Stage 1 champion Acend meets NiP in VCT Main Event opener

posted by SmittyW.,
Eight European top teams fight at Challengers Main Event for €35,000 prize pool and two spots in the EMEA Challengers Playoffs. The European division of the VCT Challengers Stage 2 will determine its first two representatives for EMEA Challengers Playoffs this week. Seven of the eight remaining teams attending the VCT Main Event EU played in the Regional Masters of Stage 1 and have proven that they truly constitute the best teams in Europe. In a single-elimination bracket, the eight participants will determine the two finalists, who will conclude the first Challengers event of Stage 2 on Friday.

Ninjas in Pyjamas
Guild Esports
Team Heretics
FunPlus Phoenix
Team Vitality

Acend and NiP meet for a rematch

EU's Stage 1 champions Acend surprised everyone before claiming the throne of the VCT Regional Masters a couple of weeks ago. The stack has been together for only around two months, but they have quickly become the team to beat. In the round-of-eight they will meet Ninjas in Pyjamas, another highly regarded favourite.

Acend and NiP already met twice in the group stage of the VCT Regional Masters EU. While NiP won the first series, Acend trumped the ninjas in the first rematch, advancing to the semifinals back then. In the upcoming best-of-three, we will find out which team has made the better adjustments since Stage 1.

Tough competition between Alliance and Guild

The second match of the round-of-eight is also a Stage 1 rematch: Guild Esports and Alliance met in the group stage of the Regional Masters as well. Back then, the two teams were engaged in an extremely close series featuring two maps with overtimes. Guild managed to close out the match 2-1.

For Stage 2, the cards have been reshuffled: after struggling a few weeks back, Alliance seem to have adapted to their updated roster and were able to defeat Regional Masters runner-up Team Heretics in the Qualifier. If they display the same expertise against Guild, they are perfectly capable getting their revenge against the Swedes.

Heretics take on French powerhouse

Although Heretics lost their seeding match to Alliance, they are still a force to be reckoned with. With Christian "lowel" Garcia Antoran and Žygimantas "nukkye" Chmieliauskas, the team boasts an exceptional IGL as well as a world-class duelist.

They are going to meet Opportunists, formerly known as TeamDfuse. The French outfit was one of the big surprises in Stage 1, defeating G2 Esports on their way to the Regional Masters and missing the semifinals just barely. Killjoy player Logan "logaN" Corti and duelist ace Jonathan "TakaS" Paupard are two of the most promising prodigies in the scene and pose a threat to any team they are up against.

FPX up against 'newcomer'

FunPlus Phoenix are arguably among the top 3 teams in Europe. At the Regional Masters, they dropped out against Acend in the semifinals. The stack surrounding the strategy master Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow is back for blood in Stage 2 and defeated NiP in the Qualifier. In their first Main Event match they will meet Team Vitality: the team of the French organisation is the only participant of the Main Event that did not attend the Regional Masters in Stage 1.

Therefore, FPX are considered favourites in this matchup, especially so since they boast top players on many Agents: Andrey "Shao" Kiprsky, for instance, has been named the best Sova player in Europe by many fellow players and Dmitriy "dimasick" Matvienko showed ridiculously strong performances on Cypher.

€35,000 and EMEA Challengers Playoffs slots on the line

Overall, the eight teams play for €35,000 at the Main Event. However, prize money is just one of the rewards awaiting them: the two Grand Finalists also qualify for the EMEA Challengers Playoffs, where they are to play six other teams, including the best from both TR and CIS.


Main Event 1

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