Four days of European VALORANT action have produced four teams that will advance directly to the Challengers Two event. Challengers Two will determine the first four participants of the EU Masters event.
There won’t be a delay like there was between the North American open qualifiers and the closed qualifier. Just a day after the eight teams are determined for the closed qualifier, they play one more round to determine who advances directly to Challengers Two.
Here are the four teams that will bypass the open qualifiers and directly qualify for EU Challengers Two.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
It’s safe to say that Ninjas in Pyjamas had a great weekend in the competitive FPS genre. Just a day after the org’s CS:GO roster booked their ticked to the BLAST Spring Finals, NiP’s VALORANT roster earned their spot at Challengers Two.
The Ninjas faced off against a formidable foe in G2 Esports in their closed qualifier match. In their first map, NiP ran zero duelists on Icebox but still won decisively on the shoulders of Egor “chiwawa” Stepanyuk’s Cypher play. After G2 evened the series on Bind and led 8-4 on the final map, Split, NiP rallied with an impressive defensive second half to deliver the upset.
With this win, the Ninjas quickly redeemed themselves after losing 3-1 to G2 just a week prior at Red Bull Home Ground. After missing out on First Strike, the Ninjas are looking to establish themselves in the upper echelon of European VALORANT.
We’re not monkeying around, an unsigned roster under the banner “Monkey Business” really did qualify for Challengers Two. The team with the shade-wearing, streak-bearing monkey for a logo first appeared at Red Bull Home Ground, falling in quick fashion to SUMN FC.
But while SUMN FC found an organization to call home in Fnatic, they weren’t able to find a spot at Challengers Two yet. Monkey Business, though, punched their ticket to the next Challengers event with two 2-0 victories against Team Vitality and Guild Esports. The dominant force behind Monkey Business has been Dragan “elllement” Milanović, a former CS:GO pro. In both series, he split his duties between Sage and Reyna and notched 43 kills against Guild and 51 against Vitality.
In just over a week, Monkey Business have become the latest unsigned roster to turn heads in what’s becoming a trend in Europe. They’ve already gained the attention of OG, whose legendary Dota 2 roster originally competed under the same name. Will OG be the next European org to jump into VALORANT?
Let’s get the obvious pun out of the way: Wave Esports made waves when they upset Fnatic in the closed qualifier. This is the second iteration of a primarily German roster formed in October. And while they were highly competitive in the lower tiers of European VALORANT, they weren’t considered a favorite in Challengers.
Despite that, the team won both series 2-0 prior to facing Fnatic and didn’t back down in the face of the former First Strike grand finalists. Even after taking a one-sided beating on Bind to open the series, Wave took an overtime victory on Haven to force a decisive map three. On Split, it was Wave’s turn to dominate, blowing open a 6-6 halftime score with a perfect string of seven attacking rounds to end the series.
With their direct qualification to Challengers Two, Wave Esports is one step closer to playing in the first EU Masters.
Ironically, one of the least surprising names to qualify for Challengers Two had one of the toughest qualification series. FunPlus Phoenix, widely considered one of the best teams in Europe, faced off against Team Liquid after dispatching both Raise Your Edge and Alliance in 2-0 fashion.
While their series against Liquid only went to two maps, it was easily one of the most competitive two-map series ever witnessed. Both maps went to overtime and FPX just barely withstood the unreal output from Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom. The Belgian superstar put up 63 kills across two maps, but it wasn’t enough for Liquid to beat FPX.
FPX now join NiP, Wave Esports, and Monkey Business as direct invites to the Challengers Two closed qualifier. Four teams will join them and the top four from that event will qualify for Masters.