The first week of the EMEA Challengers Playoffs has ended with a perfect 4-0 record among the European teams in the tournament.
The four teams representing the European region lost just one map in their four matches. Their one defeat was Team Liquid Team Liquid Europe Rank #2 's opening map against BBL in large part thanks to heroics from Batuhan "russ" Malgaç. He averaged over 316 damage per round on Haven and went +23 in kills to deaths powered by 15 Operator kills on the map.
Beyond that one map, the representatives for CIS and Turkey were unable to overcome the international super-teams largely representing the European squads. On top of Team Liquid's 2-1 victory over BBL, FunPlus Phoenix FunPlus Phoenix Europe Rank #11 defeated Gambit Esports Gambit Esports Europe Rank #1 , Fnatic Fnatic Europe Rank #6 defeated Oxygen Esports Oxygen Esports Europe Rank #16 , and Guild Esports Guild Esports Europe Rank #5 defeated Futbolist Futbolist Europe Rank #18 .
Those matches leave FPX and Team Liquid facing off in next week's upper bracket final in Group A and Fnatic taking on Guild in the upper bracket final of Group B. That guarantees at least two European teams will make it four-team playoff to decide EMEA's two Masters representatives.
Gambit will look to bounce back next week and secure a playoff berth after testing FPX in the opening match of the tournament. Aside from BBL, Gambit played their European counterparts the closest of any of the teams in the opening matches. They jumped to an 8-4 lead in the first map before falling 13-11 and then remained in striking distance for much of the second map before falling 13-9.
Nikita "Derke" Sirmitev was by far the statistical star of EMEA's first week of play. His 379 ACS in his match with Oxygen was a full 70 ACS higher than the next best weekend performance. The highest ACS in a single match, however, came from russ in BBL's defeat to Liquid. He earned a 388 ACS thanks to strong performances in each of the match's three maps. He was unable to carry that momentum into BBL's match with Gambit, however, which led to him ending up falling behind Derke statistically on the weekend.
William "draken" Sundin picked Yoru, currently the least played agent at the top level of Valorant, in Guild's first map against Futbolist. While his performance didn't necessarily showcase that Yoru should have a place in the current meta, he was able to highlight Yoru's potential to create openings off of the trickery in his abilities.
The EMEA Challengers Playoffs continue next week with the upper bracket finals of each group followed by the decider matches in both groups the next day. The final two days of the weekend will conclude the tournament with a four-team playoff.
The semifinal matches of that playoff will determine the two EMEA teams who will compete in Valorant's first ever international LAN in Iceland for Masters 2.