Reigning League of Legends world champion FunPlus Phoenix has joined the Valorant pro circuit, having acquired Team ZypanGoKill. The announcement came not through the organisation itself, but from the Allied Esports Odyssey tournament, which started yesterday.
Team ZypanGoKill had been due to compete, but when the matchups were revealed, FPX were in its place. Their star studded lineup, comprised of Pontus ‘Zyppan’ Eek, Andrey ‘Shao’ Kiprsky, Kirill ‘ANGE1’ Karasiow, Johan ‘Meddo’ Renbjörk, and Tobias ‘shadow’ Flodström, had already been confirmed to compete for ZypanGoKill, though it had long been rumoured that FPX were looking to pick them up.
FPX played out a tie with Team Liquid in their first game, but will look to build on that quickly if they wish to replicate their League of Legends success in Valorant. The move sees FPX attempting to become a global force in esports after dominating the Chinese League of Legends scene.
While it’s not a great surprise that FPX is looking to expand – even if it is slightly new territory for them to venture outside of Asia – the move to European Valorant still feels slightly unusual. The Valorant esports scene has been less explored by big organisations in the region, and this appears to be FPX attempting to get in on the ground floor, perhaps hoping their reach will expand along with Valorant’s.
In Europe, G2 and Team Liquid are the only other major organisations to have picked up teams. With only a limited amount of big teams, the acquisition marks a chance for G2 and FPX to continue their rivalry after FPX swept G2 in last year’s League of Legends World Championship final. If that’s the case, FPX has some catching up to do, considering G2 has won all three previous Ignition Series tournaments held in Europe so far.
Team Liquid, meanwhile, is also debuting in the Allied Esports Odyssey tournament, having recently acquired Fish123.