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How Leviatán really plays Ascent

How Leviatán really plays Ascent

Kim "vserov" Panagos


This article is part of a 7-part series that examines how teams from VALORANT Champions play their best map. We begin with the rising Chilean outfit, Leviatán, who are currently on a 6-0 streak on Ascent, including wins over a number of international opponents. At Champions, they have played the map once so far, besting Team Liquid on their way to a second consecutive Playoffs appearance at an international LAN.

The results speak for themselves, and Leviatán are achieving them by doing things their own way. On Ascent, they run an innovative triple-Initiator, no-Duelist composition that places information gathering at an absolute premium. With Split no longer in the competitive pool, Ascent is now the most defense-sided map in pro VALORANT, with teams typically winning around 55% of their rounds on that side over the last few patches. During their current streak, Leviatán are solidly above average on attack, winning 51% of their rounds. But it is on the defense side where they are truly special, with an outstanding round win rate of 68%. Let’s take a look at how they are finding success on Ascent.

Defense: building a fortress

The first thing that stands out about Leviatán’s defensive approach is how well they understand the strengths of their own comp. By omitting a Duelist, they are able to bring a larger store of utility to bear than most of their opponents. But even more importantly, they are masters of combining the abilities of VALORANT’s Agents creatively, often as part of cleverly designed trap plays. For example, during their defense side pistol against FNATIC at Masters Copenhagen they pulled off a perfectly executed Shock Dart and Seize combo in B main, completely wiping out FNATIC’s two stars, Emir “Alfajer” Ali Beder and Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev, as they attempted to enter onto the site.  

A couple of rounds later they were at it again, this time with Fabian “Shyy” Usnayo launching a Haunt from B main into Tiles as soon as the barriers dropped. It landed alongside a Recon Dart fired by Benjamín “adverso” Poblete from short. Despite being smoked off, the double scan provided adverso with more than enough information for him to obtain an easy Odin spam kill onto Derke.  

Part of what makes these trap plays so effective is that Leviatán’s opponents have to be constantly aware of the dynamic opportunism of Vicente “Tacolilla” Compagnon’s Chamber play. He has completely caught fire during their current streak, putting up a monsterous 3.5:1 First Kill/First Death ratio on defense by racking up 14 first bloods while only dying first 4 times. Not only does Tacolilla consistently switch up his positioning (see Figure 1), but he also isn’t afraid to push out of his starting spots. Nor are these pushes wholly random, as they are often made as part of a coordinated reaction to information gathered by Leviatán’s initiators on the other side of the map.

Figure 1: Heatmap depicting Tacolilla’s positions during the first 30 seconds of the round on defense.

Tacolilla has exhibited a great feel for timing these aggresses. This enables him to exploit gaps in the attackers’ default, either by scoring a first blood, or gathering valuable information about the attackers’ whereabouts. And he’s been back at it again at VALORANT Champions, with this bold early pistol round push against Team Liquid during their group stage encounter on Ascent, exemplifying his fearless approach, even if it doesn’t earn him a kill.

Indeed, Leviatán’s ability to isolate kills on Catwalk is one of the standout features of their kill profile on the defensive side. They’ve been able to consistently find picks in this area of the map, while also locking down B main, Tree, and A site (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Visualisation of Leviatán’s Map Dominance on defense. The more green an area on the map is, the better the K:D ratio they have when taking fights there. Red areas indicate a negative K:D.

Because their playstyle is so proactive, Leviatán often win rounds without the Spike going down. Their surplus of information gathering tools means they typically have a good idea of where their opponents are going, and so even in situations where a hit does occur they are often able to halt it before the plant is achieved. At face value, they aren’t doing quite so well when it comes to retakes, where they’ve had a 36% success rate across their last 3 events on the map. However, this figure is still solidly above the average for Ascent across pro play, where retake success rate on recent patches has been hovering around 29%.

Figure 3: Leviatán’s win-conditions while defending on Ascent at Champions, Masters Copenhagen, and Stage 2 LATAM Playoffs.

Attack: breaking even

On attack, Leviatán are breaking even, winning about half of their rounds. They’ve been able to achieve this by adopting a distinctive strategic approach to the map that is once again carefully tailored to the strengths of their comp. During their run, 5/6 of their opponents have selected a duelist, a role that Leviatán have effectively replaced with Sova. Consequently, they have more rechargeable utility (Recon Dart, Haunt, ZERO/POINT) at their disposal than their opponents.

They take advantage of this in their default, which will often see rechargeable information gathering utility deployed towards out Bottom Mid and one of A or B Main. They like to follow up with a Prowler or Owl Drone, placing enormous pressure on multiple areas of the map simultaneously. Astra’s recyclable Dissipates are also frequently used in the earlyround, with Marco “Melser” Eliot Machuca Amaro often popping them around Arches in order to isolate any defenders attempting to contest Mid.

Having taken map control, Leviatán’s midrounds find them carefully probing areas like Market and Tree in pursuit of first bloods or gaps in the defense. However, they rarely hard-commit early, and instead focus on developing a clear picture of the opposing team’s positions before eventually grouping up to hit the site they have deemed to be the less well-defended.

This careful approach is clearly visible in their Attack Speed profile (see Figure 4), which indicates that they tend to take their fights a bit later in the round than the average pro team does (see Figure 5), with a notable spike in kills between 35-45 seconds. They are also planting much later—often around 80-85 seconds—than their counterparts. Overall, this data suggests that Leviatán are trying to take fights on their own terms in order to mitigate their exposure to aggressive pushes from the defenders. They play carefully at first, and seek out contact only under conditions that they deem to be favorable.

Figure 4: A graph of Leviatán’s Attack Speed covering their last 6 matches on Ascent. It highlights the times during the round when they are most frequently obtaining pre-plant kills, and also when they most commonly plant the Spike.
Figure 5: A graph displaying the Attack Speed of all pro teams on Ascent during the same time period as Leviatán’s winning streak.

The Onur buff: pistol winrates

As if their lockdown defense and patient approach to the attack wasn’t enough, Leviatán underscore their dominance on Ascent by winning pistol rounds at an abnormally high rate. Under the stewardship of their head coach, Onur, Leviatán have become masters of sidearm strategy, winning 67% of both their attack and defense side pistol rounds on the map.   

Whether this incredible conversion rate is sustainable remains to be seen, though it is worth noting that KRÜ were also known for their potent pistols during Onur’s tenure there. But for now we can be content to admire quite how accomplished this team of rising Chilean stars has become on one of VALORANT’s most iconic maps.

In the meantime, stay tuned to Run It Back for more breaking news, interviews, features, and updates from the world of VALORANT! Remember to join our Discord where you can use our analytical platform, interact with fellow VALORANT aficionados, and win prizes!

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