Pros speak up about EU’s qualification process and chime in on NA vs EU debate feat. Ex6TenZ, ec1s, Boaster, and uNKOE (Exclusive)

Pros speak up about EU’s qualification process and chime in on NA vs EU debate feat. Ex6TenZ, ec1s, Boaster, and uNKOE (Exclusive)

Featured photo background: y.w kim

Following our interviews with players participating at the European Challengers 1 VCT main event, we’ve decided to gather some of their thoughts on two controversial topics in Valorant. First, where do they stand on the unofficial debate between North American (NA), and European (EU) Valorant? And second, what do they think about the qualifying process in EU? Run It Back is here to get some insight from the pros.

Kevin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans, Jake “Boaster” Howlett, Benjamin “uNKOE” Chevasson, and Adam “ec1s” Eccles all participated to answer at least one of the two questions.

RunItBack: Where do you stand on the debate between NA vs EU Valorant? What are your thoughts on the two scenes?

Ex6TenZ: I have two different feelings. The first one is that usually, and I’ve heard a lot of people say, that Europe has better tactics in general. I’ve had that feeling when I watched American teams playing. But not that much, it was not like in CS for example. I’m not sure about that, it’s just a feeling. But then, American teams have some experienced teams, like 100 Thieves with steel, Hiko, and of course nitr0. Yeah, that team knows how to play the game. I saw their game one month ago, and I felt that players like steel with excellent timing, Hiko with good spacing, and then they have like Asuna just clicking [headshots]. So maybe they’re the best [in the NA region]. It’s really difficult to say. But anyway, I’d say tactically, Europe is still better, but that 100 Thieves team may be the best in that region. I’m not sure about it, it’s difficult to say. I should watch more games from America.

uNKOE: You know how people are, they are always speculating. At the end of the day we don’t know. Simply because we never saw an international tournament [in Valorant] where we can play against each other. For me, it’s speculation. I can’t even talk about it because I don’t know who is the best. But, if you want a little opinion on that, I will say that EU is more strategy-oriented. In NA, we can see they are playing more with a double duelist setup, they like playing with their balls. They are playing some Reyna, Phoenix or Phoenix, Jett or Reyna, Jett. They play double duelists. But in Europe, most of the time we are not, because we focus more on strategy. But yeah, I can’t say who is better, I’d need to see it [an international match].

ec1s: It’s really hard to tell, honestly. In NA, they have lots of teams with different playstyles, but we have that here in EU too. I feel like G2 is a team that is more of an NA playstyle, the more aggressive, more free type thing, which would suit a lot of the NA teams. Whereas I think us and FunPlus Phoenix, we try to have lots of structure. So I’m not really sure. Obviously, teams matchup differently. Like us and FunPlus Phoenix matchup to be a really close game every time because we have similar playstyles. So it kind of is more of clash of the teams, rather than clash of the regions, because each team has its own unique playstyle. There will be good matchups, there will be some bad matchups. So yeah, I think it’s too hard to tell without actually seeing people play each other on LAN one day.

First Strike Brazil held their event on LAN with safety precautions. Credit: Valorant Brasil

RunItBack: How do you feel about the EU qualification process as compared to for example NA?

ec1s: I really don’t like the EU format. I think best-of-ones and single elimination have so many more random variables in a best-of-one compared to a best-of-three. We’ve already seen Fnatic dropped a map to a, no offense to those guys, random Polish team that people really haven’t heard of [MAJSTERSZTYK]. Upsets can happen in this game, with the ults [ultimate abilities], the pistol rounds, playing less rounds than in CS, all those kinds of things. Like best-of-one adds a lot more randomness and you may not guarantee that the best team will always win. That’s never going to fully be the case even in best-of-threes. But, playing BO3s like in NA, it generally means that players don’t have excuses. If they lose, it means that they were beaten by a team that was better on that day. Then it’s like “it’s fair enough”, they’ve had multiple chances at it. And what fans want to see as well, fans want to see best-of-three close games, like our game against FunPlus Phoenix. If it was a best-of-one people wouldn’t have got to see Split, which was close with multiple overtimes. And, as well, I’m just hoping that all formats get changed to the same for all regions. I feel like it’s kind of…not unfair, but it’s strange that only EU has a BO1 format and every other region has BO3 and even best-of-three double-elimination.

Ex6TenZ: To be honest, I understood the first steps [in the European qualifiers]. But I feel like there are different steps, but I’m not sure whether I understood the whole thing [process of qualification]. But of course, a double bracket, a best-of-three, I think it’s good, it’s the best. Of course, I don’t like the random part, as every good team. But here [in EU], it was still ok. Only three best-of-one [matches], then best-of-three. It was only Heretics, only one team [that didn’t qualify]. Normally, the three best-of-ones aren’t against really good teams. So I think we can deal with that. I mean yeah, the random bracket avoids the random part. I would prefer that. But it’s about organization and it’s not my role. Maybe it’s too difficult. I’m not the perfect person to answer that queastion *laughs*.

uNKOE: First of all, I feel sorry for Heretics because I know they lost against Entropiq in a best-of-one, and a BO1 in this game is really difficult. It’s difficult because it’s one map, and in this game, compared to CS, it’s only until 13 rounds to win the game. So if you lose the pistol, or both pistol rounds, it’s 4:0 already. So it’s really random in a BO1. If you put two good teams, like this tournament there are no seeds for the open qualifiers, so you see this kind of stuff happen where Heretics in the second round have to play against Entropiq, both really good teams. So it’s kind of weird when you compare to NA’s tournament. They had a loser bracket, we don’t have one. If I would have to make a choice, of course I’d rather to have the NA bracket, it’s way better, as a player.

Team Heretics were the winners of European First Strike. Credit: valesports

Boaster: It’s kind of how it goes sometimes. I can’t complain because everyone is kind of in the same boat. I can’t really complain if we don’t make it. It’s scary for sure. But I think it will only help teams grow and stuff to be fair. With the NA and EU thing, people say a lot on Twitter and stuff, but I tend to not really get involved in that, just focusing on my own team and what we can do with the sandwich that you’ve been given essentially. Sorry for not being really opinionated on this stuff but…I’m just chilling *laughs*.

*Questions and answers may have been altered slightly for the sake of clarity and brevity*

We thank Ex6TenZ, ec1s, uNKOE, and Boaster for chiming in with their thoughts and wish them all the best in their endeavours in Valorant.

Tune in to Run it Back and check out all of our latest news, extensive guides, and exclusive interviews in the world of Valorant. And remember to join our Discord to enter competitions and win prizes!


Naim "EnKay" Rosinski

An avid competitive FPS lover that started off with covering the Counter-Strike scene and now is starting to love Valorant. Covered IEM Katowice 2019 Major as press. If I'm not covering Valorant news, I'm out there popping heads as Omen. Twitter: @NaimRosinski Email: