The Grand Final stage of VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers hosted two of the top Valorant teams from Europe - FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) and G2 Esports - as they engaged in an enthralling combat to determine the champions of EMEA.
A fierce 5-map entertainer between the sides sealed the victory in favor of FPX, granting them a favorable seeding in the upcoming VCT Stage 1 Masters.
However, due to travel restrictions and covid regulations, FPX will be unable to field a roster in Masters: Reykjavic, and hence will be replaced by Team Liquid at the tournament.
Despite their inability to compete at the upcoming LAN event, FPX has achieved a monumental feat by grinding their way up through the Open Qualifiers and ousting G2 Esports in the Grand Finals.
FPX emerged with a 3-1 victory, sealing their place in history as the champions of VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers.
Shao talks about FunPlus Phoenix's performance after their victory over G2 Esports in VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers Grand Finals
In a conversation with Sportskeeda Esports' Adarsh J Kumar, FunPlus Phoenix's Andrey "Shao" Kiprsky spoke about his team's triumph at the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers, detailing their efforts to emerge champions of Europe.
Q: FunPlus Phoenix has come a long way since the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers kicked off in January. How does it feel to be crowned the champions of Europe?
Shao: I'm excited and proud of my boys. With the amount of difficulties we have encountered along the way, it's unexplainable. But in the end we are champions, so I'm happy.
Q: G2 Esports entered the Grand Finals in great form, defeating Fnatic 3-0 in the Upper Finals. How do you think FunPlus Phoenix played against them, and what aspects of FPX's performance do you think aided in your victory?
Shao: We played well, we won three maps. The first three maps were ones we hadn't played yet in the playoffs, so that was a surprise element for us.
Breeze, Icebox and Ascent were the ones we didn't play, but we took them and got a big result in 2 of them. Split, of course, was an overtime victory. We even tried to change our comp for the map. In the end, we did it.
Q: FPX has encountered G2 Esports several times in various tournaments. How would you describe their performance in this matchup, and do you think they performed the way you expected them to?
Shao: On Breeze and Split, they anti-strat us, which they couldn't do on Icebox and Ascent since we changed the comp completely, even changing our approach to the map. But they just anti-strat us on those two maps. However, on the other maps, they didn't change much and we were prepared for them.
Q: After playing a variety of roles (Astra, Sova, Sage) for the team over the course of the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers, you picked Jett for your Grand Finals matchup on Icebox. What resulted in you filling the role of the Duelist for FPX?
Shao: ANGE1 told me to take Jett, and I just took Jett and played my game. I used to play Jett on Icebox, so I had experience. Even though it's a new Icebox, the way I play the map is still the same. I was just trying to help everywhere on defense, while giving the team entry in attack.
Q: Over the course of the VCT Stage 1 EMEA Challengers, you played several matches on Astra. After the changes that came with the Agent in Patch 4.04, can we expect you to pick up roles like Brimstone and Omen in the near future?
Shao: I have only 1 game as Brimstone, which was for a charity tournament. We just played for fun. But maybe in the future, you will see me on Brimstone.
I really liked this patch because they finally removed Viper-Astra comps, which used to be annoying before. As a result, we see teams go with different comps now. As you can see, we won the tournament on this patch as well, so we're happy.
Q: FunPlus Phoenix set foot in the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers by winning the CIS Challengers 1. After claiming the title of EMEA Champions, how would you describe your experience at the tournament?
Shao: I really like that we started the tournament with the Open Qualifiers to warm up before facing Tier 1 teams. We gained a lot of experience after facing every single Tier 1 team and playing in the CIS Challengers 1 Finals.
I'm proud of my team for doing a great job. I want to thank the fans as well for supporting us till the end.