FunPlus Phoenix FunPlus Phoenix Europe Rank #11 SUYGETSU Dmitry Ilyushin Zyppan Pontus Eek ANGE1 Kyrylo Karasov Shao Andrey Kiprsky SEIDER Mathias Seider stand-in ardiis Ardis Svarenieks secured the remaining available Masters Copenhagen slot in EMEA after besting M3 Champions M3 Champions Europe Rank # Jady Yaroslav Nikolaev purp0 Semyon Borchev nAts Ayaz Akhmetshin sheydos Bogdan Naumov Chronicle Timofey Khromov Redgar Igor Vlasov in a three-map nailbiter. FNATIC FNATIC Europe Rank #6 Enzo Enzo Mestari Derke Nikita Sirmitev Boaster Jake Howlett Mistic James Orfila Alfajer Emir Ali Beder also advanced to the Stage 2: EMEA Challengers grand final over Guild Esports Guild Esports Europe Rank #5 Sayf Saif Jibraeel koldamenta Jose Luis Aranguren trexx Nikita Cherednichenko Leo Leo Jannesson Yacine Yacine Laghmari .

Despite Guild's 2-0 loss to FNATIC, they're not yet out of the running. The team will play the lower bracket final against FPX tomorrow. That game's loser will go to Copenhagen as EMEA's third seed, while the winner will secure a rematch against FNATIC for EMEA's first seed and the title of EMEA Champions — one currently held by FPX.

Fnatic vs. Guild (FNC 2-0)

Friday's opener was the first of three seeding matches in EMEA. FNATIC and Guild faced off for the second time in 2022, the first being back when they were both in Stage 1's EMEA Group B. That game resulted in a 2-1 win for FNATIC, who went on to go 5-0 in the group stage and qualify for Masters 1 in third place.

In their first faceoff, Guild picked Bind. This time FNATIC picked Bind and, just like last time, started out by winning their bonus round and acquiring the first three points of the map. Guild found their first round afterwards and FNATIC were able to reply with one more for a 4-2 scoreline, but a 1v1 clutch from koldamenta allowed Guild to tie up the result at 4-4. The half also ended tied up at 6-6.

After switching sides, FNATIC showed their prowess on Bind by finding the first four rounds. At 10-6, both teams traded blows until the scoreline reached 11-8. Sayf blasted down four players, his second 4K of the match, to give his team their ninth point. Guild slipped up soon after, allowing their opponents to secure a thrifty round that gave FNATIC the 13-9 win.

Fnatic were in complete sync on Bind, as four of their players finished the map within 19 ACS of each other. Boaster 's revival of Astra led the way for his team's win, with a 2.07 KDA.

Bind B Site. Population: 1, Sayf.

Guild elected Haven as the second map. Back in March, they won FNATIC's Haven pick 13-5. This time around, FNATIC didn't make it that easy and started with a solid handle on the map, going 4-1 up. Guild weren't affected by their disadvantage, and quickly proceeded to tie the game up at 4-4, prompting a timeout from FNATIC. That pause allowed for an 8-4 half from Boaster's men, a stark contrast from last time's 7-5 half from Guild.

In the second half of Haven, Guild won their first pistol round of the match. koldamenta's team dropped just one round on their way to a 9-9 tie. FNATIC managed to stop their opponents from finding the lead by finding their 10th round, with Alfajer gunning down three by himself to keep his team in the running. trexx then eliminated four to take Guild to double digits, but FNATIC reached match point. A timeout from Guild gave them one final round, as FNATIC sealed up the series with a 13-11 win.

Alfajer and Derke were on a tear on Haven. Their Raze and Chamber combined for 55 kills, with each only dying 16 times. They also had a near-flawless entry kill ratio: Derke opened up seven rounds for his team and never died first, while Alfajer drew first blood six times and was the first to fall only once. The only other FNATIC player able to draw first blood was Boaster, with three opening duels won.

Alfajer finished Haven with 225 ADR, the most in the match.

