Fnatic capture back-to-back world titles with VCT Masters Tokyo victory
The EMEA superteam remains the best in the world.
Photo by Colin Young-Wolff via Riot Games
Fnatic is the VALORANT Champions Tour Masters Tokyo champions, becoming the first-ever back-to-back international titleholders with a confident 3-0 victory over Evil Geniuses on June 25. With the trophy secured, the European team cement their spot as the best in pro-VALORANT in 2023—and it isn’t even close.
The best-of-five began on Lotus, a map Fnatic had no problems on in their previous match against EG. They weren’t able to match that 10-2 dominant start this time around, heading into the half tied 6-6, but were others head and shoulders above EG. Conceding just two rounds in the second half, Fnatic wiped out the American representatives 13-8 in what was looking like a short Championship Sunday.
Split started close, but Fnatic pulled out a confident defense off of Emir “Alfajer” Beder’s Cypher to lead by four rounds. His hold on the A site was nigh impregnable, using his Camera to peek over smokes and walls, and hiding in corners for easy information and kills.
As the map went on, both teams smartly used timeouts to break their opponent’s streaks, with nothing separating the two at 11-11. That was, until Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev exploded onto the B site in round 23, getting four kills to earn Fnatic a match point.
Two fast kills enabled the bomb plant before a double kill with his Showstopper in the post ensured they wouldn’t need another opportunity to tie up the map. Up 2-0 in the series, Fnatic was showing the strength of the double map ban earned from the upper bracket and threatened an early finals sweep.
All Fnatic had to do was deny EG a chance to get back in the game, much like they did against LOUD at the LOCK//IN grand finals. With their backs to the wall, the surprise packet in Tokyo pulled out a desperate Reyna and Chamber combo, with the agents barely touched across the event ahead of their do-or-die on Bind.
EG’s composition seemed to take Fnatic off guard, with Kelden “Boostio” Pupello on the Reyna and Max “Demon1” Mazanov on the Chamber finding lots of value from their abilities and weaponry early on.
EG dictated the pace of bind, up 8-4 at the half, then quickly extending their lead after winning the second pistol. Up 12-7, it seemed like a formality that Ascent would be needed, but Fnatic was unfazed. The EMEA champs fought right back to take it to overtime, and two quick rounds led to Fnatic’s second title of 2023.
Their dynasty at the top of VALORANT was hinted at throughout the event, but with this win, it’s official—the super team formed in the off-season is now well and truly out in front.
On stage, the champions spoke in depth about the struggles of the series and just what it took for the squad to turn their fate around and secure their second title. “It was kind of rough for us at the start of Bind, but we realized it was just like LOUD on Icebox in the last finals,” said Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov. “We just had to focus on the comeback, focus on our attack side, and it went just as we expected. I’m happy we stayed focused.”
Related: Full results from VALORANT’s VCT Masters Tokyo 2023 tournament
It wasn’t just focus, because when asked about the EMEA-versus-NA final, Leo Jannesson just stated the hard truth no one was ready to hear.
“[EMEA] just practice harder than NA,” Leo said on stage. “We got the extra spot for our region and it’ll show at Champions.”
With this win, Fnatic earned another spot for EMEA at VCT Champions, with two teams making it out of the Last Chance Qualifier starting on July 19.
About the author
Contributing writer for Dot Esports. Covering esports news for just over five years. Focusing on Overwatch, VALORANT, Call of Duty, Teamfight Tactics, and some general gaming content. Washington Post-published game reviewer.Follow me on Twitter at @xtraweivy.