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Oct 01
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Top
Valorant

LOUD Take Down OpTic to Claim 2022 Champions Title

Bradley Long

When it comes to international play, no matchup has meant more to VALORANT esports than LOUD vs OpTic. Going into Sunday’s Grand Final at Champions 2022, the Brazilian standard bearers and the North American stalwarts had met five times on the world stage. In a repeat of Masters Reykjavik, LOUD prevailed over OpTic in the Upper Bracket Final, only to see their familiar foe return for a best-of-5 slugfest to decide a champion. This time, LOUD was ready, taking a dramatic 3-1 victory to claim the 2022 VALORANT Champions title.

VALORANT Champions 2022 LOUD

Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

LOUD Get Revenge for Reykjavik, Redemption for Copenhagen

On Sunday, LOUD took the stage in front of a raucous crowd in Istanbul, Turkey with a golden opportunity in front of them. Just three map wins separated them from the biggest title in VALORANT, the culmination of a year of close calls and heartbreak. By virtue of their flawless playoff run, LOUD got to remove two of OpTic’s best maps from the seven-map pool.

As soon as the match began, it was clear just how locked-in both teams were. OpTic were coming off the high of a dramatic five-map Lower Bracket Final against DRX, and LOUD were matching their energy. It had been just two days since LOUD brutalized OpTic on Ascent in the Upper Bracket, but OpTic’s improvement was obvious and measurable. It took some overtime heroics from Gustavo “Sacy” Rossi, but LOUD were able to start the series with a 15-13 win.

OpTic once again showed their ability to adjust on Bind. After falling on their map pick in the Upper Bracket, they were in prime form for the rematch. A 10-2 attack side gave way to a 13-6 victory as the Americans evened up the series.

Up next was Breeze, which turned out to be the map of the series, if not the entire tournament. OpTic picked up where they left off, jumping out to an early 5-0 lead on defense. Not to be outdone, LOUD clawed their way back with a run of their own to end the half 6-6.

The second half was unbelievably tense as the teams traded rounds back and forth. The lead never got above two rounds as both teams saw their stars step up big time. For LOUD it was Erick “aspas” Santos and Felipe “Less” Basso who ultimately seized the moment. Time and again, they pulled out massive rounds when LOUD needed them most. Once more, the map went to OT, but LOUD prevailed in dramatic fashion 16-14.

All tournament long, Haven had been a bulwark for LOUD, a map that was almost a sure thing for the firey Brazilians. On Sunday, it was the finish line as LOUD dominated OpTic. A 7-5 first half gave way to a 13-5 drubbing as Less continued his ascendant showing on VALORANT’s biggest stage. He finished +10 on the final map, leading the way for LOUD to claim Brazil’s first international title.

The moment was a great triumph for LOUD and the country they represent. After an abysmal 2021 in which no Brazilian team finished higher than 5th/6th internationally, LOUD finally showed what the region is capable of in 2022. They showed a tremendous drive to win after falling just short in Reykjavik and missing playoffs entirely in Copenhagen. With this title, they stand proudly atop the VALORANT world having earned their title as Champions.

OpTic Take Another Podium Finish

For OpTic, the defeat surely stings at the moment. They had their eyes set on being the first repeat winner of an international tournament, and that goal has eluded them for the time being.

Still, they have much to be proud of after this showing. Despite not always being in their best form, they gutted their way through the bracket consistently. Three times in the playoffs they had series go down to a final decider map, and three times OpTic came out on top.

The win on Saturday against DRX was especially indicative of their mental fortitude. After going up 2-0 to start, their lead slipped away as DRX fought back to tie the series. For most teams, that would be a devastating blow they probably wouldn’t recover from. OpTic isn’t most teams. They’re the most seasoned international competitors in VALORANT, and they showed it. They maintained composure and took down the red-hot Korean squad, earning themselves the shot at another title.

Ultimately, this wasn’t their trophy to lift, but nonetheless OpTic cemented their place in VALORANT history. In all of VCT, no one has matched their level of consistency and success. Only KRÜ Esports has attended more international events, and they had the luxury of coming from a less competitive region.

In five international showings, OpTic has finished outside the top three just once, at last year’s Champions. In 2022, they came back stronger, finishing on the podium at every event and lifting the trophy at Masters Reykjavik. They were not the best team in the world this time around, but in totality, no one has been better than OpTic.

Six Tournaments, Six Champions

And so, the search for a repeat champion continues into 2023. LOUD add their name to the list of teams looking to add a second piece of hardware to the trophy case. OpTic come tantalizingly close to achieving that goal but can’t quite get there.

The lack of a truly dominant champion is both a blessing and a curse for VALORANT. Elite teams and historic runs can drive interest, especially if those teams are some of the game’s most popular. At the same tine, the variety of champions is indicative of the health of the scene worldwide. Of our six champions, three have come from EMEA, two from North America, and one from Brazil.

VALORANT is extremely healthy at the moment. The Grand Finals drew over 1.4 million viewers, breaking the marks set by Champions 2021 and both Masters Reykjavik events. The game is growing across the globe and drawing phenomenal teams from every region. Paper Rex in Copenhagen and DRX in Istanbul showed that Asian teams are ready to compete at the highest level. Edward Gaming made China’s international debut at Champions, but the world’s largest nation remains a fairly untapped opportunity.

As VCT transitions to its partnership model for 2023, the game is thriving and still has room to grow. The esports scene is filled with star talent and personalities, and Riot clearly knows how to put on a show.

The next VCT event will be the biggest ever after Riot announced that they’re bringing all 30 partnered teams to Brazil to kick off the new VCT system with the biggest international tournament ever. Details about the partnered teams will be coming over the next few weeks, but for now LOUD can celebrate their title and bask in the glow of victory.