Challengers EMEA Weekly Recap: All of the Action (March 1-12)

Mar 13, 2023

DACH: Evolution

Winner: CGN Esports

Despite entering the playoffs as the last seed, CGN Esports took down frontrunners MOUZ and Unicorns of Love to snatch the DACH: Evolution trophy in style. Despite starting strong by beating MOUZ, the squad dropped into the lower bracket following a swift 2-0 defeat to Unicorns of Love. After defeating Angry Titans in a close-fought reverse sweep, they stood against the Unicorns yet again, but this time they weren’t going down. Dismantling DACH’s prized ponies 3-0, CGN looked incredible, closing out their underdog run in style. Next time the Unicorns will be watching out for this dark horse - that’s for sure.

East: Surge

Winner: Acend

Acend returned to their former Champions glory, taking the East: Surge trophy in dominant fashion. Acend soared through the upper bracket by taking down Diamant Esports and Enterprise Esports. Enterprise didn’t let the lower bracket faze them though, beating Anonymo Esports to secure a rematch against Acend. Unfortunately, they didn’t mirror DACH: Evolution’s CGN as Acend walked away with a 3-0 victory. While Enterprise took them into overtime on the second map Haven, Icebox and Pearl were easy matches for Acend, who will certainly have a target on their back next split.

France: Revolution

Winner: SBG

Following a dominant run in the regular season SBG secured the France: Revolution trophy - but that doesn’t mean they weren’t challenged along the way. Valiant proved to be quite the powerhouse, taking SBG the whole way during the semifinals in a back-and-forth series that had us on the edge of our seats. Mandatory also challenged the star squad, but only managed to take one map in the final. Crashing out after only taking two rounds on the final map Icebox, SBG proved themselves worthy of the trophy.

Italy: Rinascimento

Winner: GMT Esports

Don’t you just love an upset? If so, the Italy: Rinascimento playoffs had all that and more. GMT Esports swept aside top-tier teams MACKO Esports and HMBLE in an intense lower-bracket run, moving on to face the almost flawless DSYRE, who had only been defeated once throughout the split. The series was intense, and given DSYRE’s performance on Lotus it looked like it was potentially over for GMT, but they regrouped and brought out a surprise Yoru pick on Haven, securing Italy: Rinascimento’s first-ever title in style.

MENA: Resilience

GCC & Iraq

Winner: Unity Esports

While Team Falcons were very much poised to take the GCC & Iraq crown, regular season rivals Unity Esports took home the trophy. Having fallen to Falcons in the upper bracket final, they took down Triple Esports Club to secure a rematch against the birds of prey. The series started with a bang, seeing Unity close out Icebox deep into overtime. Falcons, however, forced a fourth map after taking Split and Ascent in close fashion. While Unity walked away as the victors, Falcons will be back next split with their claws primed - and we know just how vicious they can be.

Levant & North Africa

Winner: Team RA’AD

Three squads entered the playoffs at the top of the leaderboard, but only one emerged as the true victor: Team RA’AD. While entering the playoffs in the lower bracket, they took down Onyx Ravens and NASR Esports to secure a spot against Geekay Esports, the team to beat - and that’s what they did. In a hard-fought series that saw second map Ascent run into overtime, Team RA’AD looked dominant and stamped themselves as frontrunners coming into the second split with a 3-0 victory.

Northern Europe: Polaris

Winner: Apeks

Having dominated the regular season, Apeks proved yet again that they are Northern Europe: Polaris’ premier squad. Taking down FOKUS with a reverse sweep, they easily dispatched of HSDIRR afterwards to earn their slot in the finals. FOKUS tore through the lower bracket without dropping a map, meeting Apeks at the end of the line with victory on their minds. While the series went to four games, FOKUS eventually fell to Apeks on Haven, but at least they went down swinging.

Portugal: Tempest

Winner: SAW

As potentially expected, regular season titans SAW emerged as Portugal: Tempest’s first-ever champions. Things started a little rocky, though, as they dropped their first playoffs map to GTZ in the upper bracket final, but quickly found their feet on Lotus and Icebox. When GTZ came back to challenge them yet again in the finals, they struggled against SAW’s might on Haven and Fracture, but took Icebox to extend the series. Despite this, SAW simply proved too much on the fourth and final map, Lotus, snatching the victory and handing GTZ second place.

Spain: Rising

Winner: Case Esports

Reigniting their rivalry, the race to the Spain: Rising finals was between Team Queso and Case Esports, who soared through the semifinals to clash again. Case Esports looked incredible, with the first map Icebox and the third map Ascent proving easy. While Queso looked great on the second map Haven, they ran out of steam on Lotus, only picking up two rounds and allowing Case Esports to retain their title as Rising champions! 

Türkiye: Birlik

Winner: S2G Esports

They may have come into the Türkiye: Birlik playoffs as the fourth seed, but S2G Esports emerged as the victors. Breezing through the quarterfinals against Istanbul Wildcats, they took down first seed Fire Flux Esports in a hard-fought semifinals battle - third map Lotus only ended after 34 intense rounds. With the top seed out of the running and second-place squad Parla Esports dropping to Papara SuperMassive, could S2G temper the blaze? Yes, yes they could. A swift 3-0 later (which started with a dominant 13-2 on Icebox), S2G emerged victorious, making their mark on Türkiye’s VALORANT scene in style.