The 2022 VCT season is underway with the first week of the EMEA Stage 1 Groups in the books.
NAVI, Gambit, FPX, Acend, Guild, and Fnatic all walked away with victories and look to ride the momentum into week 2.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the first week of competition.
Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games
Gambit pick up where they left off
Gambit had one of the tougher first games in the Group Stage - facing a Team Liquid eager to get off on the right foot.
Unfortunately for TL, not much has changed since Champions. Gambit is still in the conversation for "the best team in the world."
Liquid kept it relatively close in both of the two games and are still expected to make it to the main event. Tough luck getting Gambit in round 1.
G2 keep it close
G2 was on the fringe of breaking through for most of 2021, and appear to be in a similar spot to start the new year.
On paper, Fnatic was expected to sweep G2 and prove that they're still one of the best teams in EMEA. It wasn't that easy.
Fnatic held strong in two close games on Icebox and Split, but lost in overtime on Ascent - largely on the back of some strong plays from G2's nukkye.
We have to see more from both teams before making any definitive statements, but G2 is looking a bit better than expected - so far.
Acend doing Acend things
SuperMassive Blaze isn't considered the best team in EMEA, but they're always ready to give their opponents a hard time.
After one game, it looked like the series between SMB and Acend would be neck-in-neck. Of course, Acend game back and dropped a 31-4 burger on their head after that.
Acend was expected to win this one handedly, and they ended up doing just that. Additionally, cNed predictably topped the ACS scoreboard at the end of the week.
Hot take: Acend is good.
Is NAVI a dark-horse?
NAVI vs LDN UTD wasn't one of the marquee matchups of the week, but it ended up being entertaining to watch.
It's hard to say that NAVI will definitely make a deep run after one win, but they dominated the attacking half of both Ascent and Haven.
There are certainly some holes in their game, but they're currently my dark horse pick to make it out of the group stage and into the main event.
Nothing too surprising happened in the first week of the group stage. Most of the winners were favorites, and the ones that weren't were only barely underdogs.
Hopefully, we can see some more parody in the second week of competition.
We can look forward to Guild testing Acend, a prove-it match between Liquid and NAVI, and a make-or-break match for G2 and SMB.