FunPlus Phoenix, the VCT Masters Copenhagen champions, have added an analyst and a substitute to their Valorant squad ahead of the 2022 Valorant Champions.
FPX unveiled their roster on August 30, revealing that they had brought on Emir “rhyme” Muminovic, who was previously a part of Gen.G, as a substitute for the team. Neil “neilzinho” Finlay, former coach of G2 Esports and DarkZero, was also revealed as the team analyst. The announcement was made a day before the Valorant Champions 2022, where FPX will participate in a bid to land the organization’s second notable trophy.
FPX’s new roster includes rhyme, Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow, Pontus “Zyppan” Eek, Dmitry “SUYGETSU” Ilyushin, Andrey “Shao” Kiprsky, Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks, neilzinho as the analyst, and Erik “d00mbr0s” Sandgren as head coach.
Rhyme and neilzinho’s move to the European team signals their return to the region after their respective stints in North America. The team’s new substitute started playing professionally in 2017 in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. During the period, he played with KkoN Norway and then GAMERZ RED.
Rhyme’s move to the North American Valorant esports scene placed him with Ninjas in Pyjamas as the team’s stand-in. He played in the organization for most of 2021 until joining Gen.G at the end of the year as the squad’s IGL and initiator. Throughout his career, rhyme has held a 1.09 rating over 231 maps, but his rating in the last three months was 0.97.
Gen.G had a good run with the player in the Tier 2 scene. However, despite participating in every open qualifier event, they were unable to qualify for the VCT group stage and placed in the top 16. In July, Rhyme announced his status as an unrestricted free agent and his intention to move back to Europe.
FPX’s new analyst, neilzinho, started his Valorant career at Rix.GG as the team’s coach. He eventually moved to G2 Esports and stayed with the organization as the coach for the entire 2021 season. He joined DarkZero Esports at the start of 2022 and remained with the team even after the organization released the squad.
The team kept competing as Dark Ratio after they were let go. Neilzinho announced that he had “an opportunity too good to ignore” in August; as such, he was no longer a part of Dark Ratio.
In previous events FPX participated in, the team had several travel-related issues, so signing on a substitute player would be beneficial to them. Besides that, a temporary player can participate in a number of maps.
Most FPX players are spread out across Eastern Europe, with ANGE1, the in-game leader, residing in Ukraine, while two other players live in Russia. As a result of Russia’s move to occupy Ukraine earlier this year, ANGE1 has been having trouble leaving his country.
In order to leave the war-plagued country, most Ukrainian players were mandated to seek permission from the respective governing body. FPX, however, included the names of their Russian players, Dmitry “SUYGETSU” Ilyushin and Andrey “Shao” Kiprsky in the team’s starting lineup.
Starting from the VCT 2022 EMEA Stage 1 Challengers trophy, FPX has had an impressive year. The team faced issues as they were unable to participate in the VCT 2022 Stage 1 Masters as a result of visa issues.
FPX’s roster is set to participate in the VALORANT Champions 2022 in Istanbul. The competition is their first Valorant Champions event and their second major this year.