The VALORANT Champions Tour EMEA Challengers are back and the competition is higher than ever. With hundreds of teams competing across three different regions — EU, CIS and Turkey — many found success while others faltered at the first tournament of Stage 3. Seven teams have already managed to lock in their spot for the EMEA Challengers Playoffs, meaning they are one step closer to Masters 3 in Berlin. Here are our VALORANT Power Rankings for the best-performing EMEA teams at Challengers 1.
10. Team Liquid
Long gone are the days of Fish123. Team Liquid have solidified themselves as one of the best in Europe. But, the side have fell relatively flat in their most recent matches against the likes of Fnatic and FunPlus Phoenix.
Both teams defeated Team Liquid in the Stage 3 Challengers 1 event, with Team Liquid only managing to defeat Team BDS, Team Finest and Alliance during the tournament. Although this showing wasn’t up to their usual standard, there were some highlights.
While he isn’t known for his incredibly high frags and top of the leaderboard performances, Dom “Soulcas” Sulcas was one of Liquid’s stand-out performers during the event on Skye. Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom and Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen also performed well.
— George Geddes
Team Liquid wasn’t the only European powerhouse that was defeated in Stage 3 Challengers 1, however.
Fnatic, led by British in-game leader Jake “Boaster” Howlett, took down rivals Team Liquid and Wave Esports but lost to Guild Esports and G2 Esports. Twice. Fnatic couldn’t even take a map from G2 during the event.
The former SUMN FC team have made significant changes to their roster since they first signed with Fnatic, and these changes look extremely positive. Both Martin “MAGNUM” Penkov and Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev have transformed the side into one of the best in the region.
But the old kings are back for blood and Fnatic need to step up if they want to become the best once more.
8. No Pressure
The foundations of a new CIS powerhouse are being built, and we’re here to witness it.
No Pressure, led by Natus Vincere player Kirill “Cloud” Nehozhin, have come out of nowhere to dominate the CIS region. The only team No Pressure were defeated by was Gambit Esports, the best team in the region.
The team have slowly risen the ranks in the CIS and European regions following victories against forZe, previously the second-best team in CIS.
The side have been heavily linked to join Natus Vincere alongside Cloud, but it’s unclear if the organization will field a full roster, at the time of publication.
No Pressure shouldn’t be messed with though; they have some solid talent paired with the potential backing of one of the biggest organizations in the CIS region, if they’re picked up by Na’Vi.
7. Oxygen Esports
The Turkish powerhouse looked solid during their recent VCT Stage 3 Challengers 1 run.
Oxygen Esports managed to take down SuperMassive Blaze and Futbolist, two of the best teams in the Turkish region, before being defeated by SuperMassive Blaze in an intense rematch.
Duelist flex player Erdem “Toronto” Soğukpınar performed well during the event, boasting an average combat score of over 220 on Jett and Raze, while his Sage tends to push Toronto to the back seat.
Göktuğ “XiSTOU” Canciğer was the stand-out performer against SuperMassive Blaze in the grand final. His Killjoy was impressive on Haven and Ascent, two of the most common maps for the Agent’s use.
Prior to the final best-of-five against SuperMassize Blaze, Oxygen Esports didn’t lose a single map during the Main Event.
6. FunPlus Phoenix
Previously the best team in Europe, FunPlus Phoenix couldn’t take down the new kings.
The team, led by former Counter-Strike in-game leader Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov, lost to Acend and G2 at the VCT Stage 3 Challengers 1. But FPX didn’t go down without a fight.
Every time they were defeated, FPX managed to take at least one map in their favor, a feat that wouldn’t be replicated by other teams. FPX took down Team Liquid 2-0 with Andrey “Shao” Kiprsky continuing his impressive individual performance on Sova.
But with a fourth-place finish, FPX have earned qualification to the EMEA Challengers Playoffs, which is set to begin August 12. Guild Esports, G2 and Acend, alongside a bunch of other European and CIS teams, will be there to meet them.
5. SuperMassive Blaze
As if Turkey wasn’t already scary enough as a region, SuperMassive and Blaze Esports have managed to create the ultimate super team, consisting of some of the best players from Turkey. With the likes of former BBL star Batuhan “russ” Malgaç and Heretics’ sentinel God Melih “pAura” Karaduran on the roster, many expected this team to do great things and that’s exactly what they did at Challengers 1 Turkey.
Despite being knocked down to the lower bracket by Oxygen, SMB clawed their way back and even got their revenge by beating Oxygen 3-1 in the BO5 Grand Final, earning themselves the top spot from Turkey going into the Challengers Playoffs.
— Yinsu Collins
4. Guild Esports
Guild have always been in the running when it comes to the best teams in Europe, but it seems like they’ve finally unlocked the level of consistency that’s needed to stay at the top of Challengers in Stage 3.
They took down Team BDS, Fnatic and FunPlus Phoenix to secure themselves a spot at the Challengers Playoffs, and they did it in style. Even though they couldn’t quite overcome Acend and G2 Esports, they gave G2 a hell of a run for their money, beating them on Bind and Haven before losing in OT on Icebox. While Guild didn’t make any roster changes, they have deepened their map and Agent pool, making them one of the most formidable opponents in all of EMEA.
3. Gambit Esports
Gambit was one of the favorites to make it to Masters 2 in Iceland, which is what made their exit at the last EMEA playoffs all the more surprising. However, it seems like that loss has lit a fire under this roster and this team is definitely not messing about for Stage 3. They once again proved themselves to be the strongest CIS team by blitzing through Challengers 1 without dropping a single map.
Not only that, they’re the only team that managed to win their Grand Finals with a clean 3-0, demolishing No Pressure in a best-offive. Acend’s Santeri “BONECOLD” Sassi even said in an interview on the VCT broadcast that he does not want to face Gambit early on at the Challengers Playoffs, and there is a reason for that. Gambit looks like one of the scariest teams in the region at the moment and they’re out for blood.
2. G2 Esports
Once upon a time, you couldn’t have a grand final in Europe without G2 taking up one of the spots, but they’ve been going through a trophy drought ever since First Strike back in December 2020. After some dramatic roster shuffles however, the former kings of Europe have found their form once again.
G2 only kept Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho from the old roster and brought in Žygimantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas and Auni “AvovA” Chahade from Team Heretics, alongside Jose Luis “koldamenta” Aranguren Herrero from Acend and youngster Cista “keloqz” Wassim from Megastitut. This new super team had an absolutely fantastic debut in VCT and, despite having to go through the Open Qualifiers unlike the other teams on this list, they made perhaps one of the strongest impressions overall.
Star player nukkye consistently fragged out alongside mixwell, who is now on a more supportive role. The roster earned a well-deserved second-place finish at Challengers 1, taking down Fnatic, FPX and Guild along the way.
Acend made their mark in the VALORANT Champions Tour back in March when they took home the Masters 1 trophy, but many felt they fell prematurely at Stage 2 ahead of Masters Reykjavik. It seemed like the roster would run into some trouble after losing their in-game leader, koldamenta, to G2 in the offseason, but gaining Aleksander “zeek” Zygmunt in return has proven to be a massive boost for the European team.
They are the only EU team that managed to blitz through Challengers 1 without losing a single series. In fact, they only dropped two maps overall: one against FPX and another against G2 in a grand final best of five. Their star operator player, Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek, currently boasts a mammoth KD of 1.86 on Jett in the past 30 days. cNed was voted as MVP of Challengers 1 via the VALORANT Esports EU Twitter.
There is no doubt that this roster is currently the best that EU has to offer, but it’ll be interesting to see if they can put up the same fight against CIS and Turkish teams at the EMEA Playoffs.