VALORANT News: esports
Thu, May 14, 2020
Braxton “Brax” Pierce, formerly known as Swag, was one of the first pros to announce he would be retiring from CS to play VALORANT.
A talented Rifler and AWPer in CS:GO, Brax was well known from his stint playing with NA teams compLexity Gaming and iBUYPOWER from 2013 to 2015. After a match fixing incident in 2015 he was permanently banned from Valve events. Brax later played with a number of NA teams, and was a major part of team Swole Patrol in 2017, 2019, and 2020.
On February 27th, Brax announced he was retiring from CS to play Project A (the working title for VALORANT).
This move surprised many, as Brax was playing with a known NA team. And he was moving to a game that’s name was not known nor had been released in closed beta.
On March 9th, just 7 days after the official announcement of VALORANT, esports organization T1 made waves being the first top tier org to sign a player to a VALORANT team. T1, known for their dominance in the Korean professional League of Legends scene and being the home of LoL superstar Faker, jumped in early to scoop up talent.
Maining Agents Cypher, Omen, Phoenix, and Raze fits Brax’s aggressive playstyle. He frequently tops the leaderboard in-game with an impressive KDA.
Taking the nascent VALORANT esports scene by storm, Brax has been a part of teams winning early competitions including the: 100 Thieves Invitational, T1 Invitational, and Code Green Invitational (by Boom TV). He also racked up 2nd place finishes in the ESPN Esports Invitational and the recent T1 x NSG Invitational.
Brax’s redemption arc has been remarkable. His ability to rise above obstacles and perform exceptionally well in the early days of VALORANT, shows a bright path ahead.
Check out our ongoing series about CS pros making the move to VALORANT »
Thu, May 14, 2020
Over the past 2 months, a number of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pros have announced their departure to VALORANT. The pace of announcements has rapidly accelerated over the past 3 weeks.
Particularly affected are CS:GO players from North American teams. Struggling to find sponsors or an org to sign them, many NA players feel now is the best time to transition to a new game. Talk of esports orgs offering big contracts and Riot Games’ reputation with League of Legends are factors contributing to player decisions.
We’ll tell the stories of those making the move in a multi-part series.
All parts of the series will be linked to from this introduction. Bookmark this page to follow along, as we get to know these players better.
Part 1 - Brax »
Who will be next to make the switch? Time will tell. As the game nears its release this summer, more are sure to follow.
Read our in-depth analysis of what draws esports pros and streamers from many different games to VALORANT »
Sat, May 9, 2020
From Jay ‘sinatraa’ Won to Jaryd ‘Summit1g’ Lazar. Why are players and streamers going pro or thinking of going pro in Valorant?
There are a plethora of reasons why Valorant is gaining so much attention right now from the creative direction of Riot to the lack of a true FPS team shooter. Yes, there is Overwatch, COD, and Rainbow 6 but none of those games provide the true team based game-play that CS:GO provides.
Overwatch does fit the bill but the ever changing metas and the now 2-2-2 composition requirements forces even the most skilled players to play something they may not be used to playing. Imagine playing CS, Quake, Unreal, Halo, and then playing Overwatch. The game is fantastic on many levels but if you are a pro that is forced into a Tank/Healer role, you may not be completely fulfilled. Reinhardt, a main tank in Overwatch, is a prime example of a "boring" role. For 60 percent of matches, your main goal is to hold up a shield to protect your team. Every so often you will throw out a fire strike or dash in and try to smash the opponent with your war hammer. But for the majority of the match, you are a walking shield. There is a tremendous amount of skill involved even though it may not seem like it but imaging being a pro and practicing this 6 days a week and 10 hours a day.
Valorant does have agents with special abilities that play various roles. However, even the healer agent Sage can have the same weapon as your front-line agent. So even if you are a support or control role, you can let your tactical skills shine. Valorant is a pure shooter at heart like CS:GO but with a bit of Overwatch abilities sprinkled in.
CS:GO did, and still does, fulfill that need/niche, but it has become stagnant and harder to compete in. Many CS:GO players typically turn to streaming instead of playing competitive for a bit more flexibility. Once Valve develops the Source 2 engine, CS might be born again.
The majority of the shooter style games that have come out in the last 5 years have been Battle Royale games. Battle Royal games don't have a very extensive, organized esports community and the community is slightly toxic and disorganized. All games will have some level of player toxicity, but it seems games like Fortnite and PUBG have a bit more than usual.
Riot is a well known and established company that is built for esports and their games are known to have a huge following and be extremely competitive.
Keep in mind that we are still in a closed beta and we have professional teams forming and various players already switching over to Valorant. Every disgruntled professional gamer or bored professional streamer may want to jump at the opportunity to get in early and establish themselves in a game that is going to be big.
Big games with many players equals many viewers on Twitch, YouTube, Mixer etc etc. So even if you play Valorant and aren't very good, with the right amount of grinding and luck, you might be able to create a following for yourself if you have the right personality. It might not be going pro, but it might provide you some side cash or a modest living.
