Brazil's last hope snuffed out at VALORANT Champions
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Team Vikings sat facing Team Secret on the VALORANT Champions stage. The Brazilian side played defense against the Philippine team’s unrelenting site hits at A site on Icebox. The squads traded utility back and forth before Secret pulled the trigger with 30 seconds on the clock, rushing the site to plant the spike. After a flurry of trade kills, Secret came out of the engagement with two players alive to Vikings’ one. Matias “Saadhak” Delipetro, Vikings’ in-game leader, slowly crept into the bomb site as the clock ran down to 10 seconds.

Secret had not planted the bomb, so stopping the plant would secure a round win as long as he stayed alive. But as he pushed deeper into now enemy territory, Secret’s Jayvee “DubsteP” Paguirigan used his Jett knives to take the Argentinian player down.

The round win secured Team Secret’s victory and qualified them for the VALORANT Champions knockout stage. It also sent Brazil’s last hope at VALORANT Champions glory home without a top-eight finish.

Starting off hot

Brazil came into the year-end tournament with a bang, winning their first first matchups or coming close against tough competition. Team Vikings took down Japan’s Crazy Raccoon, Vivo Keyd overcame Europe’s Acend — in a sense — and FURIA Esports were one round win away from forcing Sentinels to overtime in the third map of their tight series.

The world started paying attention to the region, and their fans demanded respect from the global community for their efforts. But as the tournament went on, Brazil’s teams started to fall off and dropped out of the event, one by one.

“They adapted to our playstyle and it became less of a surprise, right?” Saadhak said about his own team’s fall in form. “Because they saw how we played, we kind of struggle against aggressive teams because it’s more fast in a way and we can’t play really well against that.”

Both Vivo Keyd and Vikings fell out of the tournament without another map win, losing in 0-2 sweeps, while FURIA took knockout stage bound KRÜ Esports to three maps before losing on Haven 9-13.

Where Brazil stands

Coming into the first international VALORANT tournament, VALORANT Champions Tour Masters Reykjavík, some had high expectations for the region. Brazil is known for taking to first person shooters quickly and becoming a force in their respective scenes. Take Counter-Strike as an example. But the region has not shown the same excellence in VALORANT so far.

Brazil ranks on the same level as Japanese teams in VALORANT according to Saadhak.

“I think next year is going to change, either for [Brazil] or for [Japan],” Saadhak said. “I think we have the potential to be one of the best regions as has happened in other FPS games. As for today, I think we’re on the same level as the Japanese scene. A little bit better, I think.”

Japan only sent one representative to Champions, Crazy Raccoon, who bottomed out of the tournament Sunday after losing to Team Secret in the lower bracket.

Brazil in 2022

Teams have not announced their plans for 2022 just yet, but improvement should be on the minds of many of Brazil’s teams. Their teams looked the best they have all year at Champions and it may be because of their extensive boot camps in Europe before the event began. Practicing and scrimming in what they consider to be the best region in the world has been a boon to their gameplay and strategies.

“I think the future is going to be just boot camps in Europe, all of the year. EU right now is the best region so why wouldn’t we boot camp there, right?” Saadhak said.

While their future has yet to reveal itself, the present is set in stone. Team Vikings, Vivo Keyd and FURIA all qualified for Champions and are going home with  nothing to show for it but experience and the knowledge that they are not as close to the top as they one thought.

Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.
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