12th July 2021 – 1:51pm
Phase 3 of the VCT continues! After a first week full of surprises, this second week was dedicated to the Main Event of the Challengers EU 1, where the 8 best teams from Europe were fighting for the EMEA Challengers spots. In the end, Acend won it, beating the new roster of G2 Esports in an almost one-sided final.
2nd. G2 Esports
3rd. Guild Esports
4th. FunPlus Phoenix
5-6th. Team Liquid
7-8th. Team BDS
7-8th. Rix.GG Thunder
The top four teams from Challengers EU 1 are already qualified for the Challengers EMEA of the Phase 3. Four other European teams will join them after the Challengers EU 2, which starts very soon.
Since their victory at the Valorant Masters 1, the players of Acend had not been much in the news. If they had reached the final bracket before the Challengers EMEA of the Phase 2, they were narrowly eliminated by Team Vitality. It would seem that cNed and co. have learnt the right lessons from that setback, as they completely dominated the tournament this time. The team won most of their maps handily conceding an average of only 6 rounds to their opponents.
It seems that the transfer of Zeek from G2 has been beneficial for Acend. Bonecold and cNed have a new fragger companion, capable of being as aggressive and precise as they are. But it's not so much the team's extremely aggressive style that is their greatest strength, it's its versatility. Most of the players change Agents or roles depending on the map. During the final, Bonecold, Zeek and Kiles switched characters at the beginning of each round, depending on the needs of the moment. cNed is also able to put aside his legendary Jett for a map to play Sage instead.
This is not the case of G2 Esports, where the players are still generally on their comfort picks. It must be said that the team is still adjusting after having changed four of its players. Indeed, Mixwell is the only one from the original roster. The organisation recruited players from Team Heretics, from Mégastitut and ironically... from Acend, in the person of Koldamenta.
Things didn't start well for these new generation G2s, as they lost their first match against their old rivals, FunPlus Phoenix by losing 4-13 twice. But the team bounced back in the lower bracket. G2 Esports defeated Rix.GG Thunder, but also and above all Fnatic, finalists of the Masters 2. They were then able to get revenge against FunPlus Phoenix by beating them in an extremely close BO3 before defeating Guild Esports in the lower bracket final.
The Grand Final between Acend and G2 Esports was largely rushed. G2 Esports saw that Acend had lost their only map of the tournament on Icebox, and chose to start the BO5 on the icy map. A terrible mistake, as they were unable to contain the Acend players, especially in the second half of the map.
Things didn't go much better for G2 Esports once they arrived on Bind, the map chosen by Acend. The latter won the first 9 rounds outright, with Bonecold dying only once during this phase of the game. Acend was able to conclude the map on a very impressive 13-2.
Rekindled hope for G2 Esports on Ascent. The Spanish organisation won its first map there, as in the good old days where it was absolutely impregnable here. Keloqz and Mixwell formed a solid tandem, allowing them to conclude on a 13-6 score.
In the end, it was Haven that was the most competitive match, with both teams alternating their winning streaks. At sides' change, the score was 6-6 and G2 Esports, led this time by AvovA and his clutches, seemed to be in the ascendancy. However, Acend players kept a cool head and adapted. They regained control of the game to win the 6 rounds they needed to confirm their victory.
Let's take a quick look at the performances of the other teams:
It's a dampener for Rix.GG Thunder. The team was not able to create the surprise again and saw itself leaving the tournament without winning a single map. It must be said that they faced the two finalists...
Even if Team BDS started the tournament well by winning its first map, the VALOTF Champions then lost to Guild Esports and Team Liquid. The scores, however, were extremely close. It could have gone either way.
The Team Liquid faced the Fnatic from the start. This time, they lost to their EMEA opponents of Phase 2. In the lower bracket, after their win against Team BDS, they were eliminated by FunPlus Phoenix. On the side of Fnatic, the team fell to Guild Esports and then to G2 Esports.
As we saw earlier, FunPlus Phoenix started the tournament by beating G2 Esports in the upper bracket, only to lose to the same G2 Esports in the lower bracket. However, the team proved to be very strong and capable of challenging Acend.
Finally, even though they have been rather discreet, Guild Esports is still an excellent team that cannot make it to the final. Bonkar and co. defeated BDS and Fnatic before falling to Acend. In the lower bracket, the team lost the lower final but still won 2 maps in this BO5.