VALORANT Champions 2022, the final event of VCT 2022, will see 16 teams try to fulfill their dream of becoming World Champions. With no weak teams in the tournament, the teams from some regions stand out more than others. One of those regions is EMEA, which won the VALORANT Champions 2021 trophy last year.
EMEA, next to North America at VCT are among the regions that sent the most teams to the organization with 3 representatives. Fnatic, FunPlus Phoenix and Team Liquid will represent the league with the toughest challengers in the VALORANT scene.
FunPlus Phoenix have been one of the strongest teams in EMEA since the early days of the game. Both in the first First Strike tournaments and in the VCT 2021 season, they were always a top team in terms of play. However, it took them until 2022 to qualify for an international tournament.
Starting the 2022 season with the additions of ardiis and SUYGETSU, the team took their individual quality and firepower to the next level. Immediately afterwards, they dominated the VCT 2022 EMEA Stage 1, finishing in first place. Unfortunately, they were unable to participate in Masters Reykjavík due to happenings outside of the game. For the same reason, they had to compete with stand-in players from time to time during the season.
After a near-perfect Stage 1 in terms of gameplay, FPX had a slow start in Stage 2, but they made it to the playoffs by finishing third in their group. There were questions about whether they were not as strong as before, but they qualified for Masters Copenhagen by finishing second in the playoffs.
FunPlus Phoenix’s journey in their first global tournament started rough. Although they made it out of the groups, they lost to Fnatic in the first round of playoffs and were relegated to the lower-bracket. It was here that the EMEA representative woke up and defeated their opponents one by one to take the title at the Stage 2 Masters tournament.
With the points accumulated throughout Stage 1 and 2, they qualified for VALORANT Champions 2022 as EMEA’s first seed.
After missing just one international tournament in 2 seasons, the championship is now the only goal for Fnatic. The year 2022 started near-perfectly for the European giants. They finished the group stage of Stage 1 EMEA undefeated and looked much better than their opponents. After securing a spot at the Masters Reykjavík, however, their performance plummeted. They were then forced to play with 2 stand-ins in the first global tournament of the season for both COVID-19 and non-game reasons. This resulted in them not even making it out of the groups.
After the disappointing result, Fnatic added Alfajer and Enzo to the team. Both players were quick to contribute to the team and Fnatic finished Stage 2 EMEA undefeated and in first place. It was curious to see how the revamped roster would play at Stage 2 Masters. They started the tournament with a win over FPX, but were immediately relegated to the lower-bracket with a loss to Paper Rex. Here, they lost to FPX this time and finished fourth in the tournament.
Fnatic have almost everything they need to win VALORANT Champions 2022. However, they need to increase their game focus and motivation. Otherwise, they will have to settle for lower placings like in the past.
Just like last year, Liquid won the EMEA Last Chance Qualifier and qualified for the year-end tournament. However, this time around, they will be playing a different system. After the Stage 1 Masters, longtime coach Sliggy went inactive, L1NK left the team, and dimasick and eMIL joined the roster.
Team Liquid have always been one of the above-average teams on the scene, but they have never been able to become a “winner”. The performances they showed from time to time could not be spread over the whole season. As such, they couldn’t have a successful season. Fortunately, they have a tournament ahead of them where they can make up for everything. ScreaM and his friends will start VALORANT Champions 2022 in Group A, one of the toughest groups. If they can survive them and make it to the Playoffs, they can go all the way with the confidence they’ve gained.
In the end, all three EMEA teams want to keep the Championship Trophy in Europe. With Acend falling on hard times and not being able to defend their crown, its down to these three to keep Europe as the dominant region in Valorant.