VALORANT First Strike: Europe Main Event – Meet the Teams
Throughout November, teams known and lesser-known battled it out in the VALORANT First Strike: Europe qualifiers to secure a place in the main event, which begins 3 December at 17:00 CET and runs through to 6 December.
Eight teams have made it through to the main event, with each team boasting some of the finest players that the region has to offer. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the teams and players to watch during this historic tournament.
If you have even a passing interest in esports, you’ve probably come across G2 Esports. G2 are seen by many as the top European esports organisation, best known for their peerless League of Legends squad. G2’s VALORANT team is primarily built around Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas Colocho, a former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro player who became a star in OpTic Gaming.
As the team’s captain, mixwell took a significant role in recruiting the rest of G2’s talent, picking players that complemented his aggressive playstyle. G2 aimed to build the most talented roster around, resulting in a diverse roster with players hailing from Sweden, Latvia, and Belgium. Polish star Patryk "paTiTek" Fabrowski is also full of confidence, believing he is one of the top-five talents in the region. Given that G2 have already won five out of five EU VALORANT Ignition Series tournaments, there’s no doubt that they are the team to beat in this tournament.
Much like G2, Team Liquid are an organisation with a pedigree in esports. The organisation represents pro teams competing in Apex Legends, Counter-Strike, and LoL, to name a few. Unlike G2, Team Liquid’s VALORANT roster is centred around one specific region – the UK. Adam “ec1s” Eccles heads up TL’s roster joined by several fellow Brits and Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom, who hails from Belgium.
Team Liquid have already established themselves as a formidable force in VALORANT, having defeated Ninjas in Pyjamas at the BLAST Twitch Invitational and stormed the First Strike Europe qualifiers, making them major contenders for the First Strike: Europe trophy. Liquid even defeated favourites G2 in a recent show match, proving that anything can happen in VALORANT esports.
Despite coming from a Chinese organisation, FunPlus Phoenix's VALORANT team is as European as it gets, featuring players from Ukraine, Sweden, and Russia. The team is fronted by Kirill “ANGE1” Karaslow, an esports veteran who boasts an almost 15-year career in professional Counter-Strike before he made the switch to VALORANT.
FPX will be known to LoL fans for taking down G2 in the Worlds 2019 finals and raising the Summoner's Cup for themselves. And they've already made waves in VALORANT esports by taking second at the BLAST Twitch Invitational in September, fending off Team Liquid for a place in the finals but ultimately losing to G2. We're sure to see sparks fly when these teams clash in the First Strike: Europe Main Event.
In stark contrast to the teams above, SUMN FC aren’t attached to any organisation. This is a team who simply banded together for the love of the game, and have since gone on to establish themselves as one of the most promising teams in the region.
Led by Jake “Boaster” Howlett, SUMN FC are another predominantly British team, with James “Mistic” Orfila, Muhammad “Moe40” Hariff, and coach Jacob “mini” Harris. The team is rounded out by Domagoj “doma” Fancev and Kostas “tsack” Theodoropoulos, from Croatia and Greece respectively. With a flawless run of wins in the qualifiers under their belts, SUMN FC might just be the dark horse of this tournament.
Nolpenki is another organisation-free VALORANT squad, with players hailing from Lithuania, Sweden, Turkey, Finland, and Poland. The squad is led by Vakaris "vakk" Bebravičius, who established Nolpenki alongside teammate Mehmet Yağız "cNed" İpek, while Aleksander "zeek" Zygmunt transferred from recently defunct orgless Polish team, THOSE GUYS. Much like SUMN FC, they too are self-described as a “group of people playing and improving together, trying to conquer the VALORANT world.”
Esports player agency Prodigy has entered its own team in First Strike: Europe, which has now changed its name to Orgless to avoid confusion. The team features top players from across Europe including Lithuania, France, and Finland. The team is led by Russian Daniil “pipsoN” Meshcheryakov, a former Counter-Strike player and coach previously at Pro100. They had a strong run in the first week of qualifiers, only to be taken out in the first round of Playoffs by Team Liquid, but came back fighting in week two and took down French team L'institut to secure their place in the Main Event.
Our penultimate squad is another org-less team vying for glory in First Strike: Europe. Led by Brit Liam “fanCy” Ebanks, Purple Cobras struggled initially in the first week of qualifiers, but eventually found their footing in Qualifier D and began to tear through the competition. They even knocked out Swedish organisations Ninjas in Pyjamas and Granit Gaming in their Play-Ins and defeated Need more DM in the play-offs, a team that had previously secured fourth at the WePlay! Invitational in July.
Spanish organization Team Heretics have already made waves in Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, and Rainbow Six Siege esports, and now their sights are set on VALORANT. The team is captained by Spaniard Christian “loWel” Garcia Antoran, an established pro player with a history in PENTA, mousesports, Dignitas, Movistar Riders, and others. The team includes players from Turkey, Lithuania, Germany, and Denmark, presided over by British head coach, Tanishq “Tanizhq” Sabharwal.Now the stage is set for the teams and players of VALORANT First Strike: Europe, make sure to head over to Twitter to follow the latest updates on the European event. And don't forget to follow and subscribe to our Twitch and YouTube channels so you don’t miss a moment of the action. Who will you support?