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How Valorant attracts top esport talents despite its months of publication

Valorant is still in closed beta, but Riot’s new tactical shooter is already making waves in the competitive gaming scene. Despite the fact that the game isn’t generally available and we still don’t know what Riot is planning for the game’s esport future, teams and players are jumping on board.

Part of it has to do with its popularity – Valorant has dominated Twitch since its first beta debut, along with Riot’s story, which has built a longstanding global esports scene for League of Legends. For teams in the room, this indicates a future in which Valorant will be one of the biggest competitive games. “Everything about its launch and Riot̵

7;s track record indicate that this is the likely scenario,” said Rob Moore, CEO of Sentinels.

Sentinels caused a sensation last week and signed one of the first professionals Valorant Teams. The squad consists of four players – there is still one open squad to fill – all with experience in other competition titles such as Counterstrike and Apex Legends. The most well-known name is Jay “Sinatraa” Won, who has spent probably the best in 2019 Overwatch Players in the world. He won it Overwatch League title as a member of the San Francisco Shock, the Overwatch World Cup as part of the USA team, and also managed to win the MVP prize in both competitions. Despite this success, Won says that he “just lost passion for the game”, which led to his move Valorant.

While Overwatch has a defined professional scene with the ambitious, if restless, Overwatch League that doesn’t exist for yet Valorant. Riot said Esport is a likely part of it Valorant“We don’t want to force something too quickly without knowing what’s best for esports fans,” said Whalen “Magus” Rozelle, Riot’s sports director, last month.

With this in mind, it may seem curious for esport teams to jump into a scene where there is no guaranteed return on the investment or on that Overwatch The league’s biggest star, retiring mid-season and switching to an unproven game.

Overwatch League Grand Finals 2019

Jay “Sinatraa” Won and the San Francisco Shock won the 2019 OWL Grand Finale.
Photo by Hunter Martin / Getty Images

However, according to Moore, it makes more sense to get in early than to wait until there is a big league that has to spend millions on a franchise. “As an organization, we made the decision to get into the game early and develop teams and players early,” he explains. “And if we’re wrong, it’s not a big investment if it doesn’t work.” We don’t wait a year to see if this game is developed. We want to be part of the first wave. “

One of the advantages of being early, according to Moore, is that you can understand the scene if it develops strongly. “When you are present in the room, you get a lot more information and much more access to the development of a team,” he explains. He quotes Fourteen days as an an example. Sentinels are known to be the home of Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, the 16-year-old who won the first Fourteen days World Cup last year. According to Moore, the organization was able to explore Giersdorf through other members Fourteen days Team, players who were in the game from the start and immediately recognized the potential of Giersdorf.

“Obviously it worked as well as it could have worked for us when Bugha won the World Cup last year,” he says. “And looking so ValorantGiven the gameplay and the way Riot supported it, this was definitely a great opportunity to team up and further expand our organization’s brand. “

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon - Season 6

Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf on the Tonight Show.
Photo by Andrew Lipovsky / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

The process of team building is not exactly easy Valorant is not yet widespread. The beta is still being launched in different regions – it was only recently launched in the sports stronghold of Korea – and a full start is expected this summer. The game is a tactical shooter, similar to CS: GO, but with certain characters and powers similar to Overwatch.

The spread of Sentinels’ original roster reflects this: in addition to Won, there are also earlier ones CS: GO Professionals Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan and Hunter “SicK” Mims, along with Jared “Zombs” Gitlin, who also plays for the organization Apex Legends Team. “There were four guys who already played together and had good chemistry,” says Moore. “One of these people was already someone in our organization.”

Sentinels are not the only major esports organization to expand into Valorant. Clubs like T1 and Gen.g have already signed players, and T1 has even hosted one of the first major tournaments. Other big names like ESPN and Twitch have also held early competitions. It is clear that players, teams and spectators have an appetite for a competitive scene.

At the moment, everything seems to be sensing and waiting until the moment Riot flips the switch and turns around Valorant into the next big thing in sports. At this point, it almost feels like an inevitability.

“If we’re wrong, we’re wrong,” says Moore. “But that doesn’t seem to be the likely outcome.”

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