VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1 Predictions: Favorites, Dark Horses & Early Exits

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VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1 Predictions: Favorites, Dark Horses & Early Exits

Check out our VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1 predictions


The hype surrounding the VCT 2024 season is currently at its peak following Valorant's most successful event, the 2024 Masters Madrid.  Luckily, fans won't have to wait long for new events, as regional tournaments with partnered teams are set to kick off this week. The first to take the stage are the European teams, with the EMEA Stage 1 scheduled to start on April 3rd in Berlin, Germany.

The VCT EMEA scene is thriving right now with new teams like Karmine Corp and Team Heretics starting to show dominance over the previous champions. With numerous teams now performing at a high level, we expect an intensely competitive event. Read on to discover our predictions for the favorites, dark horses, and underdogs of the VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1.

VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1 Predictions: Winner

FNATIC is our pick to become the EMEA Stage 1 winner.

FNATIC

  • Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov
  • Jake “Boaster” Howlett
  • Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev
  • Leo “Leo” Jannesson
  • Emir “Alfajer” Beder
  • Chris “Elmabuddy” Tebbit (Head Coach)

The two-time international VCT champion was our undisputed favorite to win the EMEA Kickoff event as well. However, following a strong start, FNATIC fell to the in-form Karmine Corp in the playoffs stage, resulting in their failure to qualify for the Masters Madrid. Despite this early setback, we believe Boaster and Co. are still the most formidable team in the EMEA region.

VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1 Predictions: Favorites, Dark Horses & Early Exits
Credit: Riot Games

The strength of the FNATIC roster has never been in question. There is a reason why they are the only team in the VCT franchising to make no changes to their squad for the new season. Each player is considered among the world's best in their respective roles, and if they perform at their peak in the EMEA Stage 1 event, the other teams better bring their A-game to beat Boaster’s team.

VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1 Predictions: Other Favorites

Other than FNATIC, Karmine Corp and NAVI are the clear favorites of the event.

NAVI 

  • Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov
  • Andrey “Shao” Kiprsky
  • Pontus “Zyppan” Eek
  • Dmitry “SUYGETSU” Ilyushin
  • Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks
  • Erik “d00mbr0s” Sandgren (Head coach)

It's hard to believe that NAVI has remained trophyless since the inception of the VCT franchise league in 2023. ANGE1’s team consistently starts strong but always fail to cross the finish line. We saw a repeat of this trend in the EMEA Kickoff event earlier this year. Despite comfortably qualifying for the playoffs, they lost against Team Heretics in the semifinals, missing out on a chance to go to Madrid.

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Coming into the VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1, NAVI are again considered one of the favorites simply because, like FNATIC, the team’s firepower and tactical acumen are undoubtedly one of the best in the world. With ardiis replacing cNed, right now the roster is the same as the one that won Masters Copenhagen in 2022 under the banner of FPX. Therefore, do not be shocked if we see a repeat of that feat.

Karmine Corp

  • Martin “MAGNUM” Penkov
  • Tomás “tomaszy” Machado
  • Marshall “N4RRATE” Massey
  • Martin “marteen” Pátek
  • Ryad “sh1n” Ensaad
  • Andrey “ENGH” Sholokhov (Head coach)

Karmine Corp’s transformation from being the worst franchise team to becoming the EMEA Kickoff champion has been the highlight of the 2024 season. The new king of EMEA had an excellent start to the Masters Madrid as well, comfortably beating the no.2 Chinese seed, FPX. However, it went downhill from there as MAGNUM’s team suffered consecutive defeats at the hands of Sentinels and Paper Rex to get eliminated from the event.

VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1 Predictions: Favorites, Dark Horses & Early Exits
Credit: Riot Games/Karmine Corp

Despite the early exit in Madrid, the way the young team fought against two of the top three teams in the tournament showcased their potential to perform even on the biggest stages. 

