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In a close series, FunPlus Phoenix have defeated M3 Champions in the lower bracket semi-finals of the VALORANT Champions Tour Europe, Middle East and Africa Stage 2 Challengers tournament, securing them the final Stage 2 Masters spot in the region.

Ascent puts FPX in the lead

The first map, Ascent, ended up close as it could without going to overtime; much like map two of the Fnatic and Guild match on the same day. Compositionally, FPX ran a Sage over M3C’s Raze pick, but the rest were the same on both teams. By halftime, FPX was up 7-5 after winning pistols. Despite normally sticking to Yoru, Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow’s switch to Omen was crucial for FPX’s success.

After FPX won pistols again in the second half, M3C responded by winning four rounds in a row to take their first lead. Just when it looked like M3C would run away with the map, FPX won the final four rounds, coming back from being down 11-9 to winning 13-11.

Breeze evens the field

For map two, Breeze, M3C fought back; but not in the way anyone expected. FPX started strong with ANGE1’s Yoru and Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks’s Chamber plays, giving them an early lead. A lot of clever fake teleports and good Operator plays put them on top against a team known for their defense.

However, during M3C’s attack, they took advantage of FPX’s composition. Their main counter focused on using smart Paranoias from their Omen, Igor “Redgar” Vlasov. M3C won their first five rounds on the Breeze attack, up 10-7. As the rounds started to become a back-and-forth, M3C closed Breeze out with a two-kill Shock Dart from Bogdan “Sheydos” Naumov, taking map two and moving the series to map three.

Fracture turns out to be perfect for FPX

Fracture would decide it all, with FPX going for a surprise Viper pick on their composition. What no one expected was for FPX to put up as strong of a defense as they did — with double operators and smart positioning, FPX went into the half up 10-2.

Going up against a near insurmountable lead, M3C looked to be winning the pistol until Pontus “Zyppan” Eek got a 4k to essentially win the map and series. M3C managed to win a couple more rounds, but FPX only needed to win two more rounds to win it all 13-4. Zyppan was the best player on the most crucial map so far in FPX’s 2022 season. As for M3C, they are again unable to go to a Masters in 2022 after being eliminated in this match.

FunPlus Phoenix will face Guild Esports in the lower bracket final on June 25, both qualified to Stage 2 Masters. The winner of that will face Fnatic on June 26 to see which teams tops EMEA for Stage 2 Challengers.