Not even COVID could stop Shopify from VALORANT Game Changers title after five-map thriller

Four players on stage, but five earned their championship.
Shopify Rebellion win VALORANT Game Changers Championship 2023
Photo by Adela Sznajder via Riot Games

Hours before the VALORANT Game Changers Championship finals, Shopify Rebellion’s in-game leader Melanie “meL” Capone tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to lead her team in the Grand Finals off-stage. Despite that, they won it all, with meL leading Shopify to the 2023 championship.

Shopify Rebellion beat Team Liquid Brazil 3-2 in the VALORANT Game Changers Championship finals, overcoming the local fan favorites in São Paulo to earn North America its second international title across the VCT and Game Changers circuits.

Post-game, meL fielded interview questions from the same isolated location due to COVID-19, separated from her winning team. She teared up, talking about how appreciative she was her squad followed her ideas, no matter what problems arose through the back-and-forth series that was the VALORANT GC Championship finals. Considering how the 2022 Championship ended for the roster (under Version1) in a disappointing fourth-place, the team showed exactly why they were still the best team in the world.

While meL was crucial to their success with her strategic play, everyone on Shopify had their moments. From it being Nicole “Noia” Tierce’s birthday and having the crowd cheer ‘Happy Birthday’ in Portuguese, to clutch moments from Sarah “sarah” Simpson and Alexis “alexis” Guarrasi respectively, everyone had highlight moments in this victory.

None were as calm post-win as fluorescent, who boasted some of the biggest moments, from an ace to end Haven to the collateral kill that effectively ended any chance of a comeback on the final VALORANT map, Ascent. Her one key statement after the win was it was “weird to see her closest friends cry, in a good way.” For her first international LAN, she ended the series with an outstanding 112 kills; a record for kills in a GC series.

For comparison, in the lower bracket final at VALORANT Champions between Evil Geniuses and LOUD that also went to a map five, Demon1 had an outstanding performance with 101 kills. Both ended up MVP for their respective Championship wins and deservedly so, as they both took their regional dominance and easily translated it to international play.

The series itself was close as could be, with the first two maps going to at least round 24. The next two were traded with near equal amounts of dominance, from a 13-5 win for Shopify on Breeze to a 13-7 win for Team Liquid Brazil on Sunset. The final map of Ascent looked to be more like the first two maps of the series, with halftime showing a 6-6 score. Then, Shopify awoke and proceeded to not lose a single round, closing the series out 13-6.

The redemption from 2022 was completed. Even Team Liquid Brazil had a great lower-bracket run in front of their local crowd, proving in the finals their run wasn’t a fluke. Defeating top VALORANT teams like G2 Gozen, Team SMG GC, and BBL Queens after getting sent down on day one of the event was no small effort, and more fans will tune into their 2024 performances to see if this is the start of a potential rivalry.

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Author
Michael Czar
Contributing writer for Dot Esports. Covering esports news for just over five years. Focusing on Overwatch, VALORANT, Call of Duty, Teamfight Tactics, and some general gaming content. Washington Post-published game reviewer. Follow me on Twitter at @xtraweivy.