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Fabio | 5. April 2021

VALORANT Challengers EU: Can Acend Secure Back-to-Back Victories?

At the most recent Masters event, Jose Luis “koldamenta” Aranguren Herrero and his boys stood victorious. The first tournament for this new organization ended in a first-place finish. Even better, this was the largest and most important VALORANT event to date. Can they now repeat this performance at Challengers?

RIOT have reworked the format of their competitions. One of the three Challengers stages is gone, and instead Challengers 1 and 2 will send two teams each to the Challengers Finals, where the best teams from Europe, Turkey, and the CIS region will meet. The Top 2 from this tournament will eventually make its way to Masters Reykjavík. There, we will finally see all the different regions clash.

G2 AND LIQUID HAVE GONE MISSING AGAIN

G2 Esports just can’t do it anymore. This time around, they got beaten out of the Open Qualifier by Team Vitality. After a 1-2 loss, they exited in the Round of 32 already. Liquid made it one step further at least, but they still conceded the match against Guild Esports. The new top gunners of European VALORANT just aren’t letting the old guard through anymore.

VITALITY REPLACE BALLISTA

The Polish team had attended Masters before, but now they haven’t even tried to qualify for Challengers. Team Vitality, who have just recently added two new guns to their roster, will take their place instead. Apart from that, not a lot has changed about the former Masters lineup. So what happened two weeks ago?

Heretics, the winners of First Strike in December of 2020, made the Grand Finals again. This was an expected result, but Acend surprisingly made their way past FunPlus Phoenix. In the Best-of-Five game against Ruben “RUBINO” Villaroel and his colleagues, they struggled at first, but eventually found their way back into the match. With 14-12 and 13-11 map scores, Acend finished the Grand Finals with an astounding victory.

HAS ANYTHING CHANGED AFTER MASTERS?

Vitality’s qualification to Challengers 1 is a reason for celebration on its own. But it’s made even better by the fact that they beat G2 Esports on their way there. However, their results don’t inspire a lot of confidence in them being able to take down the big dogs in the tournament. Back in the Qualifier, they already dropped a one-sided 0-2 versus Acend.

After Masters, Heretics announced that Dustyn “niesoW” Durnas would officially become an inactive member of the team. So far, RUBINO had only played as his substitute, but now, he will permanently take his spot within the roster. For the meantime, this really isn’t a great sign for Heretics, as niesoW has been one of their heaviest hitters as of late. With RUBINO acting as their fifth man, they have already recoded a 1-2 loss to Alliance. The team might actually not make the Grand Finals this time around.

But the other organizations have quite a lot to prove as well. After two great Challengers appearances, the Ninjas in Pyjamas had a shot at making Masters playoffs. However, they collapsed in their fight against Acend and missed out on the Semi Finals spot. Now, Kévin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans and his men will try to make up for their mistakes.

The other teams arrive at this event with the same kind of expectations they have previously held at Masters. This time, FPX will try to make the jump into the Grand Finals, and Team Vitality will get the opportunity to stop them early on. In this Single Elimination bracket, there won’t be any second chances. All teams in attendance will have to show peak form from the first round onwards.