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Despite being in the scene since 2020, Guild Esports failed to make a massive headway in VALORANT Champions Tour 2021. They lost in the semifinals to Team Heretics during the Europe Stage 1 Masters, and to Team Oxygen during the EMEA Stage 2 Challengers Finals. Finally, they failed to make it past Giants Gaming in the EMEA Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs.

Guild Esports were looking strong during the EMEA Last Chance Qualifier, but lost to Team Liquid in the grand finals, missing VALORANT Champions. After losing at LCQ, Guild released William “draken” Sundin, Yacine “Yacine” Laghmari, and Malkolm “bonkar” Rench from their roster.

On a recent episode of Showstopper, Guild Esports’ Saif “Sayf” Jibraeel talked about how he and his team reacted to the news about Guild Esports releasing these players.

“There was a lot of conflicting feelings,” Sayf said of Guild at that time. “There was anger, there was sadness, people did not know how to cope with it.”

Guild Esports rise from the ashes

On this week’s Showstopper, Sayf spoke about how the Guild Esports roster changes toward the end of VCT 2021 led to mistrust between the players. “The changes couldn’t have come from out of nowhere … so people started pointing fingers,” he said.

Sayf and the team had known about the roster changes before the EMEA Last Chance Qualifier. While he thinks it affected their practice, it did not affect their game at the event. “I remember thinking, ‘if this was our last tournament together, let’s make it count,'” he said.

With a wave of new changes coming to the roster, Guild went through several tryouts, with Sayf and Leo “Leo” Jannesson playing around in different roles.

“I am not bantering anyone, but I didn’t see that Champions team in them. I saw the guys I would invite to my party and play ranked with,” he said.

Graphic showing what tournaments feed into EMEA Challengers Playoffs | Provided by Riot
All of these tournaments feed into EMEA Challengers Playoffs. | Provided by Riot Games

After many trials, Sayf said he started to feel something special with Jose Luis “koldamenta” Aranguren Herrero, Russel “Russ” Mendes and Nikita “trexx” Cherednichenko. Koldamenta was with G2 Esports during VCT 2021, but parted ways after not making it to VALORANT Champions. Russ came from TENSTAR after being benched on that team, and trexx debuted in VCT 2021: CIS Stage 2 Challengers 2, but on smaller teams.

Now, with the new roster, VCT 2022 is starting out much stronger, as they rampaged through the VCT 2022: Europe Stage 1 Challengers – Closed Qualifier 1. After this outstanding first place victory, in the episode of Showstopper, Sayf said he is feeling great about this year.

“It feels pretty amazing. We’ve tried hard for so long,” he said. His only regret, he said, was that they dropped a map during qualifiers, which he attributed to playing around 1 a.m. GMT.

Sayf said he knows that many in the scene are doubting his team. After several tournaments have ended with Guild just missing the mark, he knows teams are counting Guild out. But, he said, he is excited for his team to prove people wrong, and make it all the way to VCT 2022: Masters 1.

Guild Esports pushed past teams like Team BDS and Team Vitality to take first place in the Europe Closed Qualifier 1. They will move on to play other winners like LDN UTD, Natus Vincere, and greats like Acend and Gambit Esports. They will be competing for spots in the first master’s tournament of the year.

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