Editors note: This story has been updated to show that Bren Esports will not attend the tournament.
Following months of qualifier after qualifier (after an even bigger qualifier), we’ve reached the end of summer and its final destination: VALORANT Masters Berlin.
There will be 15 of the best teams in the world from seven regions (after Bren Esports’ visa issues) that embark to Germany to capture the trophy and automatic qualification to the upcoming world championship. As a bonus, the winning team will also secure an extra spot at Champions, for their respective region.
As we count down to curtain opening in Berlin, I will guide you through each of the 15 teams vying for masters victory about their roster, map pool and the burning questions surrounding them.
Havan Liberty starting lineup
Felipe “liazzi” Galiazzi (Brazil)
Agents played (past 60 days): Raze (16), Jett (6), Sage (4)
Signature agent: Raze
Stats on Raze (past 60 days):
- 239.1 Average Combat Score
- 1.30 Kill:Death ratio
- 0.82 Kills Per Round
- +7 First Kills-to-First Deaths (53 FK, 46 FD)
Gustavo “krain” Melara (Brazil)
Agents played (past 60 days): Sova (16), Jett (4), Sage (2), KAY/O (2), Breach (2)
Signature agent: Sova
Stats on Sova (past 60 days):
- 229.6 ACS
- 1.28 K:D
- 0.77 KPR
Marcelo “pleets” Leite (Brazil)
Agents played (past 60 days): Astra (18), Viper (5), Sage (3)
Signature agent: Astra
Stats on Astra (past 60 days):
- 197.9 ACS
- 1.14 K:D
- 0.69 KPR
Gabriel “shion” Vilela (Brazil)
Agents played (past 60 days): Skye (13), Breach (9), Reyna (4)
Signature agent: Skye
Stats on Skye (past 60 days):
- 225.8 ACS
- 1.23 K:D
- 0.80 KPR
Rodrigo “myssen” Myssen (Brazil)
Agents played (past 60 days): Viper (8), Cypher (6), Sova (4), Skye (4), Breach (4)
Signature agent: Viper
Stats on Viper (past 60 days):
- 193.3 ACS
- 1.13 K:D
- 0.69 KPR
Stage 3 Map Pool
Haven: 2-0, 100% (59% Attack Round Win, 70% Defense Round Win)
Bind: 8-1, 89% (64% ATK, 58% DEF)
Ascent: 4-1, 80% (47% ATK, 62% DEF)
Icebox: 4-3, 57% (54% ATK, 49% DEF)
Split: 1-1, 50% (63% ATK, 50% DEF)
Breeze: 0-1, 0% (60% ATK, 33% DEF)
My player to watch: Breach
OK, I’m cheating on this one. I’ve watched numerous matches with Havan Liberty during their run to Berlin. I’ve studied their team from top to bottom, looking at their best and worst maps, striving to find a player from the bunch to highlight over the others… and I can’t. When we talk about a team, a five-person unit that grits their teeth and grinds out victories through proper teamwork and lack of ego — that’s Havan Liberty.
HL is a team where no one is a designated specialist. Every single player at least plays another role. They don’t have a player who runs a primary Jett like almost every organization heading to Berlin. A new hero from Havan Liberty can emerge on any given map, putting up the big fragging numbers to will them to victory.
Thus, I’m copping out and saying Breach is the player to watch on Havan Liberty at Masters Berlin. The Swedish demolition man has fallen out of favor worldwide, aside from a few teams who treasure his ability kit that is perfect for set-up plays and coordinated executes. No team in the world, not even Vision Strikers (who host the best Breach in the world with Kim “stax” Gu-taek), love the robotic Swede more than Havan Liberty. Three separate players can pull out Breach at any time. Breeze (only played once) is the only map HL haven’t used him on, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re cooking up a way to utilize him on that goliath of a map somehow as well.
In Havan Liberty’s run to reach Masters Berlin in the final Brazilian qualifier, they used Breach in every single series and map. Breach is the linchpin that the team uses to light the fuse to their plethora of systematized attacks and defenses.
The big question going into Berlin is: Can Havan Liberty succeed without a star Jett player?
Although it would be wrong to say that Havan Liberty can’t play Jett (liazzi and krain played her a combined 10 maps in Stage 3), it is fair to say they aren’t a team with a true ace player on the wind assassin. Point to almost every squad that qualified for Berlin and there’s a star Jett player who can almost single-handedly win by themselves.
Havan Liberty, as mentioned before by naming an agent as their key player, isn’t that type of team. They can play Jett and find success with her, but they’re a team that relies on their discipline, set plays and overall teamwork to outdo their opponents. The Stage 3 final against rival Vivo Keyd was a close one, with two maps going to overtime and the other at a razor-thin 13-11, yet they lacked the necessary ace to close things out. VIVO used teenage star Olavo “heat” Marcelo, and that felt like the difference between what could have been a trophy for Havan Liberty instead of a second place finish.
HL’s whole mantra is about balance and preparation, inside and outside of the game. They practice reflex skill training when not playing, have hired masseuses to make their bodies limber and a cook to make sure they’re eating healthy. They lack the firepower that many of the teams in Berlin have. To combat that, they’re creating advantages in other areas to make up for it and are a group that believes they can outwork (and outthink) their opponents.
In Berlin, Havan Liberty should be aiming for: Grab a win, push the stronger teams to their brink
Unlike Masters Reykjavik, where Brazil’s teams somewhat lacked an identity and sometimes even looked lost, the region is sending two teams who fully know who they are. Astra was a thorn in their side last tournament and that won’t be a problem this time around.
In terms of actually going deep in the tournament, it’s going to be difficult. Breach isn’t played consistently by the top teams for a reason, and I do fear that the lack of an X-factor Jett player could lead Havan Liberty to running out of gas against one of the slew of teams wielding a Jett with an Operator in her hands. As the second seed from Brazil, I’d consider it a successful tournament for Havan if they can grab a series win and make it a burden to eliminate them from the event.
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