FNATIC's 2-0 over Guild is already a positive breakaway from their Stage 1 results. In March, after guaranteeing their Masters Reykjavik slot, FNATIC crashed out in the seeding games by not winning a single map in both their games. This time, they're three map wins away from becoming EMEA champions. Guild are not out of the running and will play the lower bracket final tomorrow.

FunPlus Phoenix vs. M3 Champions (FPX 2-1)

The second bout of the day was the most important one. The Stage 1 EMEA Champions stepped into the server against the Masters Berlin champions, who had a rocky start to 2022. Nevertheless, M3C were looking to make a comeback to LAN tournaments and today's game was — barring qualifying to Champions via the LCQ — their final chance. FPX, on the other hand, had plans to actually make it to LAN this time.

FPX chose Ascent to kick off the lower bracket semifinal. They found an early 2-0 lead that M3C soon turned into a 3-3 tie. ANGE1 's men pressed on and found a marginal 5-3 lead thanks to successful site takes, which triggered a timeout from M3C. The Masters Berlin champions were only able to convert one round before FPX got back on the board, climbing to a 7-4 scoreline. Chronicle took down four in the final round of the half, allowing a 7-5 half in favor of FPX.

Zyppan started the second half of the map in favor of FPX, eliminating four of M3C's players. Despite that, a 4K from nAts gave M3C a thrifty round that swung the momentum in their favor, taking the game to an 8-8 tie after three consecutive round wins. As the game tied up, FPX called for a timeout. Chronicle immediately punished his opponents by taking down four of his own. Redgar and sheydos scored two crucial rounds to place M3C ahead 11-9, but FPX bit back by chaining four rounds on their way to a 13-11 result.

Chronicle, nAts and sheydos all shone for M3C in the opening map. The trio all scored within 10 ACS of each other, and, in total, the three eliminated 58 players. Similarly, three of FPX's players were within 13 ACS of each other — ardiis , ANGE1 and Zyppan eliminated 57 players collectively.


M3C picked Breeze but had a rocky start to the map. FPX rocketed up to a 4-1 advantage, with M3C's only point coming from a clinical 1v3 4K from Redgar. The IGL put in a timeout that resulted in only two rounds, as Chronicle eliminated three to leave the score at 4-3 in FPX's favor. Not one to be outdone, SUYGETSU knocked down three players and allowed his team to climb to a 7-4 scoreline. Shao nearly put a showy 1v3 on the A site, but d3ffo stopped him in his tracks to secure a 7-5 half in favor of FPX.

On the attack, M3C showed reinvigorated form, effortlessly winning the first five rounds after switching sides. Only once M3C hit 10-7 did FPX timeout, but it resulted only in two rounds as M3C kept climbing, eventually reaching a 13-9 win that pushed the series to a map three.

Chronicle showed up even more than usual on Breeze. Wielding Chamber's kit, his 2.21 KDA and 211 ADR were key in securing the series tie for his team, being the best player in the server by 66 ACS.

Big brain IGL, big brain plays.

On the Fracture decider, FPX showed up with a game plan that totally shut M3C down. After winning the pistol, Shao and co. mounted a monstrous 10-2 lead by halftime, despite attempts from M3C to thwart their opponents' momentum. Upon switching sides, Zyppan found a 4K with his Paint Shells that opened up FPX's path to a series-winning 13-4.

Despite such a short-lived map, Zyppan was still able to spearhead his team into a monumental victory. In 17 rounds he scored 22 eliminations, putting up a 2.75 KD and over 200 ADR. He shared a 76% KAST with two other teammates, bested only by Shao's 94%.

FPX's win against M3C is a culmination of two stages of hard work. Last time FPX were put in this position, travel issues stripped them of their first-ever chance to play a Valorant LAN, despite their status as EMEA champions. FPX's position in Masters Copenhagen is still uncertain as, according to coach d00mbr0s, travel issues might come back to haunt the team this time around.


Looking ahead

Tomorrow, Guild will play FPX in the lower bracket final, the first of two Bo5 games in these playoffs, to decide who keeps the third seed for the region and who will move on to Sunday's grand final, in hopes of securing the first EMEA seed for Copenhagen and the title of Stage 2 EMEA champions.