Leviatán’s passion fuels Valorant Champions run

Declan Mclaughlin
Leviatán with their hands in the middle of a huddle at Valorant Champions

Leviatán were the first team to reached the Valorant Champions playoff stage and have cemented themselves as a contender that should not be written off.

As soon as Leviatán won the final round against Paper Rex to make their way into the Valorant Champions playoffs, the South American players stood up from their seats and started cheering. They ran to each other and embraced in celebration, their head coach Rodrigo ‘Onur’ Dalmagro joining them as he ran over from the coaching area and started pointing and screaming into the cameras.

Marco ‘Melser’ Amaro could be seen crying directly after the win.

Leviatán are no strangers to boisterous wins and stunning performances. In their debut at VCT Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen, the squad was dubbed the loudest team at the event and seemed to feed off the energy of playing on stage together.

“That’s the first thing, we’re really really, really tight,” Leviatán’s Francisco ‘kiNgg’ Aravena said in a press conference after their win. “As I said, we’re like a family, and also if you’re from South America… we are really energetic as a region.”

A different team in Istanbul

Onur humps the air at Valorant Champions
This is Onur’s first appearance at an international LAN with Leviatán.

Leviatán feel unleashed at this event, though, even more so than during the run in Copenhagen that saw them place in the top six. This could be because they don’t feel as pressured as they did back then, when they were also playing to qualify for Champions, and because they now have their coach behind them after he missed the previous trip due to a positive test.

“Having Onur on stage is really a boost for us and it really supports us a lot,” the team’s teenage Initiator, Fabian ‘Shyy’ Usnayo, said after beating Team Liquid. “He really has the key to understanding when the timeouts should come through and he really understands the players.”

The Argentinian coach is also known for his intense celebrations and for cheering on his team from the coaching booth. Against Liquid he repeatedly punched the air, to the point where one Liquid player later jokingly described him as Bruce Lee and said he could hear his cheers through his headphones.

That energy seems to give the players more confidence in their play. When opponents are asked what it is like to play against Leviatán, many cite the team’s individual mechanics and aim.

“It’s very hard to do anything when Shyy just goes crazy and headshots everyone,” Paper Rex’s coach Alexandre ‘alecks’ Sallé said in a post-match press conference.

Shyy is just one of five players that can hit a hot streak at any moment. The team’s primary sniper player, Vicente ‘Tacolilla’ Compagnon, was highly praised before his international debut in Copenhagen, and Melser became known as one of the best clutch players in the world after Masters 2.

Leviatán celebrating and hugging at Valorant Champions
Leviatán were the first team out of the “Group of Death.”

But the team’s strength goes beyond the combination of passion and great aim. The squad is disciplined and doesn’t let momentum get to them, something that can cause teams to overextend and test their luck in a game. Leviatán are also well-drilled in their utility usage and trading, as well as quick with their executions, according to alecks.

“The way they do it is a lot faster than a lot of other teams and you have to be really on the ball,” he said.

As the first team to qualify for the playoffs, Leviatán have a week to watch other teams in action and prepare for what lies ahead. When most expected Leviatán to pose little threat against veterans Team Liquid and Asian sensations Paper Red and EDward Gaming, they set about proving everyone wrong.

“Group of death, they said,” Onur Tweeted after the Paper Rex match. “But we were Death.”

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