Acend, Liquid marginally favored in Playoffs openers – VCT EMEA Stage 2

We have reached the final stages at VCT 2022 EMEA Challengers Stage 2. After a month-long group stage, the teams that made it to the Playoffs became clear. Six teams that finished their groups in the top 3 places will compete against each other to take part in Stage 2 Masters and collect points for the VALORANT Champions 2022, which will be held at the end of the year.

The Knockout Stage will begin with Upper-Round 1. The second and third places of the groups will start their journey from this leg, while the group winners will wait for their opponents in Upper-Round 2. Unlike previous Stages, Stage 2 Playoffs also have a lower-bracket. So, the teams are entitled to lose at least one series this time.

Let’s take a look at the details of the first pairings.

Playoff Stage is Set to Begin - VCT 2022 EMEA Stage 2 Challengers

Acend vs M3 Champions

Acend and M3 Champions will open the playoffs. Although the series is expected to be close, there is a team that stands out.

Acend, who couldn’t finish Stage 1 as they wanted and could not get out of the groups, immediately changed their roster after the unexpected result. They brought in two new names, including a new in-game leader. As with any new team, Acend had adaptation problems at first, but over time they started to get over it. Additionally, they managed to get 4 wins in 5 matches while solving their problems.

On M3 Champions side, things are not so bright. The team that experienced a great loss of performance towards the end of Stage 1 has not been able to recover since then. They were once considered the best team in the world, but they are far from that performance now. The CIS representative was able to win only 2 games in the group stage and made it to the playoffs at the last minute.

If there are no surprises, Acend are closer to winning this series. If M3 Champions remember who they are, the result may change.

Team Liquid vs FunPlus Phoenix

This series is expected to be one of the entertaining and most competitive matches of the knockout phase. Coming into Playoffs, both teams have different stories and it’s hard to predict who will take the W.

FunPlus Phoenix have been fighting with the same lineup for a long time, they have a more coherent roster and plan than their rival. The CIS-based team had reaped the benefits of being together longer by dominating Stage 1. However, things did not go the same for Stage 2. FPX showed that they were not as flawless as before by losing against their two biggest rivals in Group A, Fnatic and Acend.

On the other hand, Team Liquid entered a new formation after Stage 1 Masters. They first parted ways with longtime coach Sliggy, then brought ScreaM to the in-game leader. These two changes brought a new gameplan structure and role distribution. Besides that, L1NK, who had been in the squad since the team’s first day, also departed. Liquid managed to win their last match in the group, despite temporarily competing with Dreamas.

As we said, it is very difficult to predict the outcome of this series. We are sure that a superb competition awaits us, and if we really really need to make a choice, it’s Team Liquid.