The first day of Champions concluded with another incredible match from Group A.
After an incredibly close match between Paper Rex and EDward Gaming to start off the 2022 VCT Champions tournament, Group A continued with the second match of the day. Latin Americas Leviatán went head-to-head against EMEAs Team Liquid.
Though Leviatán has struggled against Liquid in the past, they showed a new side of themselves today and took down the EMEA team 2-0.
This is a frightening start for Team Liquid after their tumultuous season that almost left them without a spot at Champions. For Leviatán, this win shows their development even since Masters Copenhagen just two months ago. The team is undoubtedly prepared for this tournament.
Team Liquid surprised fans by choosing Haven as the first map, as analysts were expecting Leviatáns map pick of Ascent to come through in this game since it is a strong map for both teams.
Haven started off strong for Leviatán, with Melser getting a few multi-kill rounds and the team dominating the first half. Though Leviatán is known as a team with a more chaotic playstyle, they came into this map with a calculated strategy and held their composure.
KiNgg and Melser continued to take control of the game in the second half of the map, but after several time-outs and strong words from Liquids coach eMIL, ScreaM and Nivera stepped up to avoid a one-sided affair. Ultimately, though, Leviatán had built themselves a lead too big for Liquid to overcome, and took Haven 13-10.
The expected strategies going into Ascent were contrasting ones. In LATAM, Leviatán usually plays off of Tacolillas Chamber on this map, where the star player holds long angles and plays patiently. For Liquid, they have dominated in EMEA with ScreaM on Phoenix on Ascent. Both strategies can be effective, but on Ascent today, the Chamber players made the most impact for their teams.
Theres certainly a chance that the Stinger meta will come back after fans have seen this map. Leviatán converted several thrifty rounds during the first half of the map despite the expected aggressive Phoenix play for ScreaM making a difference for Liquid. Leviatán started to revert to their chaotic style by always buying Stingers on their save rounds, and things went back and forth unpredictably. The half ended 6-6.
Leviatán started to build an advantage in the second half of Ascent, though Liquid kept them on their toes. The LATAM team pushed through with enthusiasm and won the map 13-10. Today, Leviatán played with a new reformed style, showcasing their composure and respect for a team that they have struggled with in the past.
Team Liquid has an uphill battle ahead of them to get out of this incredibly challenging Group A. They will face the intimidating Chinese team EDward Gaming in an elimination match after a few days of rest.
Overall, the first two matches at VCT Champions have shown that this tournament may be the most competitive showcase of professional VALORANT yet. Every region is stepping up and bringing their A-game to put everything on the line.
Leviatán will face Paper Rex tomorrow at 1pm CT.