VCT Challengers EU 2 – Day 2 : Play-in
The Valorant Champions Tour continues with the Valorant Challengers EU 2! The best European teams meet once again in a direct elimination tournament. Now, only eight teams are left to compete!
The Challengers EU 2
Les matchs du Jour 2
Here's our recap of Day 2 and the strategies adopted by the different teams
Fnatic vs Guild Esports
5 – Haven – 13
Players of Guild Esports took a few rounds to warm up. Their placement errors and lack of attention to corners cost them the first few rounds of the match. However, an excellent round where the whole team equipped with Buckys allowed Guild to regain an advantage that they never lost again. Even though Fnatic Fnatic was playing in Attack, they were far less mobile and active than Guild. As always, the Bonkar and Yacine duo worked wonders, as both players are never really where you expect them to be. Once Guild was tied to 5-5, the Fnatic seemed to be completely overwhelmed. They conceded the next 8 rounds and Guild Esports won Haven on a score of 13-5.
13 – Bind – 8
The confrontation became more intense on Bind. This is the Fnatic's favourite map, on which they shone during the First Strike. Once again, they were able to count on the excellent toxin placements of Mistic on Viper. The player isolated the defenders and put them in extremely disadvantageous positions. The undermining work of Tsack and Boaster, respectively on Skye and Brimstone, is not to be outdone. They enabled Doma to get many kills.
At sides' switch, even if the score was clearly in Fnatic's favour (9-3), the confrontations got tighter and tighter. Guild put Bind's teleporters to good use in his nervous gameplay, and it paid off. It was too difficult for Fnatic to follow the movements of Sayf and Yacine which were winning a good series of rounds. But Doma, who has saved the situation more than once, allowed his team to regain the economic advantage. Fnatic then manage to conclude on a 13-8.
14 – Split – 12
This last map of the BO was the tightest of all. This time, both teams were warmed up and ready to battle. Fnatic started once again in Attack and they deployed an extremely slow and silent game plan. Their goal was to wait for one of the turbulent players of the Guild Esports team to take one step too far to eliminate them. A plan that has worked for a while, until Guild adapted and hold their positions. Their defense finally focused on the mid and underground passages, taking advantage of the height offered by the map. The Sage of Moe and Leo have proven to be essential in controlling this key spot.
If the fights were rather equal, Fnatic Fnatic ended up standing out, especially in Defense. They began to adopt the usual Guild style, which consists of defending sites very forward. Thanks to this strategy, the team managed to lead 11-5 and we thought the game was over. But it was at that time that Guild has transcended itself. Bonkar and his teammates started to move back and forth between the sites, but each time they managed to get around opponent's movements. They came back to a score of 11-11 before going into over-time.
Over-time... unfortunately short. Even though Guild Esports was about to win a round in Attack, Yacine cancelled the Spike's plant without doing it on purpose when there were only 5 seconds left on the clock. The game ended in the most disappointing possible way, whereas the match was maybe the most beautiful of all this play-in.
Fnatic finally wins the BO3 and qualifies for the next stage.
Team Heretics vs Chakalaka
In this last BO of the play-in, the European champions only had to defeat this small unknown team. Easy? Not at all. Chakalaka didn't get there by chance, and they showed it in a very nice way.
13 – Ascent – 11
Right from the start of the match, the players of Chakalaka were flat-out. The team proved to be ultra-aggressive and took all the risks, even if it meant losing players along the way. An energy that took Heretics by surprise. The latter are more used to a methodical and slow game. It became impossible for them to predict the audacity of Snikk on his Phoenix or of Ajmerito on his Jett. If Chakalaka's strategy worked, it's because his players are perfectly synchronised and aim with formidable precision. Heretics understood a little late in the game that they couldn't fight on this field and that their best chance of winning rounds was to let them put the Spike down to force them into a defensive position.
Chakalaka was leading 8-4 at sides' switch, but found itself much more annoyed once in Defense. Their playstyle worked less well when it was not their job to create the move. Team Heretics was able to get back on the scoreboard by applying the game plan that enabled them to win the First Strike. The team advanced little by little, methodically, forcing Chakalaka to back down with each new ability deployed. The lockdown of Paura and the explosives of Nukkye were essential in this strategy. Often trapped like rats, Chakalaka players were forced to concede this first map.
11 – Split – 13
With such obvious gaps in Defense, we tought that Chakalaka wouldn't have a chance in this BO3. The first four rounds, in favour of Heretics in Attack, confirmed our suspicions for a while. However, Chakalaka proved to be more hardworking than we thought. If Niesow achieved feats, the rest of Heretics suffered from the excellent placements of Grubinoh. Thanks to original angles of vision and by taking advantage of the Cypher's Camera of Frontside, the player regularly succeeded in winning two or three opponents in his fall. In the end, Chakala won 11 rounds by conceding only one.
While the score was 5-11 for Chakalaka, the Heretics seemed to lose patience. They became ultra-aggressive themselves. Niesow and Paura began to adopt very pushed defensive strategies while Avova tried to get around the enemy with his Omen. Heretics managed to take 6 rounds back this way, before Chakalaka finally won the two it needed to validate Split.
13 – Bind – 7
Everything was going to be played on Bind. The players were all riled up on the side of Heretics, so much so that we could see Nukkye and Niesow restless. The kills of the latter eve gave rise to tea-bags that were not very sportsmanlike. Heretics struggled to contain the assaults of Chakalaka at first, but seemed to have finally adopted the tempo. It also seemed that Chakalaka declined in momentum, their movements being much less precise and lively.
The Heretics finally won 9 consecutive rounds in a row, before winning the game a little later. The team can clearly praise the work of Paura and Niesow who were imperial in their timings. Team Heretics thus qualifies for the play-off, but got scared a bit!