A new bracket, a new chance for the region to shine.
After a lackluster start to the VCT LOCK//IN tournament, the 2023 season, and the VALORANT partnership era, the EMEA region is looking to rebound in the Omega bracket. And while NAVI in-game leader Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov admitted a lot can happen given the dangerous format, he has high hopes that the top tier of EMEA teams will show out.
“I feel like us, Fnatic, and Liquid are strongest rosters on paper for now.” ANGE1 said in the pre-bracket press conference. “Unfortunately we’ve all been drawn into the same bracket so we can’t see a [European] final. But who knows how it’s going to go? Single-elimination bracket, 32 teams, new meta, new maps, new agents. It’s going to be a bit random, but I feel like it should be a [European] team winning this part of the bracket.”
For EMEA, the Alpha bracket featured a handful of notable bright spots, including Giants’ dominant win over DetonatioN, BBL taking a map off DRX, and a potential breakout star performance from Ryad “Shin” Ensaad of Karmine Corp. But more went wrong than it went right, with the majority of EMEA bounced in the first round, and no teams making it to round three.
But the Omega bracket should prove to be a stronger showing for the region, with so much talent and playoff experience at international tournaments spread across the triumvirate of Liquid, NAVI, and Fnatic. All three rosters feature at least one player that has won an international VCT tournament, most notably on the NAVI roster that features the FPX core that won Masters Copenhagen 2022 and former world champion cNed.
The trio of teams burdened with expectations aren’t alone, though, with Vitality and FUT Esports looking to make some noise and perhaps replicate the likes of Talon Esports with a surprising run through the bracket.
The Omega Bracket officially starts on Feb. 22 at 11am CT, with Team Liquid taking on Team Secret.