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Fnatic, FunPlus Phoenix qualify for VCT 2022 Stage 1 Masters LAN

London-based esports organization Fnatic and China’s FunPlus Phoenix have secured their spots for the 2022 VALORANT VCT Stage 1 Masters LAN. They are the first teams to qualify for the stage of the tournament that will be held in Iceland next month.

Fnatic’s VALORANT roster defeated M3 Champions Russian VALORANT team 2-1 yesterday, March 23, 2022, in the EMEA Stage 1 Challengers playoffs. M3C roster comprises the same individuals that made up the Gambit VALORANT team. Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they had to play as an independent team. Other teams that are affected by the conflict are Natus Vincere and Guild Esports.

Taking the first map, Fracture was Fnatic, who won 13-11. M3C then retaliated in game two and won 13-8 on Bind. Game three was a close match but Fnatic managed to get the higher ground toward the end and secure a 23-21 victory on Split.

Speaking before the match in a pre-game interview, Fnatic coach Jacob “mini” Harris spoke about the team’s strategy for the Challengers playoffs.

“Defining the meta in 5 days might be difficult,” he said. “We’ve taken the strategy of being realistic about what we can achieve in five days. If we qualify for Iceland, that’s where we will define the meta.”

Fnatic entered the upper bracket final thanks to the victory. They will then face FunPlus Phoenix, who won the match against Team Liquid 2-0, yesterday.

The top three teams from the playoffs will be entitled to enter the Masters LAN in Reykjavík. It will be held from April 10 to 24 2022. Competing in the Masters will be the best teams from the likes of EMEA, Korea, NA, APAC, Brazil, Latin America, and Japan.

From Gambit to M3 Champion

Earlier, Riot announced on Twitter on February 25 that:

“After careful consideration, we have decided to postpone VCT EMEA Week 3 games. Our community’s welfare is integral to us and at this time, our number one priority is to support the players, casters, staff and fans affected by the escalating crisis in Ukraine.

“We will provide an update on the new schedule as soon as we can. In the meantime, please keep an eye on our social channels for further updates.”

Gambit Esports is the current World Vice-Champions and winner of VCT Masters Stage 3: Berlin. The roster comprises Igor “Redgar” Vlasov, Bogdan “sheydos” Naumov, Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov, Nikita “d3ffo” Sudakov, and Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin.

The organization announced the decision on social media on March 14, 2022.

“This continues to be a very difficult time for everyone, not least for all of us with family and friends living in Ukraine,” Gambit Esports wrote. “During this time, esports cаn continue to serve fаns from а vаriety of countries аnd cultures – аnd we sincerely hope tournаments continue to tаke plаce аnd plаyers focus on competition аnd sportsmаnship.

“We’ve therefore taken the division to empower our players, Redgar, Chronicle, d3ffo, Sheydos, and nAts, to take part in the upcoming VCT competition as an independent team. We wish them and all other players luck in the competition and thank the fans for their continued support of the roster.”

Gambit Esports has yet to reveal any detail surrounding whether the roster will rejoin the organization in the future.