FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) enjoyed a spectacular campaign in the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers, claiming their first-ever major title in VCT events. After initiating their journey in the Stage 1 CIS Challengers, FPX made their way to the summit by winning over every top-tier organization in EMEA.
In the Upper Bracket Finals of the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers, FPX encountered Fnatic, one of the most famous names in European esports. While Fnatic enjoyed an incredible run leading up to the matchup, they failed to suppress FPX's firepower in their best-of-three matchup.
FunPlus Phoenix opened up the match with a staggering 13-0 victory over Fnatic on Split. While Fnatic was strong in their efforts at a comeback on Haven, FPX curtailed their attempt, following up with another 13-10 victory on the map.
This meant FunPlus Phoenix claimed a 2-0 victory to progress to the Grand Finals of the VCT EMEA.
d00mbr0s comments on FunPlus Phoenix's performance after win over Fnatic in VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers Upper Final
In conversation with Sportskeeda Esports' Adarsh J Kumar, FunPlus Phoenix head coach Erik "d00mbr0s" Sandgren spoke about the team's performance after their victory against Fnatic, detailing their experience at the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers.
Q: The win against Fnatic today was crucial for FPX's qualification for the VCT Masters Reykjavik. How do you feel after achieving such a feat?
d00mbr0s: I feel good. I have mixed feelings since the recent period has been stressful with many unfortunate events, but I'm thrilled that we managed to pull through and perform. We've had a lot of hardships, so I'm relieved more than anything.
Q: Fnatic enjoyed an unbeaten run in the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers until they met FPX in the Upper Finals. Can you give your insight on how FPX succeeded in overthrowing Fnatic on both maps?
d00mbr0s: From clutches to advantage rounds, we nailed everything today, and that's something we usually struggle with when we play without ANGE1 since that's when we become a bit loose.
Now that ardiis is sick and ANGE1 can play, he can steer and IGL the team in a way where our conversion rate is much better.
It's the same with clutches. Being able to micro-manage clutch situations and having a tighter game was the difference-maker today, and I think we played really well.
Q: The encounter on Split (Map 1) was heavily one-sided, as FPX claimed the map with a flawless 13-0 victory. Considering Fnatic's unbeaten form leading to the matchup, where do you think they faltered?
d00mbr0s: I think their comp suffers from a few different things, though it was designed to stop them in their tracks. That means if we play good and they play bad, it will be a stomp. Our comp was designed to disrupt them and kill them before they could do anything.
We watched their VODs. We are usually not one-dimensional, but we like to do certain things repeatedly. So, once we have a good read, we will win every round unless they've changed.
They couldn't adapt and change in time, and we pulled off some clutches. In the end, we just stuck to our game plan, and they didn't change theirs, so the 13-0 happened.
Q: ANGE1 was away from competitive Valorant for well over a month before this matchup. With the situation around ardiis' health, how did FPX manage to accommodate ANGE1 back into the lineup on short notice?
d00mbr0s: Honestly, we didn't do much. He hasn't played the game in a long time, and we didn't have any options. I think he felt like there was nothing to lose and played to enjoy the game on Jett, an Agent he has hardly played before in an official capacity.
For him, it was all about having fun and trying to imitate ardiis or cNed and doing his best as Jett. With his confidence, it just worked; there was no fear in him.
Q: The match against Fnatic was baddyG's fifth appearance for FPX since his arrival as a substitute earlier in March. How effective has he been for FPX at the VCT EMEA Challengers, and how well does he fit into your lineup?
d00mbr0s: I think baddyG has done a great job. He shares the mindset and vision that we have for the team and is performing when it matters. We consider him a part of the team now, not as a substitute.
He's getting the same treatment as everyone else, and he's in our starting lineup until something changes. I think he's earned that spot on the team, and he's done more than enough to help us. I'm really proud of him.
Q: This was FPX's second match on the new meta after the updates from patch 4.04 were introduced in the VCT EMEA Challengers Playoffs. How do you like the new meta so far, and do you think the Agent changes work in favor of FPX's playstyle?
d00mbr0s: It's hard to say because the recent patch came so quickly. We haven't had much time to practice, so we just changed a few critical Agents without changing the structure.
A few teams like M3C, for example, made the mistake of changing too much and trying to redo the meta by playing compositions that they haven't had much practice on. The key thing for us was to change some small things but keep the overall structure because we still have to perform in officials.
Apart from that, the new patch will fit us well, especially if ANGE1 wants to come back because he can be a great Omen. We also have great Brimstone players, so I don't think that will be a problem.
We are more than happy to play more aggressively if needed or even more passive. We can change the comps however we want.