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Top
Valorant

VCT Masters 3 Berlin EMEA Preview: Fresh faces from all kinds of places

Scott Robertson

With the next international VALORANT LAN taking place in Berlin, the teams from the European, Turkish, and CIS regions have the shortest necessary flights. G2 Esports founder Carlos “ocelote” Rodriguez can probably walk from G2 HQ over to the venue for VCT Masters 3. But a short geographical distance to travel doesn’t represent the lengthy journeys it took for the four EMEA teams to qualify for this event.

VCT Masters

All four EMEA teams are making their international LAN debut at VCT Masters 3 Berlin. Image via Riot Games.

As mentioned in our North America preview, there are only three teams in Berlin that played at Master Two Reykjavik; NA’s Sentinels, Latin America’s KRU Esports, and Japan’s Crazy Raccoon. The four teams representing EMEA are all making their international LAN debut, and represent a much more diverse field of players. In Iceland, EMEA was represented solely by European teams, with half the players hailing from the United Kingdom. Turkey and CIS both had zero representatives.

But with the expanded format, the top teams from both Turkey and CIS broke through during Stage Three to make it to Berlin. Joining them are two European teams with a contentious history with each other. Let’s take a look at all four of the EMEA teams heading to VCT Master 3 Berlin, starting with the Challengers Playoffs champions.

Gambit

  • Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov, primary agents: Sova, Viper.
  • Nikita “d3ffo” Sudakov, primary agents: Jett.
  • Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin, primary agents: Cypher, Viper.
  • Bogdan “Sheydos” Naumov, primary agents: Sage, Skye.
  • Igor “Redgar” Vlasov, primary agents: Sova, Astra, Omen.

Gambit Esports is looking to dominate CIS and international competition across multiple tactical shooters. They’re approaching VALORANT with the same mindset as they have with CS:GO, by investing in young talent. Outside of the in-game leader Redgar, who’s still only 23, the rest of Gambit’s VALORANT roster is only 19 years old.

These young guns aren’t just pure aimers though, they’re multi-faceted winning players. Outside of their Jett main d3ffo, all the Gambit players can play agents across multiple roles between sentinel, controller, and initiator. Gambit gets a tremendous amount of production out of their sentinels, sheydos on Sage and nAts on Cypher. nAts was especially proficient in the Stage Three EMEA Challengers Playoffs; 5th best KD, 9th in ACS, and top ten in headshot percentage. He was number one in all these categories among players who primarily played a sentinel, dominating sites on his own during defensive rounds.

SuperMassive Blaze

  • Baran “Izzy” Yılmaz, primary agents: Jett, Raze
  • Eren “Brave” Kasırga, primary agents: Omen, Astra
  • Mehmet “Turko” Özen, primary agents: Sage
  • Batuhan “russ” Malgaç, primary agents: Sova, Skye
  • Melih “pAura” Karaduran, primary agents: Killjoy, Cypher

The SuperMassive Blaze roster was constructed with one goal in mind; give Turkey the superteam it needed to compete on an international level. Over the course of a week, that’s precisely what they did by acquiring players from other notable Turkish teams like BBL and Oxygen. This was capped off with the acquisition of pAura from Team Heretics, a player already quite familiar with the level of competition they would expect from EU teams.

Compared to the aforementioned Gambit roster filled with versatile players that can switch between roles, the SuperMassive players are masters at their roles. Like Gambit and other EMEA teams, they roll with the solo duelist composition, but have multiple variants of that comp to suit the needs of whatever map they play. Naturally, a comp like this puts pressure on their sole duelist to deliver, and Izzy has done so; 5th in ACS at EMEA Challengers Playoffs, 7th in KD, and 6th in clutch winning percentage. The Turkish super-team will look to solidify their place atop international VALORANT at VCT Masters 3 Berlin.

Acend

  • Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek, primary agents: Jett, Sage
  • Vladyslav “Kiles” Shvets, primary agents: Sova, Viper, Cypher
  • Patryk “starxo” Kopczyński, primary agents: Skye, Sage
  • Santeri “BONECOLD” Sassi, primary agents: Viper, Omen, Brimstone
  • Aleksander “zeek” Zygmunt, primary agents: Reyna, Raze

After a sudden rise at the end of Stage One, the Raise Your Edge roster cemented their spot in Masters One with a new banner in Acend. Following that, they established their spot in the top tier of Europe, winning Masters One in a grueling five-map affair versus Team Heretics. Both teams had quiet Stage Two’s, and then both had players poaches by the deep pockets of G2. But after losing Koldamenta, Acend added a player who was benched by G2 in Zeek, then found a resurgence in Stage Three.

They were dominant in Challengers One, winning every series in the closed qualifier and the main event, only losing two maps total, including one to G2. This afforded them a bye in the Challengers Playoffs, and wins over Na’Vi and Gambit pushed them through to Berlin. cNed played a huge part in their success, as he continues to establish himself as one of the best Jett players in all the world. In the Challengers Playoffs, he was 3rd in ACS, 4th in KD, tied for 5th along with Scream in first kills per round. He gets plenty of help from his teammates, especially a thriving Zeek, but Acend goes where cNed goes. They will face a familiar foe to start VCT Masters 3 Berlin, in a team that beat them in the Challengers Playoffs, SuperMassive Blaze.

G2 Esports

  • Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho, primary agents: Skye, Viper
  • Žygimantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas, primary agents: Raze, Reyna
  • Auni “AvovA” Chahade, primary agents: Astra, Omen, Sage
  • Jose Luis “koldamenta” Aranguren Herrero, primary agents: Sova
  • Cista “keloqz” Wassim, primary agents: Jett, Sage

In 2020, G2 Esports’ VALORANT roster was on top of the world, or at the very least on top of Europe. Outside of a showmatch against Liquid and their First Strike semifinals loss versus Heretics, they won literally every event they attended. But the first two stages of the VALORANT Champions Tour did not go their way, as they failed to make it past any of the four Challengers main events they qualified for. As disappointing as this may seem, it’s not as bad in hindsight considering all these brackets were single-elimination, but it was still far below the expectations many had set for them.

Disappointed by this outcome, G2 tied mixwell to the mast of the ship, then threw everyone else overboard. They completely reshaped their roster, grabbing nukkye and AvovA from Heretics, koldamenta from Acend, and a young unproven but deadly French Jett player in keloqz. With a revitalized roster and some breathing room in the Stage Three format, they went on an impressive lower bracket run in Challengers One to qualify for the Challengers Playoffs. It was close, but they did just enough there to snag a spot in Berlin. The group will have to really step up given their first opponent at VCT Masters 3 Berlin, the reigning champions in Sentinels.