It looks like FunPlus Phoenix won’t be able to attend the first VCT Masters event in Reykjavík due to travel restrictions related to the Russia-Ukraine crisis and partly due to Covid-19 as well. Their Masters slot will automatically go to Team Liquid, who will be representing the EMEA region instead.
This is an unfortunate situation for FPX. They dominated the first EMEA Challengers and took down G2 Esports in the Grand Final. The fans were really looking forward to seeing them fight it out with the best of the best in Reykjavík, but sadly that won’t be happening despite all the best efforts from both FPX and Riot Games.
Too Many Obstacles
FunPlus Phoenix are the new EMEA champions, but their celebration was short-lived. The organisation soon realised that their VCT Masters dream won’t be happening after all. There are a couple of reasons for this.
First of all, the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine has made travel difficult for certain players in the team. Shao and SUYGETSU aren’t able to leave Russia, while ANGE1 isn’t able to leave Ukraine. And to make matters worse, Riot Games didn’t allow Ardiis to compete since he was recently tested positive for Covid-19.
FPX tried their best to find a solution with Riot Games, but it simply wasn’t possible.
“During this time, we have been actively communicating with Riot to explore possible solutions to keep our spot in the Master tournament, including the possibility of allowing us to enter the event with 3 substitutes or competing remotely. Ardiis is recovering and would have been able to play by April 6th.”
Riot Games also issued a statement where they explained why FPX won’t be able to participate. They’re not letting this go without compensating FPX in some way, at least.
“We want to congratulate the team on a strong performance and will be evaluating how to recognize their achievement with VCT points and a portion of the prize pool.”
While FPX will be missing the VCT Masters, they still won’t leave empty-handed. Extra VCT points and a portion of the prize pool will certainly help soften the blow, but the fact they won’t be attending will still hurt.
— FPX (@FPX_Esports) March 28, 2022
An Opportunity for Team Liquid
Team Liquid must sympathize with FPX, but they’re also probably over the moon right now. They got eliminated in the VCT EMEA Challengers: Losers’ Round 2 and yet they’re in VCT Masters in Reykjavík. This is not something that happens every day.
Team Liquid is currently leading the VCT 2022 – Circuit Point Standings in EMEA with 180 points, so they were the first pick in this case. They were presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you bet they were going to take it!
Given how many surprises we’ve seen in Valorant Champions Tour so far, it wouldn’t be unthinkable to see Team Liquid go into the tournament and completely let loose. They weren’t planning on being here in the first place, so perhaps they’ll just go all out. Who knows, they might just win this esports tournament in the end.