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Gambit Esports defeated FunPlus Phoenix in the Challengers Playoffs group stage to move onto the playoffs and a shot at Masters 2 in Iceland on April 30.
Turkish squad Oxygen eEports also join the playoff field with a win over European representative Guild Esports. They join Fnatic and Team Liquid as the final four teams in the playoff semifinals. The four squads face off May 1 to decide the two EMEA representatives at the first international LAN event in VALORANT.
The top 4 #VALORANTChallengers EMEA Playoffs teams.
— VALORANT Champions Tour EU (@valesports_eu) April 30, 2021
Gambit upset FPX in Challengers Playoffs decider match
Gambit swept the top-ranked FPX 2-0 in their deciding matchup. The CIS powerhouse was a force in their region, taking the Stage 2 Challengers 2 and Stage 1 Masters crowns. While Gambit may not be classic underdogs, they did not look as impressive in their Challengers Playoffs debut. The dominant squad lost to FPX in a 0-2 sweep. In their rematch, the teams even played the same two maps: Icebox and Split.
On the first map Icebox, Gambit and FPX traded rounds back and forth in the first half. FPX tried to put together a run of rounds on defense, but Gambit cut their legs off at each attempt, leaving the half 8-5 in FPX’s favor. On defense, Gambit closed out the map concisely off of a pistol — and multiple bonus round — wins. They started the second half with a six-round win streak and ended it with a 13-10 score line.
On Split, Gambit put together round streaks effectively, snowballing their economy into a 7-6 first half and closing it out 13-9. Gambit’s Sentinel player Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin put up an impressive score line across both games, adding up to 41 kills and only 29 deaths in the series. He held down multiple sites and had tricky Cypher setups on Icebox–a map that Sentinel players normally run Killjoy on.
Gambit join fellow EMEA team Oxygen in a European upset. The Turkish team took down Guild 2-1 to punch their ticket to the semifinals. Both teams compete May 1 to decide the Masters 2 EMEA representatives. Gambit will battle Fnatic while Oxygen take on Team Liquid. The winners will play a finals match May 2 to decide seeding for the event.
Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.