Who are the VALORANT VCT EMEA partner teams?

13 February 2024

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VCT EMEA 2024
Image credit: VCT EMEA (@valesports_emea)

In 2022, VALORANT publisher Riot Games unveiled its list of partner teams which where split across three international leagues: EMEA, the Americas and the Pacific. The publisher’s hybrid franchise system saw permanent partnered teams compete against each other in 2023, whilst tier-two organisations looked to secure valuable promotion places.

Moreover, ahead of the 2024 season, Riot Games has added another international league, VCT China, into the mix.

The new ecosystem is seemingly continuing the growth of VALORANT esports by providing long-term support, stability and revenue opportunities to select organisations. With Gentle Mates being promoted to the EMEA league for the next two seasons, how will the VALORANT esports landscape change in 2024?

Ahead of VCT EMEA League’s return in February, we’ve provided a brief history and background for VALORANT’s VCT partner teams representing the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.

ESI Lisbon 2024
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Team Liquid

Team Liquid is a stalwart of esports. The organisation made its debut in StarCraft II in 2000 and currently has competitors in 15 different esports, including League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike 2 and VALORANT. To modern esports fans, Team Liquid is perhaps best known for its endeavours in North America, despite being originally based in the Netherlands. As such, the organisation’s decision to hold an EMEA VALORANT team wasn’t too much of a surprise. 

The multinational organisation has been a part of the VALORANT scene since 2020, and has appeared at every VALORANT Champions event, finishing 3rd/4th in 2021, 7th/8th in 2022 and 13th/16th in 2023.

Some of Team Liquids’ other notable achievements include being four-time League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) champions, as well as being victorious at ESL One Germany 2020 (Dota 2).

Fnatic

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: FNATIC

Fnatic is another old guard when it comes to esports organisations, having been in the scene for nearly two decades.

The organisation has a deep history with Riot Games and was League of Legends’ inaugural World Champion in 2011. Since the formation of League of Legends’ European competitive circuit, Fnatic has notched up seven split titles.

Fnatic entered VALORANT in 2021 and has since gone on to become one of the best-performing EMEA partner teams in 2023. Last year, the organisation secured first place at VCT 2023: LOCK//IN São Paulo and VCT 2023: Masters Tokyo. Moreover, Fnatic finished 4th at VALORANT Champions 2023. Overall, the organisation has appeared at four Masters and three Champions events as EMEA representatives.

Outside of VALORANT, the organisation also has a past in Counter-Strike, claiming three Major trophies: ESL One Cologne 2015, ESL One Katowice 2015 and DreamHack Winter 2013. As of the time of writing, Fnatic has competitive rosters in LoL, Counter-Strike 2, Rainbow Six Siege and Apex Legends.

Team Vitality

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Team Vitality

Established in 2013, Team Vitality is arguably the original French powerhouse within esports.

The organisation’s journey in VALORANT started at the French regional level (VRL), with the team claiming silver at the VRL 2022: Finals – losing to fellow partner team Team Heretics. In 2023, the organisation had a middle-of-the-pack campaign, finishing 5th/6th in the EMEA League.

With rosters in Starcraft II, Rainbow Six: Siege, Rocket League, Counter-Strike 2 and Fortnite, the organisation continues to diversify its portfolio of titles. Notably, Team Vitality became the first organisation to win two RLCS World Championships (2019 and 2023).

Moreover, the organisation won the BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023, CS:GO’s final Major. Team Vitality has also been a regular within the League of Legends European scene since 2015.

Karmine Corp

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Karmine Corp

Despite only gracing the esports scene in 2020, the French organisation has quickly risen to become one of the most popular teams in Europe.

Founded by streamers Kamel ‘Kameto’ Kebir and Zouhair ‘Kotei’ Darji, the organisation rose to prominence thanks to its regional fanbase through Karmine’s French League of Legends team, which competes in the LFL, and Rocket League roster. In 2023, the organisation joined the LEC franchise after part-purchasing Astralis’ franchise spot.

Vitality joined the VALORANT scene in 2022, where it competed in France’s VRL’s (VALORANT Regional Leagues). Last year, Karmine Corp placed last in the EMEA League. Outside of Riot’s FPS title, the French organisation won Rocket League’s RLCS 2022-23 – Winter Split Major.

GIANTX (Formerly Giants Gaming)

GIANTX VCT 2024
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: GIANTX, Riot Games

GIANTX is a new esports brand set to debut in the 2024 VCT EMEA League. As a result of a merger between UK esports organisation EXCEL Esports and Spanish organisation Giants Gaming in late 2023, the latter’s partner team spot has been rebranded.

Last year, under Giants Gaming’s brand, the VCT team won EMEA’s Last Chance Qualifier to compete at VALORANT Champions 2023, finishing 9th/12th. GIANTX also holds a franchise spot in Riot Games’ LEC in League of Legends, whilst also fielding rosters in the MOBA’s Spanish regional league, as well as in VALORANT”S VCT Gamechangers.

