The Brazilian region is not known for its accolades, or skills, in VALORANT, so far. Unlike the country’s pedigree in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Brazil has yet to establish dynasties and does not hold claim to one the best players in the game’s history.
Yet, thanks to Brazil’s large player base, the region has earned two slots for VALORANT Champions Tour Masters events in Reykjavik and Berlin.
But unlike similarly large regions, and even some smaller regions, Brazil has not made a dent in international play. Even their Latin American counterparts in KRÜ Esports have more cultural cache in VALORANT than any Brazilian team.
Both previous Brazilian representatives finished outside the top four in Iceland. This includes Sharks Esports, who placed second to last, and Team Vikings, who earned one series win on their way to fifth/ sixth place thanks to seeding.
At Masters Berlin, the results don’t look much better.
Competing at the highest level
Both representatives were sent to their group’s lower bracket early; Havan Liberty in Group C and Vivo Keyd in Group B. Each team came in with high hopes, like many Masters qualified squads.
“This is at the highest level. Everyone is bringing their A-game,” Vivo Keyd’s Olavo “heat” Marcelo said in a pre-event press conference. “But I have very high expectations and think we are at the same level.”
Members of Havan Liberty expressed similar sentiments, hoping to make waves at an event they didn’t think they could qualify for to begin with.
“If I’m being honest, it wasn’t expected,” Havan Liberty Assistant Coach Saymon “Hiromi” de Sousa said after qualifying for the international tournament. “We were saying we need to do more to qualify for the Last Chance Qualifier and now we have qualified for Berlin.”
Both teams have had moments of brilliance. Vivo Keyd forced Envy into overtime on their first map and heat, specifically, popped off on Map 2. Thanks to that match, heat still holds one of the top Average Combat Score’s of the event so far.
Havan Liberty, meanwhile, showed off their triple initiator composition during their debut but failed to impress individually in a routing by 100 Thieves.
“You can look at the score and be like ‘they won a lot and they won a little,’ but [Havan Liberty] definitely put up a good fight and they’re a good team,” 100 Thieves’ Spencer “Hiko” Martin said in the post-match interview. “But we definitely had their number today.”
All hope is not lost, yet. After all, losers bracket runs are made for underdogs. But could the pressure of another disappointing regional showing make the task more arduous? Both teams wore the Brazilian flag on a player’s back during their first games, and the two squads celebrated their qualification with a few group photos with the country’s iconography.
Despite this, according to heat, regional pride is not too prevalent in his mind.
“We’re here to play the game as a team,” heat said in a pre-event press conference. “We don’t need to prove anything and there’s no weight to say that we’re carrying Brazil or showing Brazil.”
That doesn’t mean Vivo and Havan Liberty have abandoned their regional pride. After their loss, and subsequent exit from Masters Berlin, Havan Liberty’s Head Coach Ricardo “rik” Furquim said he will still be rooting for Vivo and his former teammate.
“They have heat, who is kind of like a son for all of us here at Havan Liberty,” rik said. “So we will absolutely be cheering for them.”
Brazil still has room to grow
Players from Brazil have said they know they are not on par with North American and European teams yet. They have seen them play, played against them and understand the gap in skill between them. But, like true competitors, they want to fight for trophies and know they have time to grow into a powerhouse region in the same vein as their peers playing Counter-Strike.
According to Vivo Keyd’s Jonathan “JhoW” Glória, there is room for the region to grow, and that those accolades are not as far out of reach as they may appear. Rik said he agrees with the sentiment, but that there are certain fundamentals Brazilian players are lacking that top regions have down pat.
“We had a lot of mistakes in the basics,” rik said about his team. “Like peeking alone or making noise that will tell the other team where we are. The basics need to be improved in Brazil.”
While they both agreed Brazil has some great mechanical skill, mainly in terms of aim, players and teams still struggle with concepts that Europe and South Korea perfected in the early days of VCT.
“Some teams don’t even know how to combo skills,” Hirome said. “They think more about their aim.”
Brazil still has one life left at Masters Berlin, as Vivo Keyd will play KRÜ Esports Wednesday to decide if they will move out of their group and into the Playoff Stage. Vivo Keyd will have the chance to make Brazil’s first mark on the international stage, but that journey doesn’t start in the group stage.