Since its Open Beta launch in September of 2016, Paladins has amassed over 15,000,000 players and reached a global audience of viewers. Interestingly, perhaps the most passionate Paladins fandom has rooted itself in the heart of Brazil — a region which has welcomed and adored the Realm since it first appeared in the Steam Library.
With such a dedicated fanbase, one might assume that Brazil would find themselves atop the hierarchy of the international Paladins pro scene. But that isn’t the case. In fact, as Brazil heads into the Paladins World Championship at HRX 2018, the region has yet to make it past the group stage of any international tournament hosted by Hi-Rez Studios — and the introduction of powerhouse regions like China have only exacerbated the problem. With two Chinese teams heading into the World Championship, there’s a rapidly closing window of opportunity for Brazil to earn its place among the best teams in the world — but if anyone is up to the task of making an impact this year, it’s dark horse contender Spacestation Gaming.
Why hasn’t Brazil succeeded previously? The answer is fairly complex. Many factors have worked against the region — including a lack of regional competition and a limited qualification series that sometimes didn’t put forth the most tried and tested rosters. Visa issues have also plagued the region and impacted its players ability to participate in international events. At the 2017 Masters LAN, for example, Cube Team was stuck without their top-tier Bomb King player in what was posthumously dubbed “The Bomb King LAN”. Talk about bad timing….
However, in last August of 2017, things shifted dramatically as the Paladins Global Series kicked off in Brazil. Every week, new competitors were able to challenge one another on a consistent platform and test their mettle against higher-ranked players from month to month. Resident stars such as Mittow, GTFAFM, and Ar3z continued to rise above the rest and make names for themselves, while players like FrzGod singlehandedly demonstrated the power of Willo and Moral Boost 3 (which ultimately resulted in a nerf to that champion’s charge rate in later patches).
In the wake of the PGS, many stars were born under many different banners — and it was a sight to behold. Brazil became a region that many looked forward to watching, and the constant roster changes led us to believe that the consummate goal of creating a “super team” was in the minds of Brazilian players as they edged closer to qualifying for HRX. The sheer breadth of competition was already making a world of difference for this region, and the improvements were obvious to all those watching.
Though Spacestation Gaming (originally known as IDM Gaming) surfaced early on as a favorite to qualify for HRX, a surprise return from Ar3z on Key2Victory left Spacestation stunned during the PGS as they learned how valuable an asset that player could be on a team. With that in mind, a last-minute change was made and Ar3z joined the Spacestation roster for their regional qualifier alongside Mittow, GTFAFM, Zmaash, and RECHAO. This qualifying set pit them against some tough players like FrzGod and Keep3r, but SSG proved they were stronger than ever and pulled out a 4-0 win. When the final Victory screen appeared on their monitors, Ar3z stood up like a true god of war with his chest jutting out and his chin held high — ecstatic about the win, but focused on carrying the hopes and dreams of Brazil into the Paladins World Championship.
Now playing with a relatively steady roster, Ar3z and the rest of his squad (which now includes FrzGod) really have something to prove. Without the veteran leadership of GTFAFM, who left for unknown reasons, they’re sacrificing experience for youth and raw skill. But in tandem with their new PGS training grounds and a consistent competitive infrastructure, Brazil is one region to keep an eye on during the Paladins World Championship at HRX 2018.