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EU Challenger League Week 1: Mkers team of the week as three Italian players cross a 2K/D

EUCL is finally back for the 2022 edition of the tournament.

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Last weekend, the European Challenger League started as 16 of the best tier-two teams met to be crowned the champions for 2022. You can learn about the format and schedule, as well as details on all 16 teams participating in our preview article, here.

With 24 maps already played in week one, here’s a roundup of the results so far:

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Player & Team of the Week

The absolute winner of week one was Italy, as Mkers and Jobseekers’ Italian players have a 6-0-0-0 record so far and lead almost every statistical measurement.

Three of the top four players by SiegeGG Rating are Italian, the same three players all hit over a 2.00 kill-death ratio, the top two by entry record, the top four by KOST rates, and the plant and clutch leaders are all Italian. 

All these numbers are primarily due to Mkers’ performance. While they’ve previously seen a lot of success, having attended the 2021 Six Invitational, the scale of their victories during week one was astounding and makes them the clear early favourites for the EUCL 2022 title. 

Out of the roster, the standout member was Aqui, who both top-fragged and ended with eight opening kills to one opening death. Dora was also notable, as he got seven plants down while the next best only had three. 

The only other Italian players in the EUCL are on Jobseekers, the roster previously known as Coalesce. While Zorzi struggled, Karyuudo hit a 1.46 SiegeGG Rating, which was the second-best Rating in the league behind Aqui. 

Group A -- The closest group so far, led by Russia

Dunlimited -- the lone Russian team in the tournament -- started really well with a 7-1 win over Jlingz, with the game including a 1.94 SiegeGG Rating by IWI.

Following this, they beat the group favourites, Rebels Gaming, 7-4. This game saw IWI end with just two kills, while the team’s Belarussian member, hypx, led the team to victory on entry.

On Sunday, they were set to play Victus, who still had zero points. While it looked likely to be a walkover result, the game remained close throughout and a 4-2 offensive lead for Dunlimited vanished in the second half and led to a regulation-time defeat. 

Finally, there were Jlingz and Rebels. They had beaten Victus and lost to Dunlimited so the head-to-head was a fight for second place. Statistically, the game was dominated by Jlingz. Still, Rebels were in the fight after an early quadruple kill from Goga and a 1v2 clutch from Kuriboh helped the game reach overtime, despite an eventual loss for Rebels. 

Group B -- V4 Masters roster leads ahead of Shoukri’s DeathroW

Compared to Group A, Group B has a clear pecking order. 

Leading the pack with three clear wins are Lan Party Hotel, the Czech majority roster who won this year’s V4 Masters tournament and previously were crowned the 2021 Nordic Champions. They dropped no more than four rounds in a map and had Mengo and Aiven ending with the tournament's fifth and sixth highest Ratings so far -- 1.35 and 1.34.

With two clean wins and a loss versus LPH come DeathroW in second place. The team that stars the ex-EUL player, Shoukri, had lost 2-7 against LPH but looked confident in their other games. A 7-5 over LFO and a 7-3 over Activit-E made the weekend a successful one for them.

Leading the roster statistically is Swaz, a Portuguese player who had 35 kills to 17 deaths in total, including 20 kills to two deaths versus Activit-E, which is the single-best individual performance so far. He is the third highest-rated player in the EUCL at the moment.

Below them come Activit-E, who lost to LPH and DeathroW but beat LFO GSA in a 7-2 scoreline of their own. While the roster has two Belgian and German players, the team’s lone French member has been the standout performer, as BmB3R has a 1.22 Rating compared to his closest teammate, Levolution, at 0.93.

Finally, LFO GSA have lost to all three opponents and have zero points to their name. This roster was almost relegated from the GSA last year but has since picked up ripz from Rogue. Short of a miracle, it seems their EUCL journey will be short. 

Group C -- Ex-Coalesce surprise French and German favourites

Group C included several star rosters, namely the French representatives, Acend, and the German representatives, WYLDE, who had also beaten SSG and Liquid at the Gamers8 event, and Rogue and Heroic to qualify for the event.

However, Jobseekers, previously known as Coalesce, impressed the most as they won all nine points with a 7-0 over Viperio, 7-3 over WYLDE, and 7-4 over Acend. Individually this was led by Karyuudo, one of the team’s new Italian pickups, who led the roster with 32 kills to 16 deaths, a 2.00 kill/death ratio. This included nine kills to one death against Viperio..

Viperio themselves managed to earn a single point over the weekend, as they took WYLDE to overtime after losing 3-7 to Acend. Viperio had hit match point first against WYLDE, but squandered a 6-3 lead. They allowed WYLDE to win five rounds running, the first three of which included seven kills from Jay.

This leaves WYLDE and Acend in second and third place, respectively, with four points each. While WYLDE dropped a point against Viperio, they won one extra point against Acend, as their head-to-head round-differential was 8-6. Jay also led the team here with eight kills in the final three rounds to come back from 5-6 and win 8-6, a similar story to the Viperio matchup.

It looks like only one out of WYLDE and Acend will make it to the playoffs, making their meeting next weekend likely the match of the group stage. 

Group D -- Mkers shockingly strong as TENSTAR start weak

Finally, in Group D, Mkers demolished their opposition as they lost five rounds in total across their three games -- one against TENSTAR and two each against KVM and MNM. It looked like Mkers were playing on a completely different level to their opponents in these games, which is somewhat apt considering Mkers’ qualification and performance at SI 2021.

MNM and TENSTAR both also managed to take down KVM by 7-5 and 7-2 margins, MNM in 12 rounds, and TENSTAR in nine. Notably, SHD, EUCL 2021’s fifth-best player, currently has a 0.53 Rating, the second-lowest in the tournament of all non-stand-in players.

This means the standings were determined in a head-to-head between TENSTAR and MNM Academy on Saturday. Here, the Lithuanian player wild excelled with 17 kills to 10 deaths to give MNM the win. TENSTAR had initially led 5-2 before losing four rounds in a row, including a 1v2 from Erkkari, and were forced to overtime. But they hung on until round 14, when the game ended with a quadruple kill from wild. 

In Summary

Currently, Mkers, Jobseekers, and Lan Party Hotel look like they’re confidently going through to the playoffs, while LFO GSA, Viperio, and KVM each need a miracle set of results to rectify a weak week one. 

Mkers are the surprises so far while WYLDE, TENSTAR and Rebels have had a much weaker-than-expected performance.

Next week, we’ll see another round of matches, as every team plays their opponents again. The games take place from Friday to Sunday, starting at 6PM CEST each night. 

Finally, here’s a quick look at how all the EUCL players with tier-one -- EUL, Pro League, or global event -- histories performed over their first three games:

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