Written By frss - 2022-05-23
While the results may not be a perfect reflection of this, the final weekend of VCT 2022 - EMEA - Stage 2 - Challengers - Main Event competition in Group A was really great. In the end, however, it was the favorites who won their matches, while their rivals had to resign themselves to defeat.
Fnatic was a huge favorite in the match against OG LDN Utd after winning the week before against FunPlus Phoenix. On the other hand, the team led by Ričardas "Boo" Lukaševičius lost their first game against Acend, where they, however, put up a fight against their opponent. The match between Fnatic and OG LDNU, however, was ultimately not evenly matched. The match started on Haven, where Fnatic surprised quite a bit with their composition. Emir "Alfajer" Ali Beder played as the duelist at the time, while Nikita "Derke" Sirmitev played as Chamber. As it turned out, this was a fantastic decision by Fnatic, as their game looked really great. Right from the first pistol round in this match, Fnatic showed that they were going to win this match with confidence. This was also the case as Haven ended up being won by the team led by Jake "Boaster" Howlett by the score of 13-4. The absolute best player on the server was Derke who earned 26 eliminations and only 6 deaths. Additionally, Derke at Haven scored a triple kill as many as six times.
However, the first map was chosen by the OG LDNU, so I guess things only had to get worse after that. The next map, however, was Fnatic's choice, which heralded an even tougher challenge for OG LDNU, and so it was. For the first time in VCT EMEA Stage 2 we witnessed a 13-0 score. This game was absolutely dominated by Fnatic, and especially by the 19-year-old Finn, who outclassed his rivals. Interestingly Lukas "feqew" Petrauskas had the most first bloods in this match, 6, but it didn't help his team to even make a real fight with their opponent. Currently, Fnatic is in a great position in Group A after two wins against FPX and OG LDNU. Above all, the first one was very important, because the fight for the playoffs in Group A will be really close. OG LDN Utd's next opponent will be G2 Esports, while Fnatic will face world champions, Acend.
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Last Saturday, G2 Esports faced FunPlus Phoenix in the second match of this weekend's group. A week earlier, G2 defeated FOKUS, while FPX in turn lost their match against Fnatic. Nevertheless, according to many, the team led by Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow was the favorite in this match. As it turned out, not without reason. The match started on Fracture, which was G2's choice. A week earlier on the same map they had beaten FOKUS 14-12 and they were certainly hoping for a similar scenario in the game against FPX, which started really well for G2. At one point they were leading by a score of 5-1, but FPX made up for it and the first half ended in a 6-6 tie. After the change of sides it was FPX who took the initiative on the attacking side. By winning 4 rounds in a row they increased their lead to 10-6 where G2 tried to fight back. In the end, however, it wasn't enough for the European champions, who won Fracture 13-9. A great map was mainly played by Ardis "ardiis" Svarenieks and Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow, but you really have to praise each and every FPX player for this map, as they all did a great job. Interestingly, out of 22 rounds in this game, FPX players scored a whopping 16 first bloods, something that G2 Esports players were unable to handle. Despite losing on their map, which was Fracture, G2 was not going to give this match away easily.
FPX's choice was Ascent, which historically G2 has quite enjoyed playing. Both teams surprised very hard with their compositions. For example, G2 Esports played Žygimantas "nukkye" Chmieliauskas as Raze and as Sova. In FPX, Andrey "Shao" Kiprsky, who previously usually opted for Sova, decided to play Fade. G2 couldn't deal with the Russian's choice very well from the start, as Fade brilliantly cooled down his rival's urges. However, the team led by nukkye also had their hero on this map, as Aaro "hoody" Peltokangas playing as KAY/O was in great form. After the first half, FPX led 8-4, but after the change of sides, it was G2 who took the initiative, mainly thanks to Finn. At one point, G2 even jumped out to a 9-8 lead, but then FPX players woke up. With the score of 10-9 for Oscar Cañellas "m1xwell" Colocho's team, Pontus "Zyppan" Eek and his mates reached the peak of their skills and won 4 rounds in a row, which finally gave them the victory on Ascent with the score of 13-10, and the whole game ended with FPX winning 2-0. Despite the fact that G2 didn't win a single map in this game, they presented themselves quite well and they can look optimistically to the future. For FPX this match was very important to get back on the winning track after the defeat against Fnatic in the first week. Now both teams from Saturday's competition have one win and one loss in the league table. Both G2 Esports and FunPlus Phoenix will approach their next matches as favorites, as G2 will face OG LDN Utd and FPX's opponent will be FOKUS.
The last match in Group A last weekend was a clash between Acend and FOKUS. In the first round, the world champions defeated OG LDN Utd by a score of 2-0, while FOKUS lost to G2 Esports, where both maps were incredibly close and it didn't take long for FOKUS to actually enjoy their first VCT 2022 - EMEA - Stage 2 - Challengers - Main Event win. In this match, however, the favorite could only be one and it was the world champions. With a refreshed line-up featuring and Vakaris "vakk" Bebravičius, Acend will once again want to fight for the biggest successes. For that to happen, however, it is necessary to win matches against teams like FOKUS, which as it turned out, was not an easy challenge. The rivalry started on Bind, which historically has been an absolutely brilliant map for Acend and it was also their choice. FOKUS, however, surprised their opponent quite a bit on the sandy arena as they played very well as a team. After several winning rounds by the team that played VRL - DACH: Evolution - Stage 1 - Main Event in the previous split, a flash of genius was shown by Mehmet Yağız "cNed" İpek. The Turkish player showed how dangerous he can be in absolutely any situation with just the Sheriff in his hand.
In the end, these flashes on the Acend side were not enough for Bind, and the FOKUS players went into the break with smiles on their lips after defeating the world champions in their arena by a score of 13-7. Then it was time for FOKUS' pick, which was Ascent. Patryk "starxo" Kopczynski was in great form there, just like the rest of his team. From the beginning of the second map Acend dictated the terms of the game to their rivals, which eventually translated into a controlled victory of Acend on Ascent 13-8. Decider in this match was Icebox, which was really very evenly matched right from the start. However, Acend had something in their ranks that FOKUS doesn’t have - starxo.
The 20-year-old Pole on Icebox decided to pick Chamber and it was a brilliant decision, as he regularly eliminated his opponents. In total starxo on the last map scored 27 of them, with only 11 deaths. Additionally, he had as many as 7 first bloods, and he gave up such a blood only once. It was mainly thanks to the great performance from starxo that Acend finally won their match against FOKUS 2-1, taking Icebox 13-9. FOKUS, despite two defeats can really be satisfied with their game so far, they showed great performance against G2 Esports and Acend, so the huge potential in this young team is really visible. The next match will not be easier for them as their rival in the third week of competition will be the European champion, FunPlus Phoenix. On the other hand, Acend's rival will be Fnatic. Currently, both teams have won their two games, but this time one of them will have to accept defeat. Who will it be? We will find out this Saturday.
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