Over the first few weeks of VCT 2022, Valorant's EMEA audience witnessed the best teams from the region compete for the coveted ticket to the Stage 1 Masters.
Week 2 of the Stage 1 EMEA Challengers fielded an all-out engagement between the European and CIS organizations - FunPlus Phoenix and Gambit Esports. The much-anticipated bout concluded in favor of FPX after an enthralling Bo3 series.
Despite Gambit's overwhelming performance on Bind (13-6), FPX clinched two overtime victories - on Fracture (17-15) and Icebox (14-12) - to earn a decisive win against the Valorant Champions 2021 runners-up.
Currently, after two matches, FunPlus Phoenix stands first in Group A, with Gambit Esports trailing in third place.
FunPlus Phoenix's Zyppan talks about defeating Gambit at the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers
In a conversation with Sportskeeda Esports' Adarsh J Kumar, FunPlus Phoenix's Zyppan shares his experience at the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers so far, detailing his expectations for the remainder of the tournament.
Q: How do you think FunPlus Phoenix performed in the Week 2 fixture against Gambit Esports?
Zyppan: I think we played great. It's a big achievement for us to beat Gambit. We had a few good and bad moments, but it was a great day on the whole.
Q: Despite securing a 12-3 lead in the first map, Fracture, FunPlus Phoenix were denied an easy victory as Gambit claimed 10 consecutive rounds to take the map to overtime. Although FPX eventually won the map, what do you think happened in between that led to this fiasco?
Zyppan: We took a timeout when it was 12-3, to talk about closing the game. However, they started winning a lot of clutch moments, and the Gambit train started rolling. Our nerves hit the roof since we felt like the comeback was starting for them; we started choking. In the end, however, we managed to close it up.
Q: In your words, how would you describe Gambit Esports, and how did they fare in their Week 2 matchup against FunPlus Phoenix?
Zyppan: We like to anti-strat our opponents. Gambit played their usual game today. However, on Bind, they played great individually. They won all of the gunfights. It was hard for me to get some confidence moving.
Q: FunPlus Phoenix is scheduled to face teams like Natus Vincere and Team Liquid over the next few weeks in the VCT Stage 1 EMEA Challengers Group Stage. What is your take on these teams?
Zyppan: I think NAVI and Liquid are really good teams. I think we can defeat them both. We beat NAVI in the VCT CIS Stage 1 Challengers. As for Liquid, we have practiced against them before; we know how they play.
Q: FunPlus Phoenix currently stands first in Group A of the tournament's Group Stage. What are your expectations for the remainder of the tournament, and how confident are you in the team's qualification for the Stage 1 Masters?
Zyppan: I expect FunPlus Phoenix to reach the playoffs of the tournament and eventually qualify for the Stage 1 Masters. We are building our confidence. We had a lot of problems last year. However, we can already sense that we are finally playing well together.