How TL Brazil made Valorant history

How TL Brazil made Valorant history

Leia em Português

In the ever-evolving Brazilian VALORANT Esports scene, there is one constant: Team Liquid. They’re a true trailblazer team, challenging norms and finding their way to the top every season of Game Changers. They’ve done well abroad too,, having clinched third and second places in their most recent international outings.

They haven’t won an international championship yet, but third time's the charm, right?

That might well come true, but the team has a different goal in mind than the Game Changers World Championship. This journey to the top starts in their home country. Team Liquid Brazil’s priority has always been to climb through the country’s official Tier 2 league, VALORANT Challengers Brazil (VCB).

And if you follow the Brazilian competitive scene, you’ll know that the girls have already made history this quarter after becoming the first inclusive VALORANT team to advance to the VCB closed qualifiers. As the final step before the main tournament, the closed qualifiers presented a unique and unforgettable experience for the team.

"It was a dream come true, you know?" said Daiki, Team Liquid's IGL. "But for me, it meant much more than any match. It was a truly unique moment. Of course you have the ambition to win, but it was so unique that in my opinion, the closed qualifier matches were a lighter experience just for the fact we made history and got there."

Ultimately, they didn’t secure a spot in the main event, but the fact that they were just one match away from making it through the closed qualifiers and securing a place in VCB goes to show this roster is on the right path, and it really might just be a matter of time.

"Obviously, we came very close ... we could have made it, but I think it has to be gradual,” Daiki added. “It's more about looking back and seeing what you've done. Because if you only focus on the [losing] result, we would go to bed sad and wake up sad up until now, right?  Being in the closed qualifiers already means a lot."

Because of the way the VCB calendar works, they had limited time after Game Changers to enjoy a deserved break and create new strategies for both the open and closed qualifiers, which posed a challenge. Here, their connection was key, and Bizerra, one of Team Liquid Brazil's big highlights from last year, points to the team's dynamics and communication as being a major strength.

"It seems that with each tournament, each moment we spend together, it becomes easier for us to connect, to feel that energy, and I feel that everyone is on the same path," said Bizerra.

According to Daiki, the team also built upon what they had learned during the Game Changers World Championship, which was a remarkable achievement on its own — in front of a home crowd, they won four consecutive matches in the lower bracket to make it to the grand finals and take it to the tiebreaker.

"After we had our break, we came back and trained for about a week, so we didn't have time to create anything new or to innovate,” said Daiki. “We literally just revisited what we were already doing in the world championship and played around that. It worked very well, so you could see that we were on the right path."

Charting the territory

Over the past two years, Team Liquid Brazil has undoubtedly been the team to beat in the local Game Changers circuit. The closed qualifiers, however, were uncharted territory - after all, it was the first time they’d made it there. But Bizerra and Daiki explained that the landscape wasn't that unfamiliar.

"We always practice with teams that are already at VCB and also with our 'hermanos' from the [Latin America South] Challengers,” said Daiki. “What was a bit difficult at that time, for everyone actually, was the patch. We were playing in the old patch but the practices had to be in the new one."

In 2024, VCB expanded to include two new teams, in addition to eight clubs receiving direct invites, to be selected through qualifiers. It started with two open stages, each qualifying four teams for the closed phase. Team Liquid's historical achievement came through the second open qualifier, where they had to win four series to finally beat Xenom com M at the end with a 2-0 score.

Finally into the closed qualifiers, Team Liquid made a strong debut late January securing a convincing 2-0 win against os piticos. In the next round, the upper bracket semi-finals, they faced SAGAZ CLUB. The squad maintained their momentum in the first map, Lotus, by winning 13-2. Their opponents, though, ended up leveling the series and narrowly defeating them with a 13-15 score.

Dropping to the lower bracket, the girls saw themselves in a similar situation to the Game Changers World Championship: No room for errors, or it's over.

Standout performances by bstrdd and Bizerra were crucial to secure the win in the first elimination match, against OS CARA CEGO. In the lower semi-finals, with just one match separating them from the final showdown that could get them the VCB spot, the girls faced Orquestra do Maestro, who ultimately triumphed in the series and put an end to their run.

Both players are happy with their overall performance during the closed qualifiers and even more with the evolution they showed from the uneven results of past attempts.

"The key takeaway from me was to picture the [positive] scenario even though it might not happen, because when we lose, we all rethink several things - the team, our individual performances, what I can change…" Bizerra said. "And when you finally make it through, you realize you are moving towards the right way. Just keep going and it will work it out. With this squad, I feel all of the girls are 100% prepared for this moment."

Daiki echoed the sentiment: "Even though it's my main goal, I got wary about whether I can and will really make it. It calms my heart to prove to myself and to everyone that we can do it."

Mental preparation also played (and always plays) an important part in their successful run. Focusing on the psychological analysis and support provided by Team Liquid and getting away from social media after a match loss were crucial to their recovery.

"We are affected by our own results, so it's easier for someone to get to you,” Daiki explained. “If we stop looking at Twitter, go walk around [the Alienware Training Facility in São Paulo] and see the people, no one will be talking about hate messages. Shielding ourselves is the only thing we can do at this moment."

