KOI defeated Excel Gaming in a thrilling best of three upset during Day 2 of the VALORANT Champions Tour open qualifiers for Challengers 1. It’s an encouraging sign for KOI, a relatively inexperienced team that is backed by the brand new Spanish organization created by Ibai “Ibai” Llanos and footballer Gerard Piqué Bernabeu.
KOI bring with them the full support of the Spanish fandom as they head into the round of 16 on Wednesday. They play Straight Outta Retirement, a team from the Czech Republic, at noon ET. From there, the competition will get even stiffer. To qualify for the VCT closed qualifier, KOI will also have to beat the winner of the match between KOVA and Team Vitality.
GG wp guys you're so good
— Sikako (@sikak0) January 11, 2022
Meanwhile, Excel are out of the event but can try again next week to make it through to the closed qualifiers and, eventually, Europe, Middle East and Africa Challengers 1. Like KOI, Excel have a new roster assembled in anticipation of the new 2022 VCT season. Still, their defeat is considered an upset mainly due to the weight of the organization’s name and the experience of players like Patryk “paTiTek” Fabrowski.
Excel are not the first big name to fall victim to the fiercely competitive European open qualifiers. On Tuesday, Team Heretics were knocked out on the first day of the event, losing to Valar Morghulis. Other big names eliminated on Day 2 include Giants Gaming, Team Finest, Rix.GG Thunder and OG.
On Day 3, EMEA VCT fans may also get treated to a deciding match between Guild Esports and YONK if both teams win their first match. YONK is an org-less team headed by Yacine “Yacine” Laghmari and Malkolm “bonkar” Rench, both former Guild members. Keep an eye on that match to see if the Swedes can eliminate their former team, who also happen to be a staple in the VCT.