Making the decision to go pro in any game isn’t easy. You need to be determined to make it out on top. But to go pro in a game that has only just entered closed beta? You need to be more than determined, you need to be valorant.
Despite only entering closed beta on April 7th, Riot Games’s Valorant has caught the attention of esports pros across the industry, many of whom have announced plans to go pro in the new title. With positive reception by pros and staggering viewership numbers on Twitch , Valorant is off to a good start on becoming the next big esports title.
Since it’s announcement during the League of Legends 10th anniversary, Valorant has been an anticipated title for the FPS pros of the esports industry. Offering a focus on tactical gun-play supplemented by the depth offered by hero shooters, Valorant is challenging Counter Strike’s dominance of the tactical shooter genre that they have dominated for the past two decades. We’ve already seen a number of notable players from CS:GO show interest in going pro in Valorant.
Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey has been a well respected player within the CS community for many years, and has announced plans to play Valorant competitively.
Similarly, Braxton “Brax” Pierce, a young CS:GO prodigy who was banned during the iBuyPower match fixing scandal has been picked up by T1 after announcing his retirement from CS:GO only a few days prior.
“It’s a good sign that such well-respected players are liking the game. It makes me think that I’ll like it too” says Charlie Feuerborn, a freshman and CS:GO enthusiast. “Valorant poses a new opportunity for me. It’s essentially a 5v5 defusal clone of CS but with some cool Overwatch-like character abilities.” Feuerborn hopes that Valorant will challenge the status of CS:GO and push both games to innovate and improve.
Valorant has also attracted many professional Overwatch players who have quit the game in hopes of going pro in Riot Game’s new title. Although many of these players were either from the tier 2 contenders scene or not currently on a main roster, Valorant may pose a threat to the health of Overwatch’s esports scene which already has had worrying signs recently.
Longtime fans of competitive overwatch will be familiar with Kevin "TviQ" Lindström, who has been playing competitively since the game’s beta. TviQ retired from Overwatch on April 4th and has shown interest in joining the Valorant esports scene.
Similarly, Timo "Taimou" Kettunen is an Overwatch veteran who played alongside TviQ. Like TviQ, Taimou announced his retirement from Overwatch a few days before the Valorant open beta and has been thinking of teaming up with his former team mate.
Daniel "Gods" Graeser is another veteran player who once played with the renown Brandon "Seagull" Larned. Gods signed with Overwatch League team Toronto Defiant in May of 2019 before announcing his retirement one day before Valorant’s closed beta.
“I think the Overwatch pros technically have “retired” since a long time ago.” Says Jae “Bun-E” Shim, a player on the USC Overwatch team when asked about the pros who’ve quit the game for Valorant. “Tier 2 Contenders Overwatch is seriously dying. There’s not much of a future for aspiring pros.” Shim thinks that Valorant has given a reason for many pros to leave the scene. Nonetheless, He is excited for the release of Valorant coming this summer.
With Valorant only being in it’s closed beta, it’s hard to say where the esports scene will go. What is certain though is the unprecedented level of interest that the game has received from pros across all of esports. Riot Games, perhaps more than any other company, has the talent to turn Valorant into a world class esports. They’ve already done it once with League of Legends. For the moment though we’ll have to settle for Twitch streams and the hope of a beta key.