LOUD captain Gustavo “Sacy” Rossi spoke after the win over Team Liquid about making history for Brazil, playing in separate rooms from the two talented rookies and their confidence heading into a semifinals matchup with G2.
The rumblings of a Brazilian "super team" started to form shortly after Team Vikings' group stage exit at VCT Champions. The idea behind the LOUD roster construction was bringing over two of the most experienced, tactical players in Brazilian Valorant (Sacy and saadhak) with Bryan "pancada" Luna and surrounding them with the region's most mechanically gifted players. Enter rookies Erick "aspas" Santos and Felipe "Less" de Loyola, two players barely over the age of 17, and in one event together have shattered the ceiling for Brazilian VALORANT.
The victory over Liquid will forever be a marquee moment in the development of Brazil as a Valorant region. It's long been touted as a country full with talent good enough to compete on a world stage and we saw it all come to fruition in their first playoff series victory.
"After our win against Liquid, I think we proved to ourselves that we can do it."
Brazil has had its moments at VCT Masters events: Vivo Keyd beating Acend at Champions (a result later overruled due to the use of an exploit), Team Vikings taking out X10, or Ninjas in Pyjamas taking out Fnatic at this very event. However, LOUD is the first Brazilian team to earn a playoff win and the hype around the team is starting to turn into belief.
LOUD Sacy on playing in different rooms
For Sacy, it's the combination of enabling his star rookies to play their best and staying composed in the moment.
"Our two rookies are insane, mechanically speaking, and they felt really comfortable in the game," said Sacy in a post-match interview. "They are not playing on stage right now, but I hope they recover soon because I want them to have the experience, you know. That is one of the main reasons we are here. I want them to have this feeling"
Sacy is of course talking about the fact that three days prior to their playoff series, aspas tested positive for COVID-19, followed up by teammate Less a few days later. Fortunately, the two are able to play in the game despite testing positive, but Sacy hopes to see them back sooner rather than later to feel the thrill of the Rejyakvik stage.
When asked what it felt like playing without them by his side, Sacy responded hesitantly. Furthermore, he spoke of their refusal to leave the VCT stage as a hilarious form of superstition after getting blown out on Haven.
"It felt strange, especially after the first game, because when it ended, we were kinda lost. it was only me, Saadhaak and Pancada," said Sacy. "Aspas and Less weren't by our side and they are the two rookies that are playing their first International tournament of their lives. It was our first experience as well in this situation and it felt kinda odd. And don't get me wrong, it's not an excuse, it just felt odd. And then, me and Saadhak realized our mistake after we moved from the PC. So, on Ascent, we didn't move from the PC, when it ended, the second map, we stayed and said 'ok guys, don't move, don't leave the pc and just prepare for Ascent, just focus'"
Even while playing under unique circumstances and facing their toughest opponents to date, LOUD stayed composed. Nothing Liquid tried seemed to surprise LOUD, including Liquid opting for their worst map, record wise, in Icebox. Sacy fully expected Liquid to pick Icebox and LOUD delivered on a map they didn't play once in Challengers.
"When we were doing the drafts at big events, we saw that they liked Split. We always ban icebox in Brazil, so as soon as we banned Split, I knew they were picking Icebox"
Sacy on the LOUD rookies
Returning back to the LOUD rookies, despite being in a high-pressure position for the first time in their careers, both showed nerves of hardened steel. In fact, aspas, as he did all throughout Challengers, put up huge numbers on the Jett and opened up miles of space for his teammates.
"Aspas is just that simple guy that wants to headshot people. He's not like the guy who is a tactical person that you'll think 'oh this guy can do that and can do this.' He's just like the I'll pick and choose Jett and then me and Saadhaak try and make everything comfortable for him"
Unlike previous iterations of Sacy and saadhak Brazilian teams, LOUD not only has the structure in place but the firepower. It's one of the most solidly built teams at the event, that all work off each other beautifully. The arrival of an intelligent Controller main like pancada, combined with the sheer aim talent of aspas and Less have, through osmosis, improved the team's form as a whole.
LOUD finding win conditions against Team Liquid
As for the game plan against the explosive Liquid roster, on their two map wins, LOUD effectively found their win conditions. This includes the emphasis on denying plants on Icebox that Sacy gave credit to the Korean region for perfecting
"We have been talking a lot about this and we've been watching the koreans, so we got inspiration from them because they're really good at using the skills to like to agilt so yeah, we've been trying to press that a lot. We did it good against Liquid but there's still a lot to improve on"
Moreover, it's clear that LOUD has their sights set on a deeper run and aren't satisfied with one impressive victory. With G2 up next, Sacy understands it only gets more difficult from here.
"For me, G2 are one of the best teams in the tournament, if not the best, so it should probably be harder."
LOUD will face G2 in the Upper Semifinals on Sunday, April 17th at 10am PST.