NAVI and Liquid to cement Playoffs spots – VCT EMEA Week 7 Preview
NAVI and Team Liquid are amongst the two of the strongest contenders in Europe, only beneath Fnatic. After their duel last week that went handily to NAVI, Liquid seek to bounce back this week and secure a favorable playoffs seed. Simiarly, NAVI hopes to continue the winning trend and challenge Fnatic for the top spot.
Both teams are facing Turkish counterparts in Futbolist and BBL respectively.
NAVI seizing the season
Navi started off the year with a brand new roster, mostly comprising of players from the previous FunPlus Phoenix lineup. Given FPX’s success in 2022, the team were poised to perform well heading into the San Paolo Lock in, the first International event of the year. The team performed strongly before being knocked out by Fnatic in the semi-finals, ending with a respectable top 4 finish.
Unfortunately for them in just the first game into the 2023 VCT EMEA League, they suffered a surprising and crippling 0-2 defeat to KOI. However, Navi flipped doubters and completely turned around with a 6 game winstreak, consistently improving from close yet wins against mid tiers like Giants and Heretics, before recently demolishing Team Vitality and Team Liquid in decisive 2-0 finishes.
Natus Vincere’s newfound consistency places them in a great position to challenge for top spot if Fnatic fumbles a match.
Team Liquid on the ropes
Team Liquid made a big call at the end of 2022 to let go of Nivera along with IGL and former CS:GO pro ScreaM, a pillar who they had initially built their roster around. Bringing in new blood, Liquid most notably signed nAts & Redgar, former 2021 VCT Master Berlin winners, and the runners up in the 2021 Valorant Champions. With Redgar now in the drivers seat, Liquid was expected to take a leap forward with worldclass strategies, a weakness Scream lacked given his CS:GO background prioritized risky aim duels and brute force.
Similar to NAVI, Liquid had a slow start, dropping their first match against Vitality before they were able to find their foothold, sweeping the rest of the competition aside from Fnatic.
Liquid’s placement now depends on both how NAVI fares in their match versus Futbolist, and how TL themselves fare against BBL. Both Liquid and Futbolist sit at a 4-3 scorline, while BBL stands at 3-4 and will tie if they beat Liquid this week.
By the end of this week, we will likely have a full Playoffs lineup confirmed in EMEA.
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