Friday, March 8, 2024

Liquid Community Spotlight: Rayssa

Written by:
Giulia Covre
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Friday, March 8, 2024

Liquid Community Spotlight: Rayssa

Team Liquid Crest Logo Light Version
Written by:
Team Liquid Crest Logo Light Version
Edited by:
Team Liquid Crest Logo Light Version
Graphic design by:
Friday, March 8, 2024

Liquid Community Spotlight: Rayssa

Team Liquid Crest Logo Light Version
Written by:
Team Liquid Crest Logo Light Version
Edited by:
Team Liquid Crest Logo Light Version
Graphic design by:

Leia em Português

Have you ever met someone whose hobby is "being a fan"? Well, Rayssa is one of those — a Brazilian who embodies a vibrant blend of passions for VALORANT, sports, and, of course, Team Liquid. Born in the state of Minas Gerais, she fervently supports Ronaldo Fenômeno's soccer team Cruzeiro, the American football club Kansas City Chiefs, and most of all TL's Brazilian VALORANT squad.

If you have attended a Team Liquid event in-person in Brazil, there's a high chance you have met Rayssa there. Notably, her experience at the 2023 Game Changers World Championship in São Paulo marked a pinnacle for her, showcasing her dedication, forming connections with fellow fans, and earning recognition for her unwavering support. Get to know a bit of Rayssa and how she embodies the genuine passion and friendship of Team Liquid's community.

Can you introduce yourself a bit? Who you are, how old you are, where you live…

Well, my name is Rayssa, I currently live in Campinas, but I was born in Minas Gerais, I moved here a long time ago. I'm 30 years old, currently I work as a support analyst, and my main hobbies are VALORANT, games in general, and being a fan - of artists, among other things.

I saw that you use American football and soccer emojis in your Twitter name. Which teams do you support?

I started following American football about four years ago and I support the Kansas City Chiefs. As for soccer, my father taught me to be a Cruzeirense [supporter of Minas Gerais team Cruzeiro] since I was a little girl. I also like Esports a lot, so I took Liquid as my team.

So liking the Kansas Chiefs isn't because of Taylor Swift. (laughs)

No [laughs], I like her but I'm not a fan. I've followed [the Chiefs] before; I've always liked the sport a bit and in the 2018 Super Bowl, when [quarterback Patrick] Mahomes had an incredible game and turned the match around against [San Francisco] 49ers, I fell in love with it for good, learned about it and I've followed it every year since. [...] I think a lot of Brazilians watch the Super Bowl because of the halftime show, and at that time a cousin of mine wanted to watch it. I was there watching along, but later I didn't know much about the sport. But when I saw the commentators' reactions, I understood that what Mahomes was doing was very big. Then I was keen on understanding the rules and everything. I think part of being a nerd is being very passionate about what you like, trying to find everything out.

Do you play any sport or just watch it?

I play futsal, it's something I do a bit more often in my life; I have some friends here in town that I play with. I do it as physical exercise, so to speak, and also to meet people and make friends.

How did you start following Esports and why did you become a fan of Liquid in particular?

I've always been very into games. I played with my cousins when I was a teenager, but with the pandemic this became a bit "clearer," we ended up getting a bit more involved with playing online. That's when I managed to buy my first gaming PC and a friend of mine started streaming VALORANT. I started playing VALORANT, and the first championship I watched was on [Team Liquid creator] Rakin's channel, the Rakin Cup, one of the first VALORANT championships, so I started following the game. 

I ended up liking it and made some friends - at this Championship I met Letícia Motta, a VALORANT caster. I started following her work, a wonderful person who has now become my best friend, and with that and other friendships we discovered along the way, I became more and more attached to VALORANT and Esports in general. Then there were other projects by people I met to engage the community [in general] and the LGBTQIA+ one, also to have a safer environment to play in, etc. And with the inclusive professional scene starting to happen, this has really shaped me as a person who wants to support and follow everything I can.

What about Team Liquid? What made you support it?

I already knew Liquid a bit because of LoL, but at the time I started following the inclusive scene, there was Gamelanders, Daiki, Bstrdd and the other girls' former team. I started following and rooting for them - they were the strongest team, the one I identified with the most. When they joined Liquid, that's when I really understood: "Okay, this is the team I support, this is my team". 

