New year, new teams
With the teams confirmed for VCT 2023, EMEA has seen a slower start to its rostermania than the Americas, however, big moves are beginning to take shape.
One of the biggest movers so far has been NAVI, who benched their entire roster after confirmation of their inclusion in VCT EMEA 2023. As their replacements, NAVI has been rumored to be signing the core of the former FunPlus Phoenix team. For all FPX’s success, however, it seems they will be without their star, Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks. Ardiis looks to be becoming a VCT Americas import, joining the ex-OpTic core on NRG. This move is due to OpTic’s own star, Jacob “yay” Whiteaker, looking to join Cloud9.
In place of ardiis, according to a report from Dot Esports, NAVI seems to have found a new star for its new roster going into VCT EMEA 2023. That star is in the shape of Acend superstar, Mehmet “cNed” Yağız. The Turkish Duelist is considered to be one of the best players in the world and won VALORANT Champions 2021 with his former team.
Big changes for VCT EMEA teams
Team Liquid has been one of the biggest movers in the EMEA region thus far. Early reports broke that two of their players, Belgian brothers Nabil “Nivera” Benrilitom and Adil “ScreaM” Benrilitom, were wanted by Karmine Corps. Also wanted by Karmine Corps is one of ScreaM’s former CSGO teammates, Alexandre “xms” Forté.
As their replacements, Team Liquid is targeting former Guild player Saif “Sayf” Jibraeel, as first reported by BLIX. Alongside Sayf, they are also reportedly targeting former M3C IGL and star combo “Redgar” Vlasov and Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin. nAts is regarded as one of the best players in the EMEA region and was the star as they won VCT Berlin and finished second at VALORANT Champions 2022. It is expected that Dmitriy “dimasick” Matvienko will be the other player leaving Liquid to make way for the trio of incoming.
Vitality was rumored to be interested in cNed, although that news seems to have cooled off in wake of the report he is joining NAVI. Instead, according to reports by both BLIX and Dexerto, they are instead targeting Michał “MOLSI” Łącki and Tomas “Destrian” Linikas of OG LDN UTD, as well as BIG player Karel “Twisten” Ašenbrener. They will hold onto Santeri “BONECOLD” Sassi and Jokūbas “ceNder” Labutis as the final two players on their roster.
Both Team Liquid and Vitality will next be seen at the Red Bull Home Grounds tournament in Manchester this December. Both teams have been invited, while teams such as BIG have qualified.
Another VCT EMEA team so far rumored to be making big changes is KOI. KOI is set to sign Jose Luis “koldamenta” Aranguren from Guild, Patryk “starxo” Kopczynski from Acend, and Bogdan “Sheydos” Naumov from M3C. Alongside the new trio, former Guild coach André “BARBARR” Möller is also set to join.
Finally. Team Heretics, one of the Iberian teams in VCT EMEA 2023, is set to sign a huge Spanish star. Former G2 player, Oscar “mixwell” Canellas, is set to join as one of the team’s star players. Mixwell entered VALORANT when the game was released and was quickly signed by G2. Although the organization struggled for success in the last two years, they were the most successful EMEA team in 2020.