The new favourite
What an incredible run it was: Giants Gaming defied all predictions and eliminated favourite after favourite in EU's Stage 3 Week 2. In the qualifiers, the multinational team surrounding Swede Johan 'Meddo' Lundborg bested notable opponents such as BIG, Team Vitality, and Alliance, only to continue their winning streak against Rix.GG and EU's powerhouses Fnatic and Team Liquid in the Main Event.
Unfortunate lose vs @LiquidValorant felt like we didn't play how we usually do and our map pool wasn't good enough for a bo5.— Meddo (@MeddoVAL) August 1, 2021
Playing EMEA on the 12 of august, we will be able to prepare more maps until then! We had an insane run im incredibly proud of nonetheless!💪 #VCT
Only when they met Liquid for a second time in the overall Grand Final did the Giants concede a 1-3 loss. Placing second, the squad certainly made a lasting impression on EU's VCT scene. Before the tournament, Giants Gaming were considered an absolute underdog. But eliminating supposedly stronger rivals left and right couldn't be explained by their performance being mere flukes. The team showed comeback potential against Fnatic, recovering after losing the first map 4-13 and turning the series. In their first match against Liquid, the team of ex-CS:GO pro David 'Davidp' Prins completely dismantled Adil 'ScreaM' Benrlitom and his teammates 13-4 and 13-5.
Although they couldn't repeat this feat against Liquid in the Grand Final, Giants Gaming are here to stay and we are thrilled to see how this squad will do against the likes of G2, Guild, and Natus Vincere.
Team Liquid recover from low
The EMEA champions of Stage 2 struggled at the beginning of Stage 3. Main Event 2 went much smoother for Liquid, that is until they faced every favourite's nightmare, Giants Gaming in the Upper Bracket Finals. Losing 0-2, Elias 'Jamppi' Olkkonen and his team saw themselves in a do-or-die best-of-five match against none other than Fnatic. Up until that point, the two organisations have met four times in VCT, each of them emerging victorious twice.
As was to be expected, the series developed into a nailbiter with both teams trading maps. The decider was played on the new map Breeze and was representative of the match-up: fast plays dominated the game, as both teams gave it their all to advance to the Grand Finals, which would secure the ticket to the Playoffs. In the end, it was mainly due to Travis 'L1NK' Mendoza and Jamppi that Liquid were able to bag the series. Their Cypher-Sova combination saved them in several rounds, edging out a deserved 13-10 win, closing out the series 3-2.
Galvanised by this success against their old nemesis, we saw a whole different team in the Grand Final compared to the Liquid which lost to the Giants in a painful 0-2. ScreaM completely dominated the series, scoring 78 frags over four maps, trumping Giants Gaming's top duelist Adolfo 'Fit1nho' Gallego by 14. Although their rivals put up a hard fight, it was Liquid this time around who dominated and eventually claimed the series 3-1. If they maintain this form, they are surely again among the favourites and could very well become the champions of the EMEA region once more.
All results from Challengers Main Event 2 EU
Field for EMEA Challengers Playoffs complete
Turkey and CIS already determined their last representatives on Saturday. In Turkey, Fire Flux Esports displayed a Lower Bracket run which was outright marvellous. After losing to Digital Athletics in the Upper Bracket, they overcame teams such as BBL Esports, who represented Turkey in the Stage 2 Playoffs. In the Grand Final, Fire Flux met Digital Athletics once more, this time defeating them 3-1.
ForZe have been considered a favourite for quite some time in CIS, and last weekend, they finally booked their ticket to the EMEA Challengers Playoffs. After missing the Playoffs in Main Event 1, forZe fought their way through the Upper Bracket. In the Grand Final, they bested One Breath Gaming 3-1.
With all Main Events concluded, this is what the line-up for the EMEA Challengers Playoffs looks like:
|Guild Esports||EU||FunPlus Phoenix||EU|
|SuperMassive Blaze||TR||Oxygen Esports||TR|
|Gambit Esports||CIS||Natus Vincere||CIS|
|Team Liquid||EU||Giants Gaming||EU|
|Fire Flux Esports||TR||ForZe||CIS|
Twelve teams will fight at the EMEA Challengers Playoffs which will bring the three regions EU, CIS and TR together to determine which four teams will represent the EMEA region in Masters 3 in Berlin. EU sends six representatives, TR and CIS three each. The Playoffs will take place on 12-22 August.
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Photo credit: Riot Games