Strong community, stronger teams. The EMEA VCT Challengers stage is underway and is exciting as ever. We’ve put together a brief article on the underdogs and most exciting teams to look out for.
Disclaimer: The column name is a mix of the sayings ‘blind pick’ and ‘dark horse’. In this series of articles, BLIX.GG’s writers choose teams who could surprise us, and explain why.
Since acquiring their Valorant roster in September 2020, Vivo Keyd had a slow start. Unable to find much success; failing at First Strike Open Qualifier 2 and then at qualifying for the First Strike - Brazil regional finals, placing 16th-32nd.
With the 2021 season kicking off they parted ways with their original roster, announcing the signing of a new squad with some great talent:
- Gabriel "cpx" Cruz
- Brenno "ZaPy" Roberto
- Vinicius "Veroneze" Ribeiro
- Luis "PryZee" Henrique
- Henrique "Maverick" Tozatto
A new roster but the same results; failing at Challengers 2 and 3 with only 2 maps for their side in 4 series.
With patience, dedication and some roster changes came better times. Progress finally started to appear with a close game against FURIA at the Brazil Stage 3 Challengers 1 - Open Qualifier. Even though they didn’t quite win the series, they showed a promising performance pushing the second map to overtime.
Playing at VALORANT Champions is a dream and a goal for every team since it's a tournament for only the best of each region.
Since it’s the end that matters and actions speak better than words, no one would think a team with no noticeable achievement could make it to Champions — but Vivo Keyd proved everyone wrong with the updated roster, stepping up when it mattered the most. They managed to secure a 3rd-4th place at VCT 2021: Brazil Stage 3 Challengers 3. Making it to the playoffs and respectfully taking 1st place against Havan Liberty with a 3-0 victory and a ticket to Stage 3 Masters - Berlin.
Regardless of their loss against KRU Esports in Berlin, they made it to Champions and lost to the champions themselves Acend and the giants of SEA.
The current line-up
- Leonardo "mwzera" Serrati
- Jonathan "JhoW" Glória
- Murillo "murizzz" Tuchtenhagen
- Gabriel "v1xen" Martins
- Olavo "heat" Marcelo
This team is definitely able to achieve so much this new season with a roster that showed hope and resilience during the last events. The progress they made since the beginning of last year is huge — and we got to witness an underdog that teams will no longer look down on. Instead, they better keep an eye out for any upsets. With the VCT 2022 being announced, Vivo Keyd is on a new journey to put on a better showing and become a force to be reckoned with, rising up among the best in the world.
Vivo Keyd are in Group B, which means they’ll be facing the following teams:
- Keyd Stars
- FURIA Esports
- Sharks Esports
- INGAMING Esports
- Ninjas In Pyjamas
Liberty, or you might know them as Havan Liberty, entered the competitive VALORANT scene in August of 2020; just two months after official release and way before many of their fellow Brazilian organizations. Since then, they’ve fielded two different rosters and shown inconsistent results with both.
But as of recent, they have managed to push their way to several high place finishes which eventually landed them a spot in the VCT Challengers stage.
Liberty’s current roster
- Rodrigo “myssen” Myssen
- Gabriel “shion” Vilela
- Felipe “liazzi” Galiazzi
- Gustavo “krain” Melara
- Lucas “glym” Thadeu
Unlike all other underdog teams we’ve covered in this series, Liberty did not have to go through any recent qualifiers that affected them. They were invited anyway to the Challengers stage alongside prominent names such as FURIA and Sharks Esports.
In spite of that, the team still competed in the Brazil Stage 1, 2, and 3 qualifiers, each of which had its own Challengers; 1, 2, and 3. They placed second overall in the tournament— which carried through all the way from late January to late August of 2021— earning them their invitation spot in the main event. They also competed in the South America Last Chance Qualifiers, and although they didn’t perform too well, it was merely practice for them as they already guaranteed their spot.
Most of the team’s latest matches have been either wins or close losses; showing promising results since the beginning of last year. Their only trouble seems to come in the form of inconsistency. But as the team continues to scrim and practice together, that should only be of marginal effect on their overall performance.
Liberty are in Group A alongside:
- TBK Esports
- Gamelanders Blue
- Team Vikings
Authors: Hisham "sho" Almadani, Kadri "rizegeeko" Badre