Team Liquid Shuts Down Fnatic in the VCT EMEA 2023
After a decent regular season, the players of Team Liquid showed everyone what they are really capable of during the playoffs of the VCT EMEA. They managed to defeat the three teams who had stood in their way during the season, including Fnatic in the final, to lift the trophy and establish themselves as the best team in the region. Their excellent performance already has them dreaming of another stunning victory, as they go straight into the play-offs of the Tokyo Masters, the next big step for VCT 2023.
Like nine other structures selected by Riot Games, Fnatic has joined the EMEA League for the VCT 2023. After a LOCK//IN victory, the team entered this new stage full of determination and were already the tournament favourites.
And Fnatic lived up to their billing in their opening match. They calmly defeated Giants Gaming, much to the delight of the fans in the stands at Messe Berlin. They didn't know it yet, but they would have plenty to cheer about, as this victory was just the start of a great series. The team simply didn't lose any of the nine matches in the regular season..
What's more, Boaster and his acolytes were so effective that they have conceded only one map, against BBL Esports, out of the twenty-one played. Fnatic's domination of the EMEA League seemed indisputable... but it still needed to win the playoffs to establish its supremacy. Unfortunately for Fnatic, Team Liquid was not prepared to let them have that pleasure.
Team Liquid reaches the Grand Final
By finishing first and second in the rankings, Fnatic and Natus Vincere have automatically secured their place in the semi-finals of the playoffs. With six wins and three defeats, Team Liquid finished third in the regular season and have therefore reached the quarter-finals.
To have a chance of lifting the trophy, Jamppi, Dimasick, Soulcas, nAts, Sayf and Redgar had to fight their way through to the final... Easier said than done. But the difficulty didn't scare them off!
As mentioned above, Team Liquid suffered three defeats during the regular season: one to Vitality, a second to Natus Vincere and a third to Fnatic. With all three qualifying for the play-offs, it was more than likely that Liquid would have to meet them at some point.
As fate would have it, Liquid's first match will be against Team Vitality. This new confrontation was a golden opportunity to level the playing field, Sayf was well aware of this. After a crushing defeat on Lotus, the Turkish player redoubled his efforts with his Raze, even offering himself an ace before producing a superb quadrakill a few rounds later on Bind. Since Team Liquid won on this second map, it took an extra map to separate them. At the end of a second long battle, Vitality was sent to the bottom bracket, while Jamppi and his cohorts have reached the semi-final.
The festivities were short-lived, as fate struck again. Just as they had taken their revenge on the bees, the players from Team Liquid found themselves obliged to take down Natus Vincere. Even if there is still room for error at this stage of the play-offs, a win would give them more confidence as they take on Fnatic, who had just booked their place in the upper final. Things didn't get off to the best start at Bind, with the team being manhandled by Suygestu, monstrously effective. Despite going a few rounds behind, they never gave up and gradually worked their way back up the field, eventually winning 13-11. The first half followed a similar pattern on Split. But once again, Team Liquid kept their cool and managed to regain the lead, before winning 13-10. It was a nice foot in the mouth when you consider that they had lost both 11-13/11-13 during the regular season match.
The story was a good one for the defenders of the coat of arms on the horse: in two games, they had just triumphed over two of their season's rivals. To complete the picture, all they had to do was defeat Fnatic in the final of the top bracket. However, Liquid were soon dismayed, as Derke had decided otherwise. Even if they sowed doubt by going into extra time on Lotus, Fnatic were indeed the strongest team that night.
All was not lost and Team Liquid had one last chance to knock Fnatic off its pedestal by emerging victorious from THE Finale. So it was with more determination than ever that the team took on FUT Esports in the small final. With a rating of 2.11 and an ACS of 443 at the end of the Attack on Ascent phase, nAts was no stranger to victory, which soon followed the change of side. Team Liquid then showed the thousands of spectators what the expression have a mind of steel means. Trailing 10-2 to Lotus at the end of the first period, they went on an eight-round winning streak to get back into the race, eventually winning 17-15 after thirty-two rounds. Galvanised by this crazy comeback, Team Liquid secured their ticket for the final VCT EMEA duel by winning Split.
Time for a final rematch
Since their first meeting of the season, Team Liquid has had time to improve and correct a few problems in the game. From a heavy 2-0 defeat, with mediocre scores of 6-13/6-13, the team has gone on to a much more acceptable defeat. Where they had clearly suffered from their opponents' strategies at the start, they were now capable of sowing doubt in the minds of the region's best players.
In our post-match interview with FUT Esports, Jamppi was looking forward to taking on Fnatic for a third time, and he also took advantage of his speaking time to express his desire to finally beat them "I'm really looking forward to getting my revenge and lifting the trophy".. He didn't know it yet, but the hard work would pay off in the end.
It wasn't easy to reach the trophy, however, and Fnatic even came out on top on the first map of the evening. Even so, the final score, 13-11, was encouraging. It's a fact, Liquid has what it takes to compete with the undisputed leaders. Determined to get their revenge, they earned their first point by winning Ascent, after two rounds of overtime. The match was in full swing, and the atmosphere was electric.
For the first time in three games, Team Liquid then completely dominated Fnatic. They were precise and particularly good in the retakes on Haven, leading 8-4 at the changeover. To the applause of the fans, Liquid kept up the pressure by extending their lead. All the opposition's defensive attempts were not in vain, as Fnatic managed to win two more points. Nevertheless, Team Liquid performed better and ended up taking the lead in this final, winning this map 13-6.
At this stage, Fnatic had no room for error, and their players knew it; but on Fracture, they faced a solid defence. In twelve rounds, they only managed to win four, so they were behind on the changeover. With the map tilted towards Defence, it's not surprising that Fnatic managed to come back and take the lead. However, the clutch of Jamppi in round twenty-two, followed by his quadrakill in the next round, got the better of them.
They did it! Four hours and twelve minutes into the match, Team Liquid toppled the invincible Fnatic and were crowned the best team in the EMEA League.
Towards a first international title?
The Challengers EMEA may be over for this year, but the Valorant sporting season is by no means over. In the near future, the best teams in the world will battle it out at the tournament of the Tokyo Masters for glory, but above all a place in the Valorant Champions 2023.
By winning the VCT EMEA, Team Liquid has not only climbed to the top of the region, it has also secured a place of choice for this second international LAN of the year. While most of the qualifying teams have yet to make it out of the group stage, Liquid have made it through to the final. automatically in the playoffs.
In three years of competition, Team Liquid has never won an international tournament of the Valorant Champions Tour, having finished fourth in the Reykjavik Masters, 3/4th in the Valorant Champions 2021, 7/8th in the second Masters held in Reykjavik and 7/8th in the Valorant Champions 2022. By taking part in this new event, Team Liquid have a great opportunity to win their first title and, at the same time, restore their international reputation.
Nevertheless, it will be no mean feat. The team will have to measure themselves against some of the well-known behemoths of the Valorant scene, such as the Koreans from DRX, the Brazilians from LOUD or their European rivals from Fnatic. They earned their place by winning the LOCK//IN. The tournament awarded an extra place to the region that came out on top.
We can't wait to see these legendary matches, but we'll have to wait a little longer... The Tokyo Masters doesn't start until 11th June.