The road to Berlin is on in Europe, as eight teams line up for Stage 3's first Challengers Main Event in Europe after the bracket narrowed in the closed qualifier.
Although G2 sent them to the lower bracket, Fnatic are still here to fight for Berlin (Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games)
The Champions Tour recommenced on June 28, as over 300 teams were slowly whittled down to just eight. Three intense days of qualifying saw the abrupt exit of Team Heretics Team Heretics Europe Rank #10 and Megastitut Megastitut Europe Rank #44 , falling at the hands of BK ROG Esports BK ROG Esports Europe Rank #62 and Team Sampi Team Sampi Inactive in the top 64 and top 32, respectively. OG OG Europe Rank #43 were also knocked out in the top 32, by Team Finest Team Finest Europe Rank #15 .
More surprises came in the Closed Qualifier. Although most teams that were expected to win their opening games did so, two games stood out. Alliance Alliance Europe Rank #19 managed to send Ninjas in Pyjamas Ninjas in Pyjamas Europe Rank #16 to the lower bracket in a 70-round marathon across three maps. The renewed G2 Esports G2 Esports Europe Rank #3 also defeated Team Vitality Team Vitality Europe Rank #14 in a similarly long series that saw G2 come out on top.
The first teams qualified on the second day, in which there were three major upsets across the board. After losing their two previous matches, Guild Esports Guild Esports Europe Rank #7 managed to finally secure a win over FunPlus Phoenix FunPlus Phoenix Europe Rank #4 on the third map. G2, who had a very distinct Stage 2 run when compared to Fnatic Fnatic Europe Rank #6 , scored a major upset against the current #3 team in Europe, taking them in a 2-0 victory. Moving to the lower bracket, it was Team Finest Team Finest Europe Rank #15 's turn to score an upset, sweeping NiP in a match where the ninjas only managed 15 rounds across two maps.
The last day of the closed qualifier saw four more teams secure slots in the Main Event. Fnatic outlasted Wave Esports Wave Esports Europe Rank #22 in a match that went the distance that begun with a 13-1 for the orange side on Icebox. All the while, Rix.GG Thunder Rix.GG Thunder Europe Rank #21 were busy scoring a major upset against Alliance. They stole the first map 14-12 and then lost Bind, but the Englishmen were unstoppable on their way to 13-4 win on Haven, sealing their slot in the Main Event.
BDS then followed up in earning their spot, redeeming their 2-0 loss at the hands of Acend Acend Europe Rank #1 in the upper bracket. The Frenchmen showed up strong against Finest, just stopping a comeback on Icebox to snatch their spot in the Main Event. Team Vitality Team Vitality Europe Rank #14 put up a tough fight facing FPX, but fell in Icebox on overtime, knocking them out of contention for the Main Event.
The Stage 3: Challengers 1 Main Event has its first games scheduled for July 7, yet to be revealed. The top four teams will earn a spot at the Stage 3: EMEA Challengers Playoffs, where they'll fight for one of four slots at Masters Berlin.
The complete team list is:
- Acend Acend Europe Rank #1
- G2 Esports G2 Esports Europe Rank #3
- Guild Esports Guild Esports Europe Rank #7
- Team Liquid Team Liquid Europe Rank #2
- Fnatic Fnatic Europe Rank #6
- Rix.GG Thunder Rix.GG Thunder Europe Rank #21
- Team BDS Team BDS Europe Rank #12
- FunPlus Phoenix FunPlus Phoenix Europe Rank #4