VALORANT Champions Day 8 recap — an all EMEA semifinals is possible
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Europe, the Middle East and Africa continue to take over VALORANT Champions as both regional teams defeated their opponents in 2-0 sweeps in their quarterfinal matches.

The knockout stage started with a bit of a whimper as Acend took out Team Secret without much fuss. The Filipino team made history at Champions by qualifying for the knockout stage, marking South East Asia’s first appearance at a top eight in a VALORANT international tournament. They were quickly followed by X10 CRIT, but the point still stands. Acend ended each first half with a lead and then walked into map wins through decent anti-strats and homework done on their opponents.

Cloud9 and Team Liquid then decided to have a banger of a series that would have gone  to three maps if not for Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom, Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen and Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom’s clutch performances at the end of Map 2. North America and half of SEA are now out of the tournament as EMEA continues to throw its weight around.

MVP of VALORANT Champions Day 8: Nathan “leaf” Orf

Leaf at VALORANT Champions Day 8
Leaf throws a thumbs up to the camera at VALORANT Champions. | Provided by Lance Skundrich/Riot Games

While his team did lose and will fly home from Germany in the coming days, leaf put on a strong performance as their main Duelist. Outside of tapping heads and creating space, leaf was a force within singular rounds. When leaf was alive within a round Cloud9 still had a chance to win. Not that without him the team would have lost, but his performance today was on a different level than his teammates and even the team that ended up taking the win.

Leaf finished the series with the most kills at 53, the highest average combat score at 317 and a plus seven first blood ratio, according to vlr.gg. Out of the 29 first fights he took, he walked about with kills in 17 of them.

Best play on Day 8 of VALORANT Champions

Leaf also earned the play of the day thanks to his ace early on in the second map. This clip is an example of what the entry fragger brings to the team as he enters the bomb site and finds every kill. While he definitely had his team’s support behind him, this clip is entirely on leaf’s shoulders.

EMEA dominance continues

The nightmare scenario of interregional play is now on the table as two EMEA teams have advanced to the semifinals. The semifinals could feature all EMEA teams if Gambit Esports defeat X10 and Fnatic overcome KRÜ Esports on Thursday. In a phenomenon familiar to League of Legends fans, as South Korean teams normally dominate the end stage of international events, the rest of the tournament could be all EMEA from here on out.

While there may be viewership implications for an all EMEA semifinals and finals, the best VALORANT teams have risen to the top and they all might just be from Europe.

Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.
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