FNATIC FNATIC Europe Unranked Leo Leo Jannesson Derke Nikita Sirmitev Boaster Jake Howlett Chronicle Timofey Khromov Alfajer Emir Ali Beder have defeated Team Heretics Team Heretics Europe Unranked MiniBoo Dominykas Lukaševičius Wo0t Mert Alkan RieNs Enes Ecirli benjyfishy Benjy David Fish Boo Ričardas Lukaševičius 3-2 in the VCT EMEA 2024 Stage 1 grand finals, earning the top seed for EMEA at Masters Shanghai. With this loss, Team Heretics has lost both regional grand finals coming out of the winners bracket, after losing to Karmine Corp at the EMEA Kickoff earlier this year.

The map veto started with Team Heretics picking Sunset and Fnatic picking Bind. Heretics then picked Lotus and Fnatic picked Split, leaving Breeze as the potential final map.

Sunset remained a great map for Heretics

To start the series off, Dominykas "MiniBoo" Lukaševičius was on one of his best agents: Neon. On the Fnatic side, Emir "Alfajer" Ali Beder made the rare Deadlock pick alongside the Yoru pick from Nikita "Derke" Sirmitev.

Starting with a pistol round win, Team Heretics used the anchor capabilities of Benjy "benjyfishy" David Fish on Cypher and the aggression of MiniBoo to set up some smart strategies on defense. An 8-4 lead at the half, another pistol win for Team Heretics, and the map was effectively theirs.

Fnatic only managed to get three rounds on their defense, as Team Heretics won map one 13-7.

Bind was the only overtime map of the series

Bind began with different compositions from the two teams, with Heretics opting for the Yoru, Sova, and Omen while Fnatic went with Brimstone, Raze, and Gekko.

After winning the first pistol round, Fnatic lost three rounds in a row after not being able to plant the spike. That was thanks to patience and good rotations from Team Heretics. It continued to cause issues on their attack, but the pistol round win and good awareness of their economy got them enough rounds to tie things up at the half 6-6.

Team Heretics won the second half pistol round, and converted their bonus thanks to successful duels from everyone on the team. That led to an 11-6 lead, but Fnatic held strong on their defense. Retakes were the name of the game, with Alfajer getting the most impact on the Viper. Fnatic recovered from the 11-6 deficit to take it to overtime.

benjyfishy closes out Bind with three kills in overtime.

Alas, after getting the first overtime round win, it was all Heretics. The defining moment was benjyfishy getting his ultimate down and a triple kill on the final round, securing the map. Team Heretics won 15-13, going up 2-0 in the series.

Lotus had the biggest one-map swing of the series

For team compositions, Team Heretics ran their Lotus default comp with a Breach and a Cypher, while Fnatic ran their default comp with Killjoy, Omen, Viper, and Raze.

Team Heretics won the first pistol round, and then converted their bonus to go up 4-0. Fnatic fought back to win two rounds, but Heretics swung it back to go up 7-2 off of a rare benjyfishy Operator pickup as the attack Cypher.

Fnatic were down 2-0 in the series, and 7-2 down in the map. It looked like the end of the line for the former international champions, but they slowly fought back in the map to keep themselves alive in a potential reverse sweep.

After winning the final three rounds of their defense, Fnatic won the second pistol round and converted their bonus round. That economic advantage proved too much for Heretics to overcome, only winning one round on their defense side. The map ended 13-8 for Fnatic, getting them their first map win of the series.

Split shows how good Fnatic and their duelists can be

Where all the maps previously were either close or one-sided for Heretics, Split ended up one-sided for Fnatic. With Derke back on Yoru and Alfajer on Raze, Heretics had a lot of pressure to shut down Fnatic and their momentum in the series with a strong defense.

Fnatic won the first pistol round, with Alfajer starting hot and never truly slowing down. For a player that has played a lot of sentinel recently, his Raze had no signs of rust. In the first half alone, he had 17 kills and four first kills against Heretics, who only had two across their entire team on their defense. Heretics were able to keep the game close, only down 7-5 at the half.

Fnatic won the second half pistol round, converted their bonus, and showed their experience on Split by not losing a single round. Alfajer was unstoppable in the first half, but Derke went 11/0/3 on defense to complete their perfect second half.

The map ended 13-5 for Fnatic, taking the series to map five.

Breeze decided it all for EMEA Stage 1

For the final map of the grand finals, Fnatic and Heretics ran the mirror composition of Yoru, KAY/O, Viper, and Cypher.

Fnatic won the first pistol round thanks to a Boaster 4K on the flank. They even had a good bonus round despite losing it, keeping Heretics with a bad economy as the Fnatic players just grew in confidence. Leo "Leo" Jannesson was the star on defense, getting as much value with his utility as he did with his gun. While the round score was not impossible to come back from, the rounds were as one-sided as could be, with Fnatic up 8-4 heading into the half.

Leo uses great utility to secure a 3K on Breeze.

Leo was battling illness all throughout this series, with the team revealing after the game that he was struggling to communicate with his team. That only made his plays as Sova more impressive, entirely relying on his knowledge of the game or calls from his teammates for his utility.

Fnatic won the second half pistol round, but Heretics got a crucial eco win to ease the blow of losing pistol round. Heretics were getting their confidence back in the match, notably MiniBoo and Mert "Wo0t" Alkan improving considerably on their defense. Then a round where Fnatic hit B site with a minute to go led to some questionable ultimates from Heretics, and that potential comeback was shut down. Fnatic closed out the map 13-8, and completed the rare best-of-five reverse sweep to win the EMEA Stage 1 playoffs. Leo, with his illness, could not lift the trophy, but he was the MVP of the series all the same.

With this win, Fnatic are the number one seed from EMEA for Masters Shanghai, earning a bye to the playoff stage of the tournament. As for Team Heretics, finishing second place for the second time this year earns them the second seed for EMEA at Masters Shanghai. They will need to play through the Swiss stage for their chance at the Shanghai title.