Arguably the best league in the VALORANT Champions tour stars up on Feb. 11 in the Europe. Middle East and Africa VALORANT Champions Tour Challengers circuit. Twelve teams in two groups of six will face off against each other for a spot in the playoff stage and eventually the three spots for VCT Stage 1 Masters. In those 12 EMEA VCT Challengers teams are 60 players that fans have to keep track of. Many will pay close attention to the popular teams like G2 Esports, Gambit Esports and Team Liquid, but underrated stars should also get their chance in the sun.
Here are five players that fans should not forget about, or sleep on, when it comes to the EMEA VCT Challengers competition.
Andrew “braveaf” Gorchakov on Fnatic
Fnatic’s newest addition after the team parted ways with Domagoj “doma” Fancev in the offseason is braveaf. The last time Fnatic signed a Russian star it turned out pretty well so there is little reason to think otherwise here. While not a flashy Duelist, braveaf is a versatile player that has stuck to Initiators recently and will take over the Sova role for the team. His career average on the agent is a 1.08 Kills/Deaths ratio and 137 average damage per round.
Fans may recognize him from the final Challengers event in the Commonwealth of Independent states region in 2021. On One Breath Gaming, he and his teammates made the grand final against forZe. The winner would move onto the EMEA Challengers Playoffs for a chance at VCT Stage 3 Masters Berlin; One Breath lost 3-2. Fans should keep an eye out on him to see how he integrates into the lineup and if he pops off like Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev did.
Nico “Obnoks” Garczarczyk on BIG
Berlin International Gaming did not make much of a dent in EMEA in 2021, or 2020 when the team debuted in the esport. But, the German team have made their way into the EMEA VCT Challengers league and have a few gems fans should pay attention to. Like their in-game leader Faith “gob b” Dayik and flex player Nico “Obnoks” Garczarczyk. Obnoks may be the one fans want to keep a closer eye on. He has played everything from Reyna to Killjoy and was consistently BIG’s top player in their qualifying run. Obnoks mainly plays as the Initiator or Killjoy for BIG and on his most played agent, Skye, he has a 1.39 KD with 0.24 average assists per round.
Lukas “feqew” Petrauskas on LDN UNT
A relatively new team to the VCT space, LDN UNT only joined VALORANT in March of 2021 and competed in two VCT open brackets before qualifying in the new league this year. Feqew joined the team in June and survived their October rebuild as the squad’s Jett player. Fans may recognize feqew from his time on Vitality in 2021. Back then, and up until the last months of 2021, he was a Sentinel player and held sites and flank while the rest of the squad ran into the team.
Now, he is on Jett and is one of the more exciting players coming into the league from the open portion. His lifetime stats on Jett, which quickly encompassed his next closest in Cypher, are a 1.32 KD and 155 average damage per round.
Nikita “trexx” Cherednichenko on Guild Esports
Guild Esports ran through the first qualifier without a single loss, only dropping one map in their nine match series. While the team does have star players like Saif “Sayf” Jibraeel, Russel “Russ” Mendes and a notable in-game leader in Jose Luis “koldamenta” Aranguren Herrero, Nikita “trexx” Cherednichenko is an underrated part of their teamwork. While he mostly played Cypher and Viper during the qualifying stage, trexx is a multi-agent player that can take on whatever role the team needs across multiple maps.
Across his entire career in VALORANT trexx has played 12 agents, with Raze as his most played. With Guild, trexx plays Sova, Cypher, Viper and Killjoy. While not the flashiest of players, fans should pay attention to trexx to see what kind of agents he can pull out and how he uses them to hold the team together.
Ali “AsLanM4shadoW” Osman Balta on BBL Esports
Lastly, another overlooked smokes player in Ali “AsLanM4shadoW” Osman Balta on Turkish side BBL Esports. BBL may have some of the most underrated fraggers in the budding EMEA VCT league and AsLanM4shadoW is one of them. While his most played agent this year is Astra, the Turkish player has also picked up Reyna, Sova and Sage during the qualifying run. While mostly playing smokes and support characters for his team, AsLanM4shadoW can pop off when needed, and often does. His KD so far on Astra in 2022 is 1.31 and he averages 155 damage per round.