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Thanks to Gambit Eposrts’ victory at Masters Berlin, Europe, the Middle East and Africa region will be sending four teams — more than any other region — to VALORANT Champions. It’s definitely a great time to be an EMEA fan because every single team in attendance has been to an international VALORANT LAN before. A couple of them could have what it takes to bring the trophy home.
From the kings of the Commonwealth of Independent States to the Last Chance Qualifier winners, here is a breakdown of what to expect from EMEA at Champions. This region will give North America and APAC the steepest competition.
Gambit Esports | CIS
The defending champions have become a household name after winning Masters 3 Berlin. It seems that there are no weak points on Gambit’s roster and they could be an absolutely unstoppable EMEA squad at Champions if all their players are able to do their jobs correctly.
Led by the calm and strong-minded IGL Igor “Redgar” Vlasov, Gambit doesn’t have a single star player. They have five who can clutch out in any situation. Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin, the Masters 3 Berlin MVP, has proven that he is the best Cypher and Viper player in the world. His teammate Bogdan “Sheydos” Naumo finds himself on the top of almost any scoreboard while Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov is one of the most reliable Sova players in the region. Nikita “d3ffo” is the Jett player that every team needs, rounding out the roster with his mechanical skills on the game’s most used agent.
Gambit’s biggest strength is their impenetrable defensive setups. That, alongside their deep map pool, makes them one of the favorites to win the tournament. It’ll be interesting to see how they deal with the anti-Gambit strategies from their opponents this time around.
Acend | Europe
Acend were one of the strongest teams going into Masters 3 Berlin, but their loss against 100 Thieves showed they still had some work to do. Fortunately they’ve already got some international LAN experience under their belt, so they should be much better prepared for high-pressure situations this time around.
Fans can’t talk about Acend without mentioning Turkey’s only representative: Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek. The Jett meta is still dominant, so cNed will be expected to drop some big numbers. It’ll be a challenge to see if he can dominate in a group where there are multiple world-class Jett players.
Acend shouldn’t have a problem with reaching the playoffs stage. Geared with some of the highest levels of enthusiasm and hyper aggression in-game, don’t be surprised if they cause some upsets and take down some of the best teams in the tournament.
Fnatic | Europe
Fnatic were at their peak back at Masters Reykjavík, but we haven’t seen them reach a similar form since. They bombed out of Red Bull Home Ground most recently and left their fans with concerns about their potential at Champions. However, the Fnatic players have said time and time again in past interviews: They like being the underdog. They were heavily underestimated at Masters 2 and were able to prove everyone wrong by reaching the grand final.
While their circumstances are different this time, teams should not underestimate the big brains of Jake “Boaster” Howlett and coach Jacob “mini” Harris. That’s not to mention the newly added brain of Martin “Anderzz” Schelasin as their analyst.
Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev still has the potential to be one of the best fraggers in the tournament. It’ll all depend on if they can show up on the day and outsmart their opponents. They won’t have the luxury of playing poorly in a single match. They’re in the group of death, after all.
Team Liquid | Europe
Team Liquid are looking hot. They are the hottest team coming into this tournament if recent form is taken into consideration. They won two tournaments ahead of Champions and stormed through the Last Chance Qualifier as the undisputed best team in the competition. In fact, they have not lost a single series yet since bringing in Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom, who recently transitioned from Counter-Strike to VALORANT.
As the fragging anchor of Liquid, Nivera will be a massive win condition for his team and his chemistry with brother Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom raises them to the next level. ScreaM has one been one of the most consistent players in the world and he’ll be keen to show that on the big stage now that his roster is in the best shape it’s ever been in.
Travis “L1NK” Mendoza is also playing some of the best VALORANT in his career and a team with this much confidence and superb form will be a title contender. Catch Team Liquid and all the EMEA action at Champions when it kicks off on Dec. 1 in Berlin.
Award-winning Esports Journalist @Upcomer & Freelance Host, specializing in VALORANT, LoL and CS:GO. Previously SkySportsNews & RedBull Gaming | CPFC