group stage. The 12 participating teams make up two groups of six. Every team will receive some kind of prize money for their efforts, ranging from €8,000 for the bottom teams to €40,000 for the ultimate champion. These groups are as follows (italicized are the teams that qualified automatically via their 2021 performance):
- Gambit Esports
- Team Liquid
- FunPlus Phoenix
- LDN UTD
- Natus Vincere
- Guild Esports
- SuperMassive Blaze
- G2 Esports
- BBL Esports
The teams from each group will play in a round-robin format, with each team playing a different team from their group every week, for a total of five matches played. The group stage games will run every Friday to Sunday for five weeks, until the stage concludes on March 13. Every game will be best-of-three.
Following the group stage, the top three teams from each group will then be seeded into a double-elimination playoff bracket. The top seed from each group will receive a first-round bye and advance automatically to the upper semifinals. The remaining four teams will compete to see who will join them in the upper semifinals, with losers heading to the lower bracket. The bracket will be standard double-elimination from there, with every game being best-of-three until the lower finals and grand finals, which will both be best-of-five.
Only one team will be crowned champion of Stage 1, but the runner-ups need not despair. The top three teams in VCT EMEA Stage 1 Challengers will all qualify to Stage 1 Masters in April, where they’ll have another chance of competing on the big stage.