Fnatic defeats FunPlus Phoenix, wins VCT EMEA Stage 2 title
Following a dominating run in the playoffs, London-based Fnatic has defeated grand final rival FunPlus Phoenix with a thrilling margin-wide score of 3-0. The triumph over the Chinese-owned Phoenix has earned Fnatic as the title holder of the 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour: EMEA Stage 2 Challengers.
Fnatic’s dominance in the tournament was spot on. The team posted a flawless 5-0 win-loss record in the group stage, eventually earning them a direct spot to the upper bracket semi-finals. Led by Jake “Boaster” Howlett, Fnatic showcased the precise same run in the playoffs, playing only as little as three games without sustaining any defeats to snatch the title.
Winning EMEA Stage 2 is a redemption story for the team after Phoenix bested them in EMEA Stage 1. The Chinese-owned pro team defeated Fnatic 2-0 in the upper bracket final, and Phoenix ended up as the winner of Stage 1, while Fnatic won third place.
Fnatic’s thrilling win over Phoenix
Suffice to say that this year’s VALORANT tournaments always set forth the unbelievable for fans to enjoy. The entertainment aspect took form in the unpredictable turn of events, from Phoenix’s victory in Stage 1 over both G2 and Fnatic to Stage 2’s thrilling end having Fnatic over other EMEA rivals.
Fnatic’s lineup comprises Boaster, James “Mistic” Orfila, Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev, Enzo “Enzo” Mestari, Emir “Alfajer” Ali Beder, and substitute player Tom “otom” Hart.
Leading to the grand final, Fnatic forced a 2-1 defeat on Phoenix in the upper bracket semi-finals. The team successfully stayed in the upper bracket, and victory over Guild Esports sent them straight to the grand final, waiting for a lower bracket rival to step up. Phoenix was given the honor of a rematch after defeating Guild 3-0.
The final matchup kicked off on Split, a map picked by Phoenix. The team banned Bind, while Fnatic took Breeze out of the list.
Led by Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov, Phoenix demonstrated an elite play by taking over the first four rounds of playing defense. A common theme that stands out from the team was the strong emphasis on map rotation and excellent environment control.
Comprising ANGE1, Andrey “Shao” Kiprsky, Pontus “Zyppan” Eek, Dmitry “SUYGETSU” Ilyushin, and Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks, Phoenix was confident the match was theirs to take.
However, it did not take long for Fnatic to return the favor. Fnatic recovered themselves with more aggressive map rotations, which proved to be fruitful as a way to get around the enemy team’s strong defensive play. Fnatic ended up as the victor, winning a narrow gap over Phoenix 15-13.
Fnatic’s strategy of fast and precise attacks proved to be far more successful in the second round on Icebox, as they put heavy restrain on Phoenix’s scoring ability. Fnatic won the second round with a massive gap of 13-5.
Desperate to clinch up any wins, Phoenix prepared for the worst. Despite their hard labor and great display, the same thing in the first round took place in the final round on Haven. After exchanging blows, Fnatic forced the game into overtime and won with a final score of 15-13.
Road to Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen
Prior to Stage 2, Fnatic had participated in two other tournaments this year, finishing third in an A-tier tournament Stage 1 in March and failing to break into the top-10 in Stage 1 Masters Reykjavik.
Moreover, Fnatic was not doing any good last year. Despite finishing first in Europe Stage 2, the team wrapped 2021 with a humiliating back-to-back defeat in Red Bull Home Ground #2 and VALORANT Champions.
The top three winners of all VCT Stages in each region will be seeded straight to VCT: Stage Masters, VALORANT’s international tournament, which means that in the upcoming 2022 VCT: Stage 2 Masters in Copenhagen, set to take place on July 10-24, EMEA will be represented by Fnatic, Phoenix, and Guild.