Boaster and ANGE1 prepare for NA rivalry at Masters Tokyo
It's all about to get heated in the VALORANT Champions Tour as EMEA's finest talents prepare to butt heads in league Playoff stages.
Fnatic is coming in on fire, with red-hot talons and a devilish swagger on the back of an undefeated 9-0 league play split, unrivalled anywhere in the world.
Na'Vi isn't a bystander either though, whose hooves have kicked into gears as they prepare to lock horns with the best in the business and prove that their Op sting is just as fearsome as anyone else in the region.
And both already have their eyes firmly on a trip to Tokyo, not to unsettle the dragons that lie there though, but instead to hunt a familiar foe who has come to collect a gold-plated souvenir.
Boaster and ANGE1 eye NA rivalry at Masters Tokyo
As Fnatic and Na'Vi looked poised for a trip to Tokyo, starting in the upper bracket of the EMEA Playoffs, and only needing one win to secure a top-four qualification spot, both Jake "Boaster" Howlett and Kyrylo "ANGE1" Karasov are chomping at the bit to get ahold of their North American counterparts at Masters.
When asked who they would like to face, should they get to Tokyo, Boaster instantly picked his favourite, saying, "I'd like to play Cloud9."
"Mainly because so many people are talking whatnot and whatnot about Cloud9 versus EMEA and I'd love to play them. I just want to knock out another NA team, personally, it'll be sick," Boaster added, in the VCT EMEA pre-Playoffs press conference, in response to a GGRecon question.
ANGE1 also echoes this sentiment, despite not picking an outright victim to punish with the Op of Mehmet "cNed" İpek.
"Actually, I also would like to test against America's teams, because they look strong," ANGE1 said, before taking a quick jibe, adding, "but they play each other, so, you know."
Both LOUD and Cloud9 sit on quite impeccable records in the Americas league too, heading into their own Playoffs with 8-1 records, so it's no wonder why EMEA's finest want to take on teams of a similar calibre.
Redgar and Rhyme aim for international experience with Masters Tokyo qualification
Although Fnatic and Na'vi both have one foot on the plane to Tokyo, they aren't the only team with one eye on the international event either with the success at LOCK//IN securing another qualification spot for EMEA's finest talent.
"I want to play versus every other region's teams. Because usually when I played [internationally] it was a lot versus EA teams, but I want to play a lot versus the other regions and get that experience," said Redgar.
Throughout his time on Gambit and M3 Champions, Redgar and his long-time Liquid companion Ayaz "nAts" Akhmetshin both operated at Masters 3 and Champions in 2021 where they played a number of international teams, but never the likes of LOUD, and faced EU and NA teams in both Grand Finals appearances (Envy and Acend, respectively).
On the flip side, Giants Gaming's Emir "rhyme" Muminovic got his first taste of international competition at LOCK//IN Sao Paulo, where they faced NRG and DetonatioN FocusMe, and is now looking to cross bullets with one of the world's best teams.
"For me, it's definitely DRX. I know some of you already played them but that's a team we practiced with a lot in Brazil when we were there. It's a team that I really want to play against to see how we are".
Of course, the first stop is the EMEA Playoffs, where only four of the six teams will secure a ticket to Tokyo, where the behemoths of the VALORANT world are already waiting...