Think of Valorant as a new stock. Good chance of success since the team behind the stock is solid. Always best to get in early. It is a form of gaming arbitrage.
Sinatraa is an extreme example. I would imagine if you were one of the best players in your game, you would stick around since you were getting paid a six figure salary + endorsements. It is rare for a top of the line player to suddenly leave to pick up another game but it seems that Overwatch just didn't bring enough joy for him to stick around.
Many lower tier pro players are switching over to Valorant, as well. That is expected. Other games including Overwatch and Rainbow 6 just don't have the stream numbers and lower tier players make little to no money so it is best to try something new.
Will someone like Summit1g actually go pro again in Valorant after being a pro streamer for so long? He mentioned that Valorant got his "competitive" juices going but it is highly doubtful. The top line streamers like Shroud and Summit1g make so much more streaming that the effort to go pro probably isn't worth it for them.
We expect Valorant to be enormous. Free to play, low system requirements, and tons of hype all fuel its popularity. Until Valve releases Source 2 and polishes a new version of Counter-Strike, Valorant will be the game to beat in terms of popularity and esports competitiveness.
Fri, Apr 24, 2020
Esports pros, former pros and streamers from nearly every FPS scene battled in the ESPN Esports VALORANT Invitational.
CS:GO, Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, Fortnite, PUBG, Apex Legends and even League of Legends were represented, as well as a team of highly skilled VALORANT devs (some former CS:GO pros and map designers themselves).
Team Mirage (CS:GO): Skadoodle, AZK, Brax, N0thing & Hiko
Team Heroes (Overwatch): Emongg, Boostio, Gale, Kephrii & Carter
Team Six (Rainbow Six Siege): rampy, Thinkingnade, Canadian, NVK, Necrox
Team Rift (League of Legends): DoubleLift, Xmithie, Shiphtur, Imaqtpie, Dyrus & Rivington (who subbed in for DoubleLift)
Team Canyon (Apex Legends): Kellar, SYncDez, aceu, dizzy & Mendo
Team Llama (Fortnite): Joseph, Thwifo, Psalm, HighSky, XXIF
Team Battlegrounds (PUBG): Vegas, Venerated, Valliate, Yaboidre, Sharky & Coach: 7Teen
Team Dev (VALORANT Developers): Ntt, Penguin, Nick "Nickwu" Wu, Bobby "excal" Prochnow, Sal "Volcano" Garozzo
Going into the 3-day event, Team Mirage (made up of CS:GO pros) and Team Dev (VALORANT Developers) were heavy favorites two win it all. Team Mirage had won a few other Invitationals since the launch of the Closed Beta.
The entire tournament was a highlight reel of high tier gameplay. The most fascinating matches of the tournament were the Semifinal between Team Mirage and Team Dev and the Final between Team Mirage and Team Canyon.
Team Canyon pulled out the upset of the tournament taking out Team Mirage in the final. Keller, Mendo, and aceu soared in the 3 map final to secure the championship.
Watch the VOD of the Finals here.
Sun, Apr 12, 2020
Having all the trappings of a potentially huge esport title, VALORANT has spurred major esport orgs into a flurry of player signings. Pros that have proved themselves in adjacent FPS games like: CS:GO, Overwatch, Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Rainbow Six Siege are at the top of the list.
T1 (known for their top tier League of Legends team in the Korean pro league, LCK, and home of LoL esports star Faker) were one of the first to make a move. In early March, T1 snagged NA CS:GO pro Braxton "Brax" Paulson (formerly known as ‘swag’), shortly after he announced his retirement from the professional Counter Strike scene.
On April 7th, T1 revealed it had signed former CS:GO pro Keven "AZK" Larivière to it’s VALORANT roster. Brax and AZK were former teammates, so T1 is counting on their synergy to translate to the new game.
AZK and Brax join former T1 Apex Legends Pro Kurtis ‘Kurt’ Gallo on T1’s quickly forming roster.
Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) wasted no time in re-signing their former Paladins roster to their new VALORANT team.
NiP’s April 8th Twitter announcement was accompanied by a video celebrating the team’s accomplishment as last year’s Paladins World Champions.
Their roster consists of: Malkolm “bonkar” Rench, Dylan "DiGeDoG" Chainski, Leander “isbittenner” Aspestrand, and Aleks "Alex" Suchev. Erik “Bird” Sjösten is joining the team as a head coach, meaning the team is still seeking a 5th player for its roster.
The team’s competitive success instantly makes them one to watch.
See the full NiP press release here: https://nip.gl/blogs/news/paladins-team-returns-in-valorant
Cloud9’s April 12th announcement heralded their entry to VALORANT with Tyson ‘TenZ’ Ngo transferring from their CS:GO team.
It’s certain to be an exciting time as teams continue adding FPS players to their rosters in the build up to the seemingly inevitable beginning of VALORANT esports events.