Team Liquid and Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom have been on a tear at Valorant Champions 2022. They have strung together two impressive group stage wins over Edward Gaming and Paper Rex, advancing out of Group A.
The European team is now set to face their toughest challenge yet when they go up against Masters Reykjavik 2022 champions OpTic Gaming in the upper bracket quarterfinals of the playoffs.
The match will also mark the first clash between North America and Europe in the playoffs — an age-old rivalry between two of the strongest regions in Valorant.
Team Liquid ScreaM doesn’t rate North America as the best region in Valorant
ScreaM fanned the flames of the rivalry during the Valorant Champions 2022 pre-tournament press conference hosted by Riot Games.
“I wouldn’t rate North America right now as one of the best regions,” said ScreaM. “I think EMEA and APAC are better.”
EMEA and APAC teams were the two finalists at Masters Copenhagen, and they had come into Champions as heavy favorites.
However, Liquid had Paper Rex’s number in their group stage decider match, walking away with the 2-1 victory. In the post-match press conference, ScreaM remained confident about his next opponent in OpTic Gaming.
Team Liquid’s captain said that OpTic is a good match-up for his team, even though he considers them the best team in North America. While he acknowledged that the series would not be a walk in the park, he said that APAC teams were still tougher to play against.
“It is not going to be an easy match-up, but I prefer to play against North America than APAC,” he said.
“They’re going to do things that we know, not weird stuff that we cannot expect,” he said. “I cannot wait to go up against OpTic. I think it will be a good match.”
Paper Rex, in particular, are known for their unorthodox agent compositions and unpredictable aggression.
Against Edward Gaming, Wang “Jinggg” Jing Jie pulled off a nearly undodgeable Raze ultimate that caught the Chinese squad by surprise. From the top of the crate at B Link, he satcheled into the air with his Raze’s Showstopper ultimate, catching EDG’s Viper walking down B Main.
Liquid also fell victim to Paper Rex’s creative play in their Group A decider match. At the start of Round 15, Jinggg satchel boosted himself on top of Khalish “d4v41” Rusyaidee’s Sage wall that was placed on top of the crate at B Link. From the high vantage point, Jinggg had an angle toward B Main, allowing him to get the drop on the enemy Fade.
At Valorant Champions 2022, however, North America has racked up more wins against EMEA in the group stage. XSET defeated FunPlus Phoenix 2-1 in Group C, while 100 Thieves won their opening match against Fnatic 2-1 in Group D.
Nevertheless, Europe managed to bounce back, with Fnatic getting revenge on 100 Thieves in the decider match.