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Why are many notable CS: GO pros switching over to Valorant?

November 5, 2020, by Rakesh Naik


• Many Pros at the top of CS: GO competitive scene now find the game feeling very “stale” for them.
• A big reason behind Valorant’s soaring popularity is it they managed to win over the FPS gaming community during its closed beta launch.
• One of the biggest reasons why Valorant is attracting more players from CS: GO is that Riot Games are successfully maintaining the balance between quality content creation and major tournaments.

Valorant is a tactical shooter created by Riot Games. Having over 3 million active people every month, this game has already taken over the likes of CS: GO and Overwatch in terms of popularity. A recent phenomenon has left many asking one question: Why are many notable CS: GO pros switching over to Valorant?

The answer to the question posed above is very simple: Most of the players who were at the top of the CS: GO competitive scene, having played the game for more than a decade, are now finding the game to feel very “stale” for them. Popular Pro players like Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom, Matthew “WARDELL” Yu- to mention a few- and many others have already announced and switched over completely to Valorant.

A big reason behind Valorant’s soaring popularity is that it managed to win over the FPS gaming community during its closed beta launch. Riot Games used the streaming platform, Twitch to its fullest by enabling random key drops to the viewers of the streamers playing the beta. This particular move soared the viewer count of popular streamers trying out the game.

One of the most popular Valorant players, Cloud9’s Tyson “TenZ” Ngo announced his transition to Valorant (from CS:GO) while it was still in beta which shook up the entire community. TenZ : “I’ve decided to go pro because when I was playing the beta, I realized I haven’t had as much fun as I was having in a long time. Although it might be seen as risky to switch games, I feel that the future of this game is very bright. I will no longer be playing CS: GO while I am playing Valorant professionally.” TenZ has also said that his plan is to go forward and assemble the best team relatively soon. “I hope to see a pro scene similar to the League of Legends structure and compete at a world-class level.”- he explains later.

Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom, former professional CS: GO player, also known as the “one-tap god” in the community has also transitioned over to Valorant which came to the whole community as a shock because he was a star player of CS: GO and had been on the active roster of various organizations like G2 and EnvyUs in the past. Unlike TenZ, he did not change to Valorant abruptly, he took his decision after investing a lot more time.

The general reason for most of the players is that CS: GO is not as fun as it used to be. To be very particular, Valve, the developer of CS: GO has not brought anything new to the table which would keep the players interested anymore.

Aside from the topic of why they would leave, another trend which we see here is that most of the transitioning players are from the North American region, and as we all know the North American CS is now going to the dumps except for the very few tier 1 organizations like Cloud9 and Astralis. Recently, 100 Thieves withdrew the roster from the CS: GO scene which was very surprising, in the meanwhile recruiting members for its Valorant team.

While this is all true, there is also a certain portion of the community which believes that the CS: GO pros who are switching to Valorant are doing so because of their career becoming dry and they not being able to perform as they once used to in the game. All that aside, this is also true that the sponsors of the CS: GO organizations are decreasing. This has also resulted in the reduction of competition at the highest level because newer talents are unable to rise up owing to the lack of sponsorships, except for the highest tier organizations like Faze Clan and Fnatic.

One of the biggest reasons why Valorant is attracting more players from CS: GO is that Riot Games, so far, have successfully struck a good balance between quality content creation and conducting major tournaments.

Understandably, CS: GO is losing its viewership because of the over-abundance of tournaments. Veteran players like Summit1g have even issued a warning to Riot through Twitter telling them not to degrade the quality of the game by overrunning the community with tournaments, which was ultimately the reason for the decrease in viewership of CS: GO.

To be very honest, there is very little reason for someone to not switch over to Valorant, because CS: GO in its 8 years since release fails to cater to community-driven requests while Valorant has been doing so from the very beginning like – 128 tick servers, a better anti-cheat system and better integration and optimization with older PC architectures.

One of the major factors, making the CS: GO players shift to Valorant is the sheer volume of cheaters plaguing the game. The Valve Anti-cheat system also known as the VAC bans the account of the player, but after CS: GO going free to play, it is not at all a problem for the cheaters to start a new account and start cheating without any hiccups, while on the other hand, the Riot Vanguard system hardware bans the cheater which means that the cheater would not be able to play the game anymore from that piece of hardware which makes it extremely effective as Valorant is a free to play game available to everyone.

Some of the well known players who switched over to Valorant are :

  1. Mixwell

First S-tier CS: GO organization – Optic gaming

Last known CS: GO organization– Cloud9

Milestones– Winner of American Minor Championship, Cologne 2016; Winner of Northern Arena 2016, Montreal; Winner of E LEAGUE Season 2; The second runner’s up at Intel Extreme Masters 7- Sydney; Winner of DreamHack Open Valencia, 2018

Current Valorant Organisation 
– G2 Esports

Currently, as it stands, Mixwell has won all the Valorant tournaments he has ever participated in.

2. ScreaM


First S-tier CS: GO organization – Titan

Last known CS: GO organization -Team GamerLegion

Milestones – Winner of ESL Major Series One, Summer 2013;  Winner of ESL Major Series One, Fall 2013; Second runner’s up of DreamHack Winter 2013; Winner of Gaming Paradise 2015; Winner of Esports Championship Series Season 1; Winner of DreamHack Open Atlanta,2017

Current Valorant Organisation – Team Liquid

 

3. Hiko



First S-tier CS: GO Organisation – compLexity Gaming

Last known CS: GO Organisation – Team Rogue

Milestones – Winner of ESEA Global Finals Season 12; Second runner’s up of DreamHack Winter 2013; Winner ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2; Runner’s up at ESL: One Cologne, 2016

Current Valorant Organisation– 100Thieves

 

4. TenZ

First S-tier CS: GO Organisation – Cloud9

Last known CS: GO Organisation –  ATK

Milestones – Winner of Strong Legs Cup #2; Winner of Mythic Cup #2; Current Valorant

Organisation – Cloud9;

 

5. Wardell

 

First S-tier CS: GO Organisation –  Team Rogue

Last known CS: GO Organisation – Ghost Gaming

Milestones – Winner of Flashpoint Season 1; Winner of NSG Eastern Conference Championship 2018

Current Valorant Organisation – Team Solo Mid

 

As discussed earlier, Riot Games and the Gaming community, so far, are maintaining the balance between competition and content creation. This is the reason behind the rise in viewership of various content creators on both Twitch and YouTube.

Richard Tyler Blevins aka ‘Ninja’

There are various streamers, previously unheard of, whose viewership of late, has sky-rocketed with Valorant’s rising popularity.

Jonas Navaresete aka Average