And little by little I began to understand what Liquid was, right? The magnitude of it and the opportunity the girls were having to show the inclusive scenario how strong they could be. So one of the things I most identify with about supporting Team Liquid is how much the team as a whole and everyone in the organization really believes in each of the player's dreams. With all of Liquid's squads  - be it VALORANT, CS, LoL - you really understand how much they support and believe in these people's dreams, the investment… For example, the investment in the VALORANT inclusive scene squad is one of the biggest we've had to date, not just financially but in support, giving them the opportunity to pursue things. And this is always very much tied to the fans, so it's a lot of fun to have a united fan base and to have a lot of contact with the girls at various events and places.

Photo courtesy of Rayssa

You mention the contact. What's it like interacting and engaging with the Liquid community? Can you say you've made close friends because of the organization?

Yes, of course. I have a few friends who are friends and acquaintances of the girls [from the VALORANT squad] or fans as well. I end up being very present in the girls' stream chats, so I end up meeting and making friends with a lot of people. At the Game Changers World Championship [held in São Paulo], for example, I met a lot of people and became friends with people who support Liquid because everyone was there for the same purpose. That was really nice. Very few times have I found it difficult to talk to someone and get close because of Liquid, you know? 

I imagine that watching the matches in person was one of, if not the greatest experience you've ever had cheering on Team Liquid, wasn't it?

Absolutely - and not just related to Liquid, but to anything that involves Esports and gaming. It was my biggest achievement because, as I said, I've been following the girls since the beginning and after they changed to this current line-up, I ended up understanding a lot about my experience there, my support being mainly tied to Daiki, who is one of the people I admire most in the scene. In Brazil, we'd never had the chance to see the girls play in person, since they've always been closed LANs, right? When the news came out that the world championship would be in Brazil and we understood what the dynamics would be like, the [Brazil] team slot hadn't yet been decided. So when it was set, the tickets were already sold out, [but] I had managed to buy them for four out of five days of the tournament. 

This opportunity was very important for me, because I had two friends [who were also going] — the three of us stayed together in an Airbnb to spend the week in São Paulo — so we were at the tournament every day. On the third or fourth day, Potter [EG's VALORANT head coach] turned to me and said: "Wow, you're here every day, that's incredible, you're very dedicated!" and that was very special to me, you know? Like a recognition.

And being able to see the girls every day, give them a hug between matches, see everything that happened, see them sweep through the lower bracket... The first day was a shock, everyone was very motivated, very confident, and then it happened: we lost to G2 Gozen. In the coming matches, the fans were just as excited, I was always there trying with other people to cheer everyone up, pulling the crowd up, and we went step by step. The rematch against G2 was, I believe, the pinnacle of the championship for a lot of people. For me it was a game that "restored my soul": we had a rematch situation, we played really well, we showed why we were there, the fans showed the girls that we were there supporting them no matter what... and then the next day it was the grand final and I didn't have a ticket.

Oh no!

I was completely desperate. The Liquid staff tried to help but the tickets were all sold out and there wasn't much they could do. And then I said: I have a mission. People know me, they know I support Liquid, and I'm going to get this ticket. I went on Twitter, talked to several people, asked them to RT me until I could find someone selling tickets. Anything is possible, right? 

I'd been there every day, [the team] had gone to the final and I wasn't going to be there anymore. I cried, because it was a moment I needed to experience. And at some point, the head of VALORANT [Esports], Léo Faria, DM'd me and said he'd get me a ticket. The next day, he gave me a pair of tickets, so I was able to take a friend with me who was with us every day, and with his help I was able to fulfill my dream of seeing a Game Changers final with the girls there. I stood at the front and gave my life to cheer them on. The experience was surreal. The girls did everything they could. Unfortunately [the title] didn't come this time, but it was something I'll never forget in my life. All the moments, friendships, photos [...] that represent my passion for Liquid.

Photo by Gui Caielli/Team Liquid

And what do you think of them now in the VALORANT Brazilian Challengers League closed qualifier? [Note: The interview took place on Saturday afternoon, when the team was still in the running for the VCB slot.]

