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Leviatán has become the first team at Champions Istanbul 2022 to secure playoffs, coming out of Group A as the first seed. Leviatán beat Paper Rex, the Masters Copenhagen grand finalists, 2-0 in the winners’ match to secure the spot.

Thus far, Leviatán have not dropped a single map. In their opening match, they beat the European Last Chance Qualifier winners Team Liquid 2-0.

Against Paper Rex, Leviatán looked unstoppable. The team once again won every pistol round. On Bind in particular, Leviatán had a strong read on what Paper Rex wanted to do and completely shut down their defense side.

“We knew that their defense is really aggressive,” Leviatán’s in-game leader Francisco “kiNgg” Aravena said in a press conference. “They’re the most aggressive team at the tournament. They basically attack on defense. So it was a lot of anti-strat.”

Leviatan Champions
Francisco “kiNgg” Aravena of Leviatan reacts onstage after victory at VALORANT Champions 2022 Istanbul Groups Stage on August 31, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. | Photo by Colin Young-Wolff. Provided by Riot Games.

“I thought we were way too aggressive,” Paper Rex head coach Alexandre “alecks” Sallé said. “We did some preparation and we knew that they like to wait for us. It’s the whole [FunPlus Phoenix] thing again. When it gets a bit stressful, you fall back into old habits. And old habits for us is trying to get the opening kill.”

Individually, Leviatán were close to unstoppable. Fabian “Shyy” Usnayo was undoubtedly the player of the match. Shyy netted himself headshot after headshot, making even Paper Rex’s stars look mortal.

“Leviatán, well they’re playing incredible right now,” alecks said. “It’s very hard to do anything when Shyy is going crazy and hitting every headshot.”

While Leviatán sit pretty and wait for playoffs, Paper Rex await their opponent in the decider match. They go up against either EDward Gaming in a rematch, or Team Liquid.

“Personally, for me, I’d rather play Liquid since we’ve never done that before,” alecks said.

alecks Champions
Coach Alexandre “alecks” Salle of Paper Rex competes at VALORANT Champions 2022 Istanbul Groups Stage on August 31, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. | Photo by Lance Skundrich. Provided by Riot Games.

According to alecks, Paper Rex intend to use the break before the next match to mentally reset, prepare and “find their groove.” The fun-loving Paper Rex with the unshakable mental from Masters Copenhagen was not the one that showed up against Leviatán in Istanbul.

“There’s a feeling of we should be doing better,” alecks said. “That’s the kind of thing that’s messing us up I think. Everybody’s trying to take the game into their own hands a little bit too much.”

If Paper Rex have a lost a bit of their spark, Leviatán have picked it up. Head coach Rodrigo “Onur” Dalmagro’s enthusiasm is boundless. The team was also loud and in great spirits after the win, celebrating with no small amount of emotion on display.

“Everyone on the team, they’re really energetic people,” kiNgg said. “We are like a family.”

Leviatán now have until Sept. 9 to watch and wait to see the rest of their opposition in the Champions playoffs.

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