For Bizerra, the team’s communication keeps getting better and is a huge help in those cases. 

"If we are feeling bad because of a championship or a match that didn't go the way we wanted, we can easily figure it out,” said Bizerra. “We can talk amongst ourselves and solve it, not only after a tournament but also during practices."

"I'm getting older"

Their determination is such that when I ask them if they would prefer qualifying for VCB over winning the Game Changers World Championship, I’m met with a resounding, matter-of-fact “yes.”

“One thing leads to another,” explains Bizerra. "So if, for example, we reach VCB, I'm sure we'll be much better equipped to win the Game Changers World Championship. In any case, making it to VCB will be better for our team when it comes to several things: Tactics, mental health, representation…"

It’s not quite a surprise, especially when I talk about it with Daiki. Back when VALORANT Esports started and she played for Gamelanders Purple in 2021, I distinctly remember her stressing that she wanted to go beyond the Game Changers program. Not that Game Changers is unimportant – far from it. It's just that she’s always had her priorities straight, and this mentality was very clear to (and even shared by) Bizerra, joojina, and isaa when they joined Team Liquid in 2023.

"It was something that we really wanted to highlight when they joined because I, [coach] Palestra, and bstrdd believe that the further we go in mixed tournaments, the better we get, the more we improve in this aspect and the further we will go in [women and marginalized genders] tournaments as well,” said Daiki. “We always prioritize this because if we are doing well in the mixed league, we will have a good performance in the Game Changers circuit as well."

As the team's leader and one of its "founders" alongside bstrdd, Daiki has always showcased this type of self-assuredness in interviews, even at such a young age. So when I probe her for her thoughts on inspiring a whole community of women even, and continuing to go further and further, she is once again confident in her answer; it’s just not the one I was expecting.

"I'm not sure if I can keep talking about it because I'm getting older."

Daiki is 19.

She continues after we break into laughter (and after an imaginary tear shed by this 31-year-old writer). "I'm joking but I meant that I really don't see myself as this person who inspires young people anymore. When I was 16, 17 years old, I felt I was at the same level of someone studying and playing at the same time - after all, I was this person."

She jokes about it, but she does still recognize the significance of her role. "I find it very rewarding because I know how much it means. I was also inspired by another woman and the most remarkable thing about it is watching us conquer this space.

"When I was starting to see a future in playing FPS, I was super inspired by [CS proplayer] bizinha. At that time, she was leaving FURIA to try playing in a mixed team, and I found that incredible. Everyone said she was so skilled that she could join any mixed team. I thought, 'Damn, I want to be that girl, you know?' Nowadays, I'm in this role where we can carry our team as an inclusive squad all the way to the closed qualifiers, and I feel that it's certainly inspiring other people."

Photo credit: Bruno Alvarez/Riot Games

As for Bizerra, she agrees with the sentiment regarding the importance of where they are and what they represent. 

"It's not really about representing young people, more so women in the gaming world,” said Bizerra. “I feel that I'm representing a lot when I manage to be with a completely female team going through this championship and dealing well with the situation, so we're going further and further with this."

What's next

Looking ahead to 2024, Game Changers is, of course, a big part of Team Liquid’s plans. The first qualifier is well underway, and as the team makes their way through the bracket, they’re excited to show what they have been planning.

"I think this is the moment where we made the most changes," said Daiki. "And I'm very eager to show this because we have been really working on so many new things and we had a lot of time for this preparation. As we unfortunately didn't make it to VCB, we had over a month - about 40 days - to prepare. We went all out, we changed everything, so let's see how it goes."

Beyond that, they have their own individual goals, both personally and professionally. Bizerra is prioritizing personal growth, which is also tied to her impact on the team. "My main individual goal is to achieve more things, gain more confidence in myself, and ... help my team more, supporting the girls every day."

Photo credit: Bruno Alvarez/Riot Games

Daiki, on the other hand, sheds light on the team's collective aspirations, pointing towards long-term planning and continuous improvement. 

"Our goal as a squad is to plan things more in the long term, do things more calmly, and reflect better on each one of them,” said Daiki. "On a personal level, I'm trying to prioritize my mental health, for example. I'm giving a lot of preference to things such as English classes. I know these things are very important for my personal growth ... but are also good to contribute to the team at some point. For example, having a healthy diet or exercising daily will reflect positively on a Bo5 match."

The qualifiers are underway for Brazil’s next Game Changers circuit, so it’s about time for Team Liquid Brazil’s next test. Thus far, they’ve been passing with flying colors — taking their first 3 series, 2-0 each, losing only 15 rounds total. At this point though, that’s to be expected. The qualifiers for Game Changers aren’t the hard part, and even a Game Changers Championship isn’t the ultimate goal anymore. The uncertain part is the mixed scene and the next VCB qualifier. It’s unclear just how all of their changes will pan out, or if they will make history in the mixed scene again, but one thing is certain: Team Liquid will continue pursuing their mission and keep changing the game.

No items found.

Vamoooos Team Liquid Brazil!

Thanks for catching up with Daiki and Bizerra and learning how this team achieved historic success in the tier 2 scene. Be sure to follow them through the qualifiers!