We knew that the team would come out of the Game Changers World Championship much stronger and we gradually followed the qualifiers step by step. They showed the game that they know how to play: the basics, the focus, all the quality that we're used to from them. It's been beautiful to watch. A promise I'm going to keep is that if they made it to the closed qualifier, I'd buy a Liquid 2024 jersey. 

This is a huge step for the community, even in the sense that... I'm 30. Of course everyone can dream but I no longer have the reflexes to become a pro-player (laughs). When I was a teenager, around Daiki's age when she started, that wasn't something you could even dream of. So I feel very accomplished by their achievements and by seeing that they are inspiring other girls, and I believe that at some point we will really have equality. A lot of people might think that's a small thing, but for them to make it to the closed qualifier, to be fighting to play VCB, is something huge for our community.

Do you also play VALORANT or just watch it?

I dabble with VALORANT (laughs).

What else do you play?

I play a lot of TFT, Fortnite from time to time - I even follow the boys from Team Liquid's Fortnite squad a bit.

What other interests or hobbies do you have that aren't related to Esports, games or sports? I saw on your Twitter that you're a big RBD [Mexican music group] fan.

Yes, I think my main hobby is being a fan. I've been a fan for as long as I can remember, so as a teenager I first became a fan of [Brazilian girl group] Rouge. And then it escalated. RBD was my biggest love, the biggest passion I ever had during my teenage years - I had posters, magazines and everything. But I lived in a small town of Minas Gerais, so there was no way I could go to São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro and go to a concert. At the time they came to play here years ago, it was like an unattainable dream. I grew up, came to terms with it, OK. I went to some of [RBD singer] Dulce's concerts when she came here on her own, but none of RBD's, so when they toured again last year, it was surreal. I went to three concerts; I took vacation days in November to go to the RBD concerts and then followed it up with the Game Changers World Championship. Let's just say that November 2023 was one of the top months of my life.

I can tell you like music. What else do you listen to?

I listen to a lot of Camila Cabello, Demi [Lovato]... I had my rock days, so I listened to a lot of Paramore, Linkin Park... nowadays it's much more around pop. [...] Pabllo Vittar, Blackpink, who I found out about a few years ago.

I found it interesting that you said your hobby is being a fan. What does being a fan mean to you?

It's being yourself, being in contact with people, interacting. We know that for those who work in esports, with social media too, engagement is very important, so you know you're there supporting the person, commenting on things. I think that being a fan means supporting them when they're doing well and when they're doing badly too. Being someone who brings a message of affection to the person in that difficult moment. 

Whether you want to or not, it's also about collecting things, collecting moments if you have the opportunity to spend time with people. That's why I made a point of going to three RBD concerts, [...] I made a point of trying to go to Game Changers every day, because these are situations and emotions that you only experience once. I think being a fan means giving yourself over to emotion and experiencing it whenever you can and have the chance.

Very cool. Is there anything else you'd like to share with the Team Liquid community?

One of the main points is to praise Daiki's work. [...] I see the amazing things she's done since she joined Liquid - not just as a player but as a public figure in the organization, always trying to show her best. She's the person and the player I admire the most and have the most affection for. She's the pillar of this inclusive Liquid project and that's beautiful to see. I think it's because of this contact that I care for Team Liquid. 

My favorite thing is the autographed jersey I got from them; my first team jersey and it was signed by the girls, and I'm pretty sure it was the first one from Brazil signed by the whole squad at the time. [...] I think the main message is to praise Daiki's work and the work of all the fans. To thank every moment we had at the Game Changers World Championship, because we made friends, we became one, we have photos of everyone together... to praise everything that unites us and makes supporting the inclusive VALORANT scene something different and special.

Photo courtesy of Rayssa

What about you specifically, is there anything you'd like to add?

I remember that in Rondinelli's Community Spotlight it says that he is Team Liquid's number one fan in Brazil. [I can say that] I'm the number one fan of the inclusive team, and I've been called that by many people. It's amazing to be recognized: "Oh, you're Liquid's fan Rayssa!" It's a lot of fun and shows how united we are with everyone. I've had contact with a lot of people who work at Team Liquid and they've all been really nice to me. It shows that it's not just about the game, it's not just about the competition, it's also about the community we have. [...] I really appreciate you all asking me to take part in this Spotlight, it's very special for me!

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