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 »
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.