Yesterday, Karmine Corp Karmine Corp Europe Rank #8 MAGNUM Martin Penkov tomaszy Tomás Machado N4RRATE Marshall Massey marteen Martin Pátek sh1n Ryad Ensaad and Team Heretics Team Heretics Europe Rank #35 MiniBoo Dominykas Lukaševičius Wo0t Mert Alkan RieNs Enes Ecirli benjyfishy Benjy David Fish Boo Ričardas Lukaševičius shocked the world by upsetting FNATIC FNATIC Europe Rank #1 Leo Leo Jannesson Derke Nikita Sirmitev Boaster Jake Howlett Chronicle Timofey Khromov Alfajer Emir Ali Beder and Natus Vincere Natus Vincere Europe Rank #3 ANGE1 Kyrylo Karasov Shao Andrey Kiprsky Zyppan Pontus Eek SUYGETSU Dmitry Ilyushin ardiis Ardis Svarenieks to secure slots at Masters: Madrid. Today, the roars of the French crowd drowned out the Spaniards as Karmine Corp defeated Team Heretics 3-1 to win EMEA's Kickoff whilst claiming a first seed at Spain's first masters event.

Despite losing out in today's Bo5, Team Heretics will still book tickets to Madrid alongside their rivals, albeit as EMEA's second seed. The last time either of the two teams made appearances on the world stage was at 2023's LOCK//IN event nearly a year ago.

tomaszy sh1n hug image They proved us all wrong. (Photo: Michal Konkol/Riot Games)

Karmine Corp had played Team Heretics earlier in the event in Group A's winner match, where things did not go as smoothly. This time, however, the French organization managed to enact its revenge on the Heretics in a four-map series.

The first destination for the two teams was Sunset, a map on which Team Heretics had successfully performed a rigorous comeback against NAVI just yesterday. Eager to keep up their performance, Heretics started their defensive half in top form, with the lowest-rated player of the first 12 rounds being Boo standing at a 1.30 rating, while his younger brother MiniBoo played at a whopping 1.85 on Neon.

After racking up nine rounds on defense alone, Team Heretics initially stumbled in their attacking half, but managed to close it out after a timeout from neilzinho stopped Karmine Corp's momentum and allowed his team to steal away the French's map pick. On Cypher, 21 kills and five first bloods was only the beginning of benjyfishy 's standout performance.

Reality struck Heretics hard on Lotus, where Karmine Corp took an explosive lead early on after flattening defensive contenders on the A site in consecutive fashion. Despite both timeouts being burned early by their opponents, N4RRATE and and marteen could not be stopped as the Corp entered the second half with an 11-1 scoreline.

Heretics were unable to capitalize off of benjyfishy's stellar performance on Lotus.

This time, it was their adversaries who were shut down just as they were building momentum; a 0.49 second defuse by N4RRATE and a 2v2 retake by sh1n and marteen wrapped Lotus up in a neat bow for Karmine Corp and set the stage for Map three in the form of Icebox.

The chants of the French crowd kept N4RRATE and marteen warm, as the duo once again outshined the rest of the server as they spearheaded retakes and site executions alike. The youngsters spread 28 kills between each other and solidified an 8-4 scoreline and put their adversaries on the back foot.

After converting their bonus, Karmine Corp cruised their way to an easy 13-7 scoreline, playing with their food on the attacking half the entire way. Multi-kills galore plagued Heretics throughout Icebox, and only benjyfishy was able to finish the map with a positive K/D.

One map away from redeeming last year's performance, Karmine Corp kept their foot on the pedal and blitzed their way through Split. Despite losing the pistol, the troupe only allowed their opponents to win two more rounds on their defensive half to set up an 8-4 scoreline.

This time, sh1n was the one to step up when his team needed it most, opting to play ratty positions as Astra while providing necessary support for his team. On Karmine Corp's attacking half, an ace from the Frenchman followed by a clutch the very next round brought the score to a dominant 12-5. Sensing the end, Heretics were only able to net one more round before a fast B site execute sent them away with a second-place finish.

Just in case you missed it the first time for whatever reason.

North America's import proved to be one of the two difference-makers on the side of Karmine Corp, as N4RRATE joined marteen as the top fraggers with 77 and 76 kills respectively, 13 above the next contender. benjyfishy's efforts could not be ignored, as the impact he had throughout all four maps helped keep the games closer than his opponents had hoped, highlighted by his 227 ACS.

Karmine Corp's victory over Team Heretics cements them as EMEA's reigning champion and awards them with three Championship Points on their road to the biggest event of the year. Although there was no prize for second place, Heretics still look to be a contender as they will soon return to their roots in Spain in front of a home crowd.

Six of the eight teams at Madrid have been solidified, and tomorrow, the final two from the Americas Kickoff will be determined between Evil Geniuses Evil Geniuses North America Rank #42 Derrek Derrek Ha NaturE Nicholas Garrison supamen Phat Le Apoth Vincent Le jawgemo Alexander Mor , LOUD LOUD Brazil Rank #1 Quick Gabriel Lima saadhak Matias Delipetro Less Felipe de Loyola tuyz Arthur Andrade cauanzin Cauan Pereira , Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #1 TenZ Tyson Ngo Zellsis Jordan Montemurro zekken Zachary Patrone johnqt Mohamed Amine Ouarid Sacy Gustavo Rossi , and NRG Esports NRG Esports North America Rank #3 crashies Austin Roberts Victor Victor Wong Marved Jimmy Nguyen Ethan Ethan Arnold Demon1 Max Mazanov .

Spain's Masters event is set to begin March 14, just two weeks away. The rest of the teams that did not qualify from the regional tournaments will use this time to prepare for the next stage of competition in hopes of reaching the international stage.