Eight teams have qualified for Valorant’s European First Strike finals, but only one will emerge victorious. Who will take the regional crown? We’ve ranked all qualifying teams ahead of the Global Finals.
Valorant’s First Strike is Riot’s first real move into developing their flagship tactical shooter into a well-established esport. Although events like the Ignition Series and other smaller competitions have allowed teams to flex their muscles throughout the year, the First Strike series has become the true proving ground.
Ahead of the European leg of the Global Finals — one which has seen Guild Esports have to forfeit a win against G2 Esports, among a plethora of upsets — we’ve compiled our predictions of what teams to keep an eye on between December 3-6.
First Strike Europe predictions
8. Orgless V (formerly Prodigy)
Orgless V’s qualifying run has been anything but easy. The first round of qualifiers saw a decent run for the team, but their game in the Playoffs against Team Liquid was anything but convincing. While their first map of Ascent went pretty well, the team were demolished by Liquid on Split.
Their mental, however, remained unbroken. The second round of qualifiers saw Orgless V face-off against L’Institut in a slightly better showing, but L’Institut have a lot less experience than the likes of G2 Esports or Team Liquid and still managed to give Orgless V some trouble. If they’re looking to put on a show versus the big dogs, they’ll really need to step-up their game.
7. Purple Cobras
Purple Cobras have certainly had a few shining moments throughout their battle for one of the top spots. While their first attempt to qualify didn’t go swimmingly, they came back with vengeance and toppled titans in order to earn that First Strike spot.
A strong performance against iconic FPS organization Ninjas in Pyjamas — a team who gave G2 a run for their money — saw the Cobras secure their spot in the Playoffs, where they went up against ‘need more DM.’ Possibly one of the easier opponents of the playoffs bracket, it’ll be interesting to see if the Purple Cobras can slither their way into a better spot.
Nolpenki are the team that no one quite expected to be here. A band of five friends just playing for fun, their first attempt at qualifying ended with a loss to Orgless V and it seemed as though they were maybe just ‘another rookie team.’
That’s not quite the case. Coming back in the second round of qualifiers, nolpenki have emerged as a force to be reckoned with. A fierce battle saw the band of brothers topple fan favorites Guild Esports, who were tipped as being one of the teams likely to make the main event. This, followed by the madness of their reverse sweep against Enterprise Esports sets them up as a possible dark horse in the fight for the title.
5. Team Heretics
Team Heretics are the obvious frontrunners from the second round of qualifiers. Their performance throughout this round was one of dominance, as they stomped pretty much every opponent they were matched against throughout the Play-ins.
Their playoffs performance cemented this, as they dismantled Team Finest with insane plays on both Ascent and Bind. Team Heretics are definitely ones to watch, especially if others see them as less threatening than the likes of FunPlus Phoenix and G2 Esports. Win or lose, we know Team Heretics are going to put on a show.
4. SUMN FC
SUMN FC are a team that a lot of fans wouldn’t expect to be so high on this list. Yet another org-less team based out of the UK, SUMN have cemented themselves as one of the best Valorant teams in Europe. Their run through the qualifiers and play-ins was smooth sailing, with none of their opponents being able to even slightly rock the proverbial boat.
The Playoffs, however, were a little tougher for the UK’s newest contender. Although beating eXiLe eSports 2-0, their opposite number made them work for it and the games were tight. While SUMN are in a great position to take out some of the lower ranked teams, whether they can prove themselves against the ‘best of the best’ is another story entirely.
3. Team Liquid
Team Liquid’s Valorant journey hasn’t always been the easiest. A lot of Valorant fans will cast their mind back to the organization’s less than satisfactory third place at the BLAST Twitch Invitational, where a 0-2 loss to FunPlus Phoenix forced Liquid back to the drawing board.
This time, however, TL have made the First Strike Europe qualifiers and Playoffs look like a walk in the park, and insane plays from Adil ‘ScreaM’ Benrlitom and Travis ‘L1NK’ Mendoza have come to define expectations for the future of Liquid in Valorant. Can they finally see off FPX and G2?
2. FunPlus Phoenix
When Chinese organization FunPlus Phoenix announced their entry into the European Valorant scene, players and fans were shaken. FPX’s history of dominance outside the Valorant sphere set them up as favorites in the competition — and it’s a legacy that they’ve proven they deserve.
Their play-in and playoff runs were marked by pure dominance, only dropping three maps en-route to the main event. It’ll be interesting to see how they stack up against longtime rivals G2. Will their League of Legends dominance transfer over to Future Earth? Or will G2 have their number in Riot’s FPS?
1. G2 Esports
G2 Esports have become one of esports’ most respected teams in the world. Associated with excellence and passion, these samurai have sliced open every game they’ve played, rejigged the meta to suit themselves and left others play catch-up. Their Valorant story is no different.
With a win-rate of 88% and a roster featuring former CS:GO pros like Oscar ‘Mixwell’ Cañellas Colocho and Ardis ‘Ardiis’ Svarenieks, the heat is on for G2. Their qualifying run was dominant, their plays insane and they just keep getting better. We won’t be too surprised if G2 win First Strike Europe, but we can’t wait to see them fight to get there.
G2 Esports to take Valorant’s European crown
So that’s it for our predictions. We certainly can’t tell the future, but based on each team’s showing in the tournament so far, we think G2 are the hot favorites to come out on top.