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Heretics

While it was founded in 2016, 2022 proved to be a pivotal year for Team Heretics as it received VCT partner status and joined the LEC, League of Legends’ European league.

Prior to the VCT, Heretics competed in Spain’s VALORANT Regional league in 2022, finishing 10th and 8th in Stage 1 and Stage 2, respectively. In 2023, the organisation placed 8th in the EMEA League.

Following the purchase of Misfits Gaming’s LEC slot, the organisation went on to finish 8th, 9th and 4th during the LEC’s 2023 Winter, Spring and Summer splits, respectively.

FUT Esports

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: FUT Esports

Representing Turkey is FUT Esports, 2022’s VALORANT Regional League champion. As the name would suggest (Futbolist), the organisation joined the esports scene in 2017 primarily through FIFA. Within the sports simulation title, FUT Esports’ crowning moment is likely finishing 3rd/4th at the 2019 FIFA eClub World Cup.

In recent years, FUT Esports has expanded into Hearthstone and PUBG, both of which the organisation still competes in. Nevertheless, FUT Esports’ main accolades come from the VALORANT scene, winning VRL 2022, among many other tournaments within the Turkish ecosystem. In 2023, the team competed at VALORANT Champions 2023 and VCT 2023: Masters Tokyo, whilst also placing 3rd in the EMEA League.

BBL Esports

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: BBL Esports

Joining FUT Esports is another Turkish VALORANT powerhouse: BBL Esports. Since being founded in 2020, the organisation secured the First Strike Türkiye trophy as well as finishing first within VCT 2021 Turkey Stage 1 Challengers 1 and Challengers 2.

In 2022, the organisation qualified for VCT 2022: EMEA Challengers, beating FUT Esports in the last closed qualifier. In Stage 1 and 2, BBL Esports finished consecutively 7th/8th. In BBL Esports’ EMEA League debut, the team finished 7th.

Alongside VALORANT, BBL Esports also competes in PUBG, with its team competing at the 2021 and 2022 PUBG Global Championship.

Movistar KOI (previously KOI)

Movistar KOI VCT 2024
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Movistar KOI, Riot Games

Another slightly new face to the VCT EMEA League for 2024 is Movistar KOI, a new Spanish esports conglomerate formed by OverActive Media, the parent company of MAD Lions.

In 2024, OverActive Media announced that it was acquiring Spanish brands Movistar Riders and KOI, the latter of which was founded by Spanish streamer Ibai ‘Ibai’ Llanos Garatea and footballer Gerard Piqué. As a result, KOI’s VCT partner team spot has been rebranded to Movistar KOI.

KOI’s first year as a partner team in the VCT saw the organisation place 9th in the EMEA League. Outside of VALORANT, the new Spanish esports company holds a League of Legends LEC Franchise spot (MAD Lions KOI) and a Call of Duty franchise (Toronto Ultra).

Similarly to Karmine Corp, KOI, in particular, amassed a growing fanbase within its home country, partly due to the popularity of its co-owners.

Natus Vincere

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: NAVI

The final permanent VCT EMEA partner team is Natus Vincere (NAVI). The Ukrainian organisation is yet another old guard within the esports scene, having been founded back in 2009. NAVI is a highly decorated organisation within Counter-Strike esports, having claimed recent notable victories at PGL Major Stockholm 2021 and BLAST Premier: Spring Finals 2022.

Alongside Counter-Strike 2, the organisation competes in Dota 2, PUBG, PUBG Mobile and Halo Infinite, among others.

Within VALORANT, NAVI competed in the VCT EMEA Challengers ecosystem before becoming a VCT partner team. Last year, the organisation placed 4th in the EMEA League, representing the region at VALORANT Champions and VCT 2023: Masters Tokyo.

Gentle Mates

Gentle Mates VCT 2024
(ESI Illustration) Image credit: Gentle Mates, Riot Games

Last but not least is VCT EMEA League’s first-ever promoted team, French organisation Gentle Mates.

The organisation was founded in 2022 by content creators Lucas ‘Squeezie’ Hauchard, Correntin ‘Gotaga’ Houssein and Kevin ‘Brawks’ Georges, and secured its place in VCT’s top-tier by winning VCT Ascension EMEA 2023. As a result of winning Ascension, Gentle Mates will compete in the VCT EMEA League for 2024 and 2025.

Alongside VALORANT, Gentle Mates also fields competitive rosters in Fortnite, League of Legends (LFL), Teamfight Tactics and Rocket League.

Article first published: 22/09/22. Last updated: 13/02/24

Tom Daniels
Tom has been part of Esports Insider's team since October 2020 and is currently the platform's Editor. When not playing Football Manager, he enjoys reporting on the mobile esports scene as well as the betting sector.