The VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 1: Challengers 1 qualifiers have ended with new and old faces making the cut. The qualifier event ultimately decided the first wave of teams who will compete at the EMEA Challengers in February. Teams will have another chance to earn a spot in Challengers 2 starting Monday January 17th. 

The VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 1: Challengers #1 qualifiers have ended with new and old faces making the cut. The qualifier event ultimately decided the first wave of teams who will compete at the EMEA Challengers in February. Teams will have another chance to earn a spot in Challengers #2 starting Monday January 17th. 

Four teams made their way through to the Stage 1: EMEA Challengers #1, joining the European giants Acend, Gambit, Liquid and more.

EMEA Challenger Closed Qualifier winners

  • Guild Esports
  • BIG
  • SuperMassive Blaze
  • FunPlus Phoenix

Four more spots are up for grabs with the France side Vitality, Alliance, and Na’vi all barely missing out on a placement. Here is a recap of how we got to this point.

European Qualifier: Guild Esports qualify for VCT Challengers

Over the course of last season, Guild had minor success with the all Swedish roster yet failed to qualify for all the major events. Despite a strong one-two at the top in Saif “Sayf” Jibraeel and Leo “Leo” Jannesson, the team needed more firepower. After being eliminated by the former Giants Gaming roster at EMEA Stage 3 Challengers playoffs, things needed to change.

Enter the 2021-2022 free agency extravaganza, and Guild adds three players to up their talent level. Jose Luis “koldamenta” Aranguren Herrero formerly of G2, Russel “Russ” Mendes from TENSTAR, and Nikita “Trexx” Cherednichenko from OG were all signed on January 7th. In two weeks, Guild has gone from trialing players to back at the top of the tier two Europe scene. 

VCT EMEA Challengers player stats
VLR.GG Stats from Valorant Champions Stage: 1 Challenger: 1

According to VLR, Sayf and Leo led all players in the closed and open qualifiers in ACS , kill-to-death ratio, and kills per round. Leo leads in almost all of those categories with Sayf not far behind. Guild only dropped one map en route to a berth in the next wave of games.

European Qualifier: BIG 

BIG Clan has only been involved in the VALORANT space since July of 2021, but they’ve made significant strides in that time. The additions of Kasper “Kaspe” Timonen and Karel “Twisten” Ašenbrener back in October are starting to pay dividends. The meshing of the roster is coming together at the right time, as BIG looks like a legitimate threat heading into the next phase. 

For example, Twisten, Ceyhun “Aslan” Aslan, and Nico “Obnoks” Garczarczyk all finished top 10 in ACS. The only loss they had was a three map classic against Vitality that was only decided by four rounds. In the finals, BIG asserted their dominance and swept the series. 

CIS Qualifier: FunPlux Phoenix

European juggernaut during the early days of Valorant have moved to the CIS region with a new roster. Adding Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks, the former G2 duelist, presents a fresh dynamic. However, it was the old FPX stars that got it done to earn the qualifier spot. Longtime FPX initiator, Pontus “Zyppan” Eek, ended the week with the highest K:D ratios. 

In a back-and-forth affair, FPX was able to move past Na’vi on the decider map five and advance to the VCT EMEA Challengers group stage.

Turkey Qualifier: SuperMassive Blaze

Turkey is a sitting giant ready to burst into the European scene. Previously, at Master 3 Berlin, SuperMassive Blaze was looked at as a perennial powerhouse. Fast forward to 2022, those plans fell through with a 9th-12th place finish at Masters and a number of roster changes. 

Regardless, SMB ran through the Turkish qualifier with relative ease, only dropping one map in Grand Finals. Two of their players finished top five in ACS, with Baran “izzy” Yılmaz ending with a staggering 272.4 ACS on Jett. SMB was in impressive form in the win.

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Blake Van Poucke -

Blake Van Poucke

| Twitter: @TokyoDown

Blake Van Poucke is a Valorant writer at esports.gg. He found esports through the early days of MLG and the Super Smash Bros Melee scene. He's been competing and writing about esports dating back to 2008. He has written for several publications and wishes to return to in-person esports events in 2022