"We have a huge momentum": Pros about the upcoming VCT Regional Masters

posted by SmittyW.,
The VCT Regional Masters are going to be the biggest VALORANT tournament for European teams so far in 2021. We talked to players from Alliance, NiP, DfuseTeam and Ballista Esports. Hundreds of teams joined us over multiple weeks in three VCT Challengers events to determine the eight teams for the upcoming first European VCT Regional Masters. With the action starting this Friday, fans and players are getting excited for the biggest VALORANT event in terms of both prize money and impact on the 2021 VALORANT Champions Tour so far.

These are the eight teams at the VCT Regionals Masters EU



Group A
Ballista Esports (Week 3)
Team Heretics (Week 2)
ACEND (Week 3)
Ninjas in Pyjamas (Week 2)
Group B
Guild Esports (Week 3)
DfuseTeam (Week 3)
Alliance (Week 2)
FunPlus Phoenix (Week 2)


Before the event starts, we want to shed light on our eight competitors, so we sat down with some of their players to talk to them about the VCT Regional Finals.

Alliance: "The strongest opponent we faced were FPX"



The first team to qualify for the VCT Regional Masters was Alliance. The team surrounding captain Enzo "Fearoth" Mestari staged a phenomenal comeback in Week 2, surviving the Qualifier and defeating Wave Esports in the Playoffs after losing to FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) in Week 1. Alliance's Breach and Sage player Niels "luckeRRR" Jasiek sees FPX as the one team they need to overcome in the tournament. "The strongest opponent we faced was FPX, a team that has been together for a while with their core set of players," says the German. To him, FPX's IGL Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow is a significant reason why they make for such a formidable enemy. However, luckeRRR is anything but afraid of FPX – on the contrary, he is excited to go up against this team once more with Alliance's latest signing Alexandre "xms" Forté.

Another player to look out for will be Dfuse's Logan "logaN" Corti. The Frenchman impressed luckeRRR during Challengers: "People tend to look at numbers and stats, but his game sense allows him to clutch so many rounds and it can be frustrating to play against him." Alliance might have a hard time in the tournament, as they just added xms to their line-up. Their expectations towards the tournament are rather modest, as they see this as an excellent opportunity to test their updated roster against the best teams in EU.

Team Heretics: The unofficial title defender



The winners of First Strike disappointed in Week 1 but had an almost flawless run after that, booking their ticket for the VCT Regional Masters. The six-man roster had to make do without captain Christian "lowel" Garcia Antoran in the Qualifier of Week 2. He was substituted by German player Dustyn "nieSoW" Durnas who played magnificently.



When lowel staged his comeback for the Playoffs against OG, Team Heretics dominated their opponents without mercy. To many teams and fans, Team Heretics are certainly a team they expect to see at least in the semifinals of the VCT Regional Masters. With the addition of the Norwegian Sova player Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel in January, the line-up has only increased in power, supporting this claim. Can they repeat their success from First Strike?

Ninjas in Pyjamas: The already beaten final boss?



Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) are the oldest esports organisation participating in the VCT Regional Masters. Since entering VALORANT, the team has improved massively. In December, NiP signed CS:GO legend Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans who's given the team another performance boost. According to NiP's youngster Yaroslav "Jady" Nikolaev, they already beat their most dangerous opponent: "In my opinion the best team is still G2, it's always interesting to play against them as they play on a very high level, even though we beat them two times." As NiP eliminated the supposedly best team, who is there to stop them?

Looking at NiP's roster, the team sports some of the biggest names in the scene: among pros, Charles "CREA" Beauvois is considered the best Omen in EU, Emir "rhyme" Muminovic has been one of the most successful duelists in the VCT Challengers, and Cypher Egor "chiwawa" Stepanyuk provides a strong backbone for the team.

FunPlus Phoenix: Who's gonna be their next victim?



There are few teams that can keep up with FPX's recent achievements. Mastermind ANGE1's abilities as an IGL and captain are equally admired and feared by opponents. FPX eliminated both Fnatic and Team Liquid, and defeated Masters participants Alliance and Acend earlier this stage. Along with NiP and Heretics, FPX belong to the highly favoured teams in this tournament, thanks to their tremendous firepower and flawless executions.



On top of that, Andrey "Shao" Kiprsky is often cited as the best Sova player in Europe, even standing out in a team that boasts talented players on all positions. Like Heretics, FPX are expected to come quite far at the VCT Masters, eliminating other big names on their way.

DfuseTeam: The humble G2 killer



DfuseTeam were arguably the surprise in the VCT Challengers, displaying awe-inspiring team spirit and resolve. In their series against G2 in the Playoffs of Week 3, they recovered from a 3-13 loss, upsetting the favourites on two consecutive maps. The team consists of five extremely talented Frenchmen who played many smaller cups and tournaments where they scored some victories.

However, for the Regional Masters, controller Dylan "hoppY" Aube and his team don't want to get overconfident. They are fully focussed on the upcoming tasks and know which teams they have to watch carefully. "Our strongest opponents would probably be NiP or FPX," states hoppY. "With the addition of Ex6TenZ, they obviously stepped up their game. They have great individual players skillwise and all they needed was an IGL and we all know how good Ex6TenZ can be." Apart from FPX and NiP, hoppY also sees Alliance as a strong title contender.

Dfuse's VCT run has already been impressive so far. hoppY himself was a pro in Battle Royale games before switching to VALORANT. Making it to the VCT Regional Masters is a remarkable milestone in his career:

It‘s a 5v5 FPS game where every rounds matters. You have to be at 100% every single second during the rounds. I‘m having a second breath playing VALORANT competitively.


