The VCT EMEA Stage 1 regular season has concluded, with six teams advancing to playoffs. The split came down to the wire, as the final match, BBL Esports vs. FUT Esports, had both seeding and playoff implications for five different teams.

Karmine Corp Karmine Corp Europe Rank #17 MAGNUM Martin Penkov tomaszy Tomás Machado N4RRATE Marshall Massey marteen Martin Pátek sh1n Ryad Ensaad , Team Heretics Team Heretics Europe Rank #2 MiniBoo Dominykas Lukaševičius Wo0t Mert Alkan RieNs Enes Ecirli benjyfishy Benjy David Fish Boo Ričardas Lukaševičius , Natus Vincere Natus Vincere Europe Rank #6 ANGE1 Kyrylo Karasov Shao Andrey Kiprsky Zyppan Pontus Eek SUYGETSU Dmitry Ilyushin ardiis Ardis Svarenieks , and FNATIC FNATIC Europe Rank #1 Leo Leo Jannesson Derke Nikita Sirmitev Boaster Jake Howlett Chronicle Timofey Khromov Alfajer Emir Ali Beder return to the playoffs, while FUT Esports FUT Esports Europe Rank #3 MrFaliN Furkan Yeğen yetujey Eray Budak AtaKaptan Ata Tan cNed Mehmet Yağız İpek qRaxs Doğukan Balaban and Team Liquid Team Liquid Europe Rank #15 Jamppi Elias Olkkonen nAts Ayaz Akhmetshin Enzo Enzo Mestari Mistic James Orfila Keiko Georgio Sanassy round out the top six. On the other hand, map differential kept both BBL Esports BBL Esports Europe Rank #27 Elite Efe Teber pAura Melih Karaduran Brave Eren Kasırga reazy Kaan Ürpek QutionerX Doğukan Dural and Team Vitality Team Vitality Europe Rank #22 trexx Nikita Cherednichenko Kicks Kimmie Laasner runneR Emil Trajkovski ceNder Jokūbas Labutis Sayf Saif Jibraeel out of Shanghai contention, joining the Group Omega teams with losing records: Gentle Mates Gentle Mates Europe Rank #14 TakaS Jonathan Paupard beyAz Beyazit Körpe nataNk Nathan Bocqueho Wailers Wailers Locart logaN Logan Corti , GIANTX GIANTX Europe Rank #19 purp0 Semyon Borchev Redgar Igor Vlasov Fit1nho Adolfo Gallego hoody Aaro Peltokangas Cloud Kirill Nehozhin , KOI KOI Europe Rank #86 kamo Kamil Frąckowiak ShadoW Tobias Flodström grubinho Grzegorz Ryczko starxo Patryk Kopczynski sheydos Bogdan Naumov .

Overall, FUT and NAVI were the best performers throughout Stage 1. Both teams only lost one series, and were joint-first place, alongside Karmine Corp, in terms of map wins. FUT stood out over NAVI, as they won three matches without dropping a map, granting them the top seed for Group Omega.

The Key Moments

Unlike other regions, EMEA was the only league to begin their final week with no team confirmed for playoffs. Mathematically, a total of nine teams were able to advance to playoffs, and it wasn't until the end of Day 2 that NAVI, Karmine Corp, and FNATIC qualified, despite the latter two teams ending the group stage on a loss.

On Day 3, Team Liquid's 2-0 victory over Gentle Mates kept their hopes alive, and their first map win guaranteed both Heretics and FUT Esports making the top six.

The final match, FUT vs BBL, would determine which of BBL and Team Liquid would advance to playoffs. Prior to the match, BBL and Team Liquid were, respectively, the top and bottom team in Group Alpha in terms of record. Additionally, the outcome of the match determined the top seed from each group, granting them an additional championship point and a bye, meaning they would only need one match win to qualify to Shanghai.

In the end, FUT's 2-0 victory helped Team Liquid overtake BBL based on map differential and sent BBL down to fourth place. In terms of seeding, the match meant FUT and Karmine Corp entered playoffs as the top teams from their respective groups.

Interestingly, neither of the playoff teams from Group Alpha were able to take a win against the top three Group Omega teams. In contrast, Team Vitality and BBL Esports were the only teams to win against the Group Omega playoffs teams, with two victories apiece.

The Outstanding Players

Reflecting the sub-region's resurgence during the split, four Turkish players featured in the top five players of the group stage. Statistically, cNed is back on top, ending the group stage with a 1.20 rating and winning 59.7% of his opening duels. FUT teammate qRaxs also ended in the top five with a 1.17 rating and 0.42 assists per round.

EMEA's freshest player, Wo0t , was quick to climb the ranks. After a number of visa issues, he joined Team Heretics for their final two games, where he averaged a 1.17 rating after winning both series.

Stage 1 regular season results

Group Alpha

Group Omega

Prize Distribution

Each team received one circuit point per match win.

Playoffs preview

EMEA bracket Teams from the same group face off against each other in their opening matches. Image: Riot Games

The EMEA playoffs will send three teams to Masters: Shanghai and grant the winner three championship points. It will begin with two single elimination matches, with the two winners joining Karmine Corp and FUT Esports in a four team, double elimination bracket.

FNATIC vs Team Liquid and Team Heretics vs Natus Vincere will be the opening matches. As groups leaders, Karmine Corp and FUT Esports received a bye and are seeded directly into the double elimination portion of the bracket. Karmine Corp will play against either FNATIC or Liquid, while FUT will play against either NAVI or Heretics.

The top three teams of the tournament will qualify to Shanghai. In terms of Champions qualification, every match win in playoffs gives teams one point, while winning the event grants teams an additional three championship points. Outside of the top three teams in Stage 2, whichever team has accumulated the most championship points will qualify to Champions 2024 as the region's fourth seed.