The open qualifier for VALORANT Champions Tour EMEA Stage 1: Challengers 1 continued today with the round of 16 and quarterfinal games streamed simultaneously by VALORANT personalities on Twitch. While each averaged around 4,000 viewers, the quarterfinal matchup between KOI and Team Vitality drew much larger viewership numbers, peaking at more than 20,000 across Jonas “AverageJonas” Navarsete and Ulises “uLISES” Prieto’s streams.
KOI is a Spanish team founded by popular Spanish streamer and esports personality Ibai “Ibai” Llanos. He first announced KOI’s VALORANT roster on Jan 5, making the VCT open qualifiers their first competitive showing. They entered the scene with a huge Spanish fanbase around them, which has been reflected in the viewership of their games. Even in earlier rounds of qualifiers, their matches similarly drew more than 20,000 viewers, an unprecedented number for open qualifiers.
KOI X VALORANT 2022 pic.twitter.com/c7tQAWQG6f
— KOI (@KOI) January 5, 2022
Despite being a new roster, KOI snatched an upset victory against Excel Gaming on Day 2 of the open qualifiers. They also won their round of 16 matchup against Straight Outta Retirement but ultimately fell to Team Vitality in the quarterfinals.
KOI struggled hard on the first map, Icebox, but seemed much stronger on the second map, Ascent. However, despite KOI going up 10-2 in the first half of Ascent, Team Vitality rallied back and brought the map all the way to overtime, where they eventually won.
Finalmente se nos escapa el partido y quedamos top 8 en nuestro primer clasificatorio.
— KOI (@KOI) January 12, 2022
The result reflected KOI’s inexperience as a roster assembled a mere week ago. At the same time, making it to the final eight in their very first tournament was no small feat. Strong showings from both the team as a whole and individual players Joona “H1ber” Parviainen and Gabriel “starkk” Marques bode well for KOI’s future in VALORANT. If the team can tighten up their gameplay and learn to stave off comebacks like the kind Team Vitality staged today, they could be a team to look out for in 2022.