ACEND: The dream team which has been playing together for a month



The participation of ACEND at the Regional Masters has been equally surprising to many members of the VALORANT community. In their third attempt to qualify, they toyed with OG, defeating them 13-3 and 13-6 in the Playoffs in Week 3. What's so remarkable is that the squad around captain Jose Luis "Koldamenta" Aranguren Herrero has been together for roughly over a month. Still, their chemistry is almost unparalleled. Jett player Mehmet Yağız "cNed" İpek already showed great skill in the VCT Challengers.



The entire line-up grew as a team over the weeks playing in Challengers. Vladyslav "Kiles" Shvets deserves an honourable mention here, too, mastering a rather diverse set of agents with Reyna, Viper, and Cypher. If ACEND continue to improve over the course of the tournament and learn from the currently favoured teams, they are perfectly capable of causing a major upset.

Ballista Esports: "I think we have a huge momentum"



The team from Poland earned their spot in Week 3, wrestling down favourite Fnatic. Many fans and pros marvelled at the skills of duelist Kamil "baddyG" Graniczka. The entire team is young, fresh and tailors the own playstyle around the agents the players feel most comfortable with. baddyG is one of the few pros frequently picking Phoenix as a duelist. The 19-year-old even dedicated a tattoo to the hot-handed hero on his arm.

To baddyG, playing at the VCT Regional Masters is a dream come true: "We are still so excited that we are able to compete in VCT Masters with the best teams in Europe." Like many other teams, Ballista saw FPX and NiP as the strongest opponents at the event, as the prodigy told us in our interview. In his opinion, the strongest assets of these teams were their discipline which is also a trait baddyG attributes to his own team.

"I think we have a huge momentum and we can fight with the best teams in Europe," says the carry. However, he is also aware that they have to work on their performance, as to not repeat mistakes made against Fnatic and HONK in the VCT Challengers. Like Dfuse and ACEND, Ballista being among EU's top eight is not a coincidence, but rather the result of hard work and improvement. Let's see if they can expand on that.

Guild Esports: Third time is the charm



Guild Esports also took three attempts to qualify for the VCT Regional Masters. The Swedish team draws a lot of strength from the experience of ex-CS:GO pro William "draken" Sundin and the guidance of coach André "BARBARR" Möller. BARBARR joined the team only in January alongside Saif "Sayf" Jibraeel. According to Raze enthusiast Yacine "Yacine" Laghmari, Guild has improved tremendously over the past weeks thanks to these additions. This also accounts for their eventual VCT Regional Masters qualification.



Guild Esports can neither be considered a real underdog nor a real favourite. At any rate, the Swedes haven't reached their limit yet and still have the potential to become even better during the tournament. If they manage to implement their learnings over the course of the VCT Regional Masters, they don't need to fear anybody.

Match schedule for the VCT Regional Masters EU



12. March: Group A: Upper Bracket Round 1


  • 17:00 CET - Heretics vs. Ballista (Bo3)
  • 20:00 CET - Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. Acend (Bo3)


13. March: Group B: Upper Bracket Round 2


  • 17:00 CET - FunPlus Phoenix vs. Guild Esports (Bo3)
  • 20:00 CET - DfuseTeam vs. Alliance (Bo3)


14. March: Group A+B: Lower Bracket Round 1


  • 17:00 CET - Lower Bracket Group A (Bo3)
  • 20:00 CET - Lower Bracket Group B (Bo3)


18. March: Group A+B: Upper Bracket Round 2


  • 17:00 CET - Upper Bracket Group A (Bo3)
  • 20:00 CET - Upper Bracket Group B (Bo3)


19. March: Group A+B: Lower Bracket Round 2


  • 17:00 CET - Lower Bracket Group A (Bo3)
  • 20:00 CET - Lower Bracket Group B (Bo3)


20. March: Semifinals


  • 17:00 CET - #1 Group A vs. #2 Group B (Bo3)
  • 20:00 CET - #1 Group B vs. #2 Group A (Bo3)


21. March: Finals


  • 17:00 CET - Grand Finals (Bo5)


Depending on their final standings, players will be awarded their first circuit points for VALORANT Champions 2021 and a share of the overall $150,000 prize pool.

Circuit points



PlacementPoints
1st100
2nd70
3rd-4th45
5th-6th20
7th-8th10


Prize money



PlacementPrize
1st$60,000
2nd$30,000
3rd-4th$15,000
5th-6th$10,000
7th-8th$5,000




VCT Regional Masters TR & CIS



Not only will EU determine its first VCT champion at the Regional Masters, but so will TR and CIS in their own tournaments. Here are the teams that made it to the event in the other two regions:

The eight teams at the VCT Regionals Masters CIS



One Breath Gaming (Week 2)
Gambit Esports (Week 2)
CrowCrowd (Week 2)
Divinity (Week 2)
tyeasy (Week 3)
GMT Esports (Week 3)
forZe (Week 3)
Team Singularity (Week 3)


The eight teams at the VCT Regionals Masters TR



İstanbul Wildcats (Week 2)
BBL Esports (Week 2)
OtherSide Esports (Week 2)
Oxygen Esports (Week 2)
Cyber Skull Esports (Week 3)
Rare Esports (Week 3)
Futbolist (Week 3)
Zero Zone (Week 3)


How can I stay updated?



To stay up to date with the latest news, updates and information on VCT EU, follow our social channels listed below:

Twitch

YouTube

Twitter

Instagram

I can’t watch the games live. Is there a way to catch the action?



For those who are busy during the match-days, simply check out our VODs on YouTube and Twitch. Every game and livestream will be saved on its respective channel and you can watch any series whenever you want to.

VALORANT Champions Tour on Twitch

VALORANT Champions Tour on YouTube

Photo credit: Riot Games

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