It was nothing but smiles from the six LOUD members walking into the VALORANT Champions 2022 post-grand final press conference following their series against OpTic Gaming. The players all took their seats where they were met with a hoard of six cute plush puppies that surrounded LOUD’s duelist Erick “aspas” Santos who was doing his best to corral every single puppy in his reach. While he ultimately failed to reach the giant plush puppy sitting in the nest of the team’s newly acquired championship trophy, each player sat in the press conference with a mix of emotions that they could not explain.
Today could not have been more of a fairy tale ending for LOUD, who entered Champions 2022 following a poor performance at VCT Masters: Copenhagen. Yet, after a year of being both so close and so far from the No. 1 spot in VALORANT, they could finally rest easy knowing that they were champions.
LOUD’s match against OpTic
No two teams have had quite a rivalry like LOUD and OpTic Gaming. It was the sixth time this year that both teams had faced each other on the international stage heading into the Champions grand final. From meeting each other on the Masters: Reykjavík grand final stage to meeting each other twice in the group stage of two different events, both teams could never seem to avoid each other at an international event. Yet, even with the constant stress of which one of these two powerhouses would be victorious on the day, there is mutual respect between both teams in this international rivalry.
“Every game against OpTic is very hard,” head coach Matheus “bzkA” Tarasconi shared during the postgame press conference. “We can do a lot of work behind the scenes about how they’re going to play the map and how they will approach it all, but when we get in the game they can surprise us by changing a lot.”
It was a four-map series in the final best-of-five at Champions 2022. Yet, no person in the entire venue would have viewed either as a clear favorite for the title after the first two maps went into overtime.
For bzkA, credit for LOUD’s victory could not go to just one player. In his mind, Sunday’s series win against their international rivals was a collaborative effort to reach this point.
“Our IGL [Matias "Saadhak" Delipetro] does a lot of very hard work during the game and [Gustavo "Sacy" Rossi] did amazing work to help him out, but it was hard,” bzkA said. “I just think that everyone on the team, even the more inexperienced players like Felipe “Less” de Loyola and aspas did a really good job participating and doing their best to communicate in the game as well. And pancada was a very fundamental piece to all of that as well.”
Photo credit: Riot Games
During the press conference, LOUD answered each question passionately and excitedly, voicing all of the emotions they experienced throughout their tumultuous 2022 season in VALORANT.
Yet, one question that stood out among all the others was one to Saadhak. It was a question that brought him back to the start of Champions where the IGL stated, “here are many examples that your dreams can come true,” before being brought back to the present moment of where he was after winning Champions.
For a moment he paused before addressing the question and sent a message to all the fans of his with aspirations to make esports a reality.
“If you can pursue your dreams, do it. If you cannot, then find a way to do it,” Saadhak said. “Maybe that's all I have to say. I'm always thankful for everyone being there for us, even in our worst moments.”
LOUD can officially call themselves VALORANT world champions as the VCT 2022 season is over. Now, LOUD’s sights are set on the 2023 season where Sacy hopes that LOUD can be the first VALORANT team to win two international LAN events.
Photo credit: Riot Games
“I think next year, we are going to see a team that wins two international titles,” Sacy said. “I hope it’s us.”
With all of the stress finally over in Istanbul, Turkey, there was only one thing left on the players’ minds to celebrate.
“Alcohol!” aspas muttered into the microphone as the rest of his teammates laughed. Of course, beyond celebrating, the team also expressed their desite to return home to Brazil.
LOUD will be able to return to their home country of Brazil, this time with a giant trophy, as well as a massive group of puppies courtesy of aspas. They will have several months to rest up before the 2023 VALORANT season kicks off in Brazil in February.
Lead photo credit: Riot Games