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Who Reigned Supreme During EU’s VCT: Challengers Closed Qualifier?

The 2022 VALORANT season has begun to roll out across the globe and Europe is settling in nicely. With teams like G2 Esports, Team BDS, Alliance, TENSTAR, Guild Esports, BIG, Rebels Gaming, and Team Vitality. Which teams flopped and which are flying straight into VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT): Challengers?

Straight out of the gate the European VALORANT landscape was flipped on his head. G2 Esports, the once-dominant force within the region, was not only upset within their first game–they were immediately sent home once sent to the losers bracket. With a competitive 0-2 loss to Team Vitality, Alliance would be the team to send them packing. With one of the favourites to advance sent home early, the event would open Pandora’s box, anything could happen. 

One of the biggest success stories from the event was easily Guild Esports. The potential laden Swedish core was upgraded to a full mix-roster this season and the upgrades were felt immediately. Advancing and qualifying as the event’s top seed, Guild Esports coasted through TENSTAR, Rebels Gaming, and Team Vitality. Almost more importantly, they did so only dropping 1 out of 8 maps, which should speak volumes of their potential when it comes to VCT: Challengers in the coming months. 

While Guild’s rise can and should be attributed to the team’s performance as a whole, Leo “Leo” Jannesson had a fantastic event and easily was one of the weapons Guild Esports could rely on. 

Piloting the likes of Sage, Reyna, and Sova, Leo not only showcased supreme flexibility with his agent pool but statistically, he was a standout as well. During their 3-0 finale over Team Vitality, Leo managed a 240 average combat score (ACS), over 50 kills, and had 161 average damage done per round (ADR). Unsure? Another prime example comes from Guild’s match against Rebels Gaming, where he ventured from more of a supporting role to playing secondary duelist alongside Guild Esports’ mainstay, Saif “Sayf” Jibraeel.

Flanking Guild Esports major success was BIG coming out with the second ticket to VCT: Challengers. After advancing past Alliance during the upper bracket quarterfinals, BIG was sent to the lower bracket by Team Vitality in a 1-2 narrow loss. After that, BIG would topple TENSTAR and end up earning their rematch against both Alliance and Team Vitality whom they quickly dispatched to secure a seat at the table come mid-February. 

Nico “Obnoks” Garczarczyk was easily BIG’s biggest star from the event. With multiple games boasting 3 separate agents spanning from Skye, KAY/O, and Reyna, while also leading the team statistically? Now that is a star in the making. Take for instance BIG’s performance over Team Vitality where Obnoks and his rather creative pool of agents held a 235 ACS, scored over 50 kills, and had 151 ADR. 

Both Guild Esports and BIG need to be considered some serious threats as we approach VCT: Challengers 1. With some of the best European teams out of attendance in favour of the new breed, the world needs to take note; not everything is as it once was–there is likely going to be some upsets in the not too distant future that could shake up EMEA’s international presence. 

Images via Riot Games

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