Their biggest strength lies in their three rookie players – tomaszy, N4RRATE, and marteen, who are displaying their immense potential in their first year in Tier-1 Valorant. If the three rookies shine in the Stage 1 event, combined with the experience of MAGNUM and sh1n, they might retain their title as EMEA champions.

VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1 Predictions: Dark Horses

We consider Team Heretics and FUT Esports to be the biggest dark horses in the upcoming event.

Team Heretics

Paper Rex vs Team Heretics – HIGHLIGHTS | Champions Tour 2024: Masters Madrid

  • Ričardas “Boo” Lukaševičius
  • Dominykas “MiniBoo” Lukaševičius
  • Mert “Wo0t” Alkan
  • Enes “RieNs” Ecirli
  • Benjy “benjyfishy” David Fish
  • Patryk “paTiTek” Fabrowski (sub)
  • Neil “neilzinho” Finlay (Head coach)

Perhaps not to the same extent as Karmine Corp, Team Heretics had their own revival story in the 2024 season. While last season, the team failed to qualify for a single international event, this time around, Team Heretics, with their new roster filled with youngsters, reached the finals of the EMEA Kickoff event to qualify for the year’s inaugural Masters event

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Although the recent success was the result of a team effort, if we were to single out two players with the most impact, it would be Miniboo and ReiNs. This Duelist-Initiator duo was a menace to every team they faced and many Team Heretics wins can be credited to the individual plays pulled off by these two newcomers.

FUT Esports

  •  Furkan “MrFaliN” Yeğen
  •  Eray “yetujey” Budak
  •  Ata “AtaKaptan” Tan
  •  Mehmet “cNed” Yağız İpek
  •  Doğukan “qRaxs” Balaban
  •  Eray “Gais” Sarikaya (Head coach)

FUT Esports has been known as the Paper Rex of EMEA for their aggressive and unconventional gameplay. However, unlike their Asian counterparts, the Turks have yet to achieve accolades in the international VCT scene. That is not to say that they are incapable of beating the top teams.

FUT Esports’ main issue has been the inconsistency. It is well established that they possess a very high skill ceiling and capable of beating every team in the world. Also, the addition of a mechanical god like cNed will only further boost the team’s reputation as a dangerous and unpredictable opponent.

VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1 Predictions: Early Exits

The two teams most likely to get eliminated early in the event are BBL Esports and Gentle Mates.

BBL Esports

  • Efe “Elite” Teber
  • Melih “pAura” Karaduran
  • Eren “Brave” Kasırga
  • Kaan “reazy” Ürpek
  • Doğukan “QutionerX” Dural
  • Arda “Epic” Yıldız (Head coach)

BBL Esports had a forgetful season in 2023. Coming into this season, the Turkish organization made several changes in the team. However, the team's woe continues as they lost both their group stage match and finished last in group B of the EMEA Kickoff event. 

Except for a miracle, we do not see BBL Esports finding success in the VCT EMEA Stage 1 as well. Granted the squad have firepower, but tactically the team lags far behind the top performing teams. Hence, we predict an early exit from Brave and Co. 

Gentle Mates

  • Beyazıt “beyAz” Körpe
  • Logan “logaN” Corti
  • Nathan “nataNk” Bocqueho
  • Jonathan “TakaS” Paupard
  • Wailers “Wailers” Locart
  • Kévin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans (Head Coach)
VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1 Predictions: Favorites, Dark Horses & Early Exits
Credit: Riot Games

We predicted Gentle Mates to be the biggest dark horse in the EMEA Kickoff event. However, it seems that the winner of the VCT 2023 EMEA Ascension is struggling to find its groove in the big league. 

Their debut performance in the group stage was disappointing and far from the level they showed last season. If the Ascension winners really aren’t ready to compete at this level, it is likely we see another early elimination from them.

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VCT 2024 EMEA Stage 1 Predictions: Favorites, Dark Horses & Early Exits
Najib R
Who knew combining a love for cheesy one-liners and Valorant would lead to a writing career?