We've been waiting a long time for any news regarding the continuation of VCT Challengers EMEA, which has somewhat stalled by the currently ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine. We constantly hear about the insolvency of CIS organizations, and players escaping the war with their families to safe places.
So far, Gambit Esports, Natus Vincere and even Guild Esports (which has only one Russian player on the team) have had to postpone their VCT Challengers games. Many people thought that at least two of those teams would have to give up on the tournament. As it turns out, the tournament will continue on March 16, but with some minor changes.
Gambit Will Play As M3 Champions
Gambit Esports is currently the only all-Russian team in the VCT Challengers EMEA. This group means so much to the Valorant esports community; they are the current World Vice-Champions and winners of VCT Masters Stage 3: Berlin. And well, that's where their new name – M3 Champions – came from.
Gambit has made the decision to allow individual players to continue in the VCT competition as an independent team.— VALORANT Champions Tour EMEA (@valesports_emea) March 14, 2022
Starting Wednesday March 16, the players will compete under the ''M3 Champions'' name and all of their postponed matches will be scheduled for the upcoming days. https://t.co/CT2GSDgsxh
There will be no changes to the roster – the name is the only thing that changes. However, nAts's company will represent no organization, which probably means that their payouts will also change, which is actually quite sad. Although they are Russian players, they are just young guys who have no influence on government decisions and just want to play the video game and fulfill their dreams.
The current Gambit squad has three matches left to play, and these are:
- vs. Natus Vincere (16.03, 04:00 PM CEST)
- vs. BIG (17.03, 04:00 PM CEST)
- vs. LDN UTD (18.03, 04:00 PM CEST)
To qualify for the Playoffs, they need to win 2 of those matches.
CIS At VCT Masters
Even if CIS teams and players from Russia who represent international organizations (like wippie from Version1) qualify for VCT Masters, it is not at all clear if they will be able to go to the LAN finals in Reykjavik. It is likely that many qualified teams will have to opt for stand-in players, such as we see with FunPlus Phoenix, who swapped "ANGE1" for baddyG (ex-Ballista Esports). As of now, there is no official statement on this from Riot Games, though. Still, it is worrying that there are more and more rumors about insolvency and suspension of operations of many organizations in big esports leagues like ESL.