VALORANT Champions 2021 represents the first true “Worlds” for Riot’s tactical FPS. Bringing teams from all over the globe to Berlin, it’s far and away the most prestigious event in Valorant’s young lifespan.
For Liquid and Fnatic, it’s a key moment to prove themselves, albeit for very different reasons. The two are nearly sister teams not only as part of the Monster family but as squads with deep roots in the UK FPS scene. The similarities end as soon as you trace each team’s arc up to this moment.
In the last month, Liquid looked renewed and resurgent. They’ve taken EU by storm, winning the Last Chance Qualifier in dominating fashion - only dropping 2 maps to Guild and G2. Along the way, they broke a double Operator strategy reminiscent of CS and used it to 13-0 One Breathe Gaming. At Home Ground #2, they’d do themselves one better and win while dropping only one map to Acend.
The surge in success comes in no small part from a massive signing. After a rough overtime loss to Gambit at the Masters: Berlin qualifier, Liquid brought in Nivera, ScreaM’s own brother. A talented prodigy, Nivera was the 6th man of a Vitality that looked to be the best in the world - before a new Valve ruling functionally destroyed the 6-man roster in CS.
CS’s loss would be Liquid’s gain. Nivera opened his Valorant career with a clean ace on the pistol round and an MVP for the series. After just a month of tournament play, Nivera looks every bit as versatile and complete as he did in CS. The rest of the team is clicking too.
L1NK remains as dangerous in the clutch and on the lurk as ever. Meanwhile, Jamppi and Soulcas have found a new form. They regularly rival ScreaM on the leaderboard while calling for the team. Put everything into one unit and you have a new-life Liquid that’s routinely making top 5 rankings.
For Liquid, the true question is consistency. They’ve been here before, entering Masters: Reykjavik as near-favorites. And they’ve lost here before, underperforming and landing in 4th. Time and time again, the team talks about losing to themselves on the big stage.
This time, they need to prove they can beat themselves and the opponent. They’ll have a chance to stun the world as early as the Group Stage. They could go as far as dismantling Sentinels - the most successful squad in Valorant history - or dropping out to a hungry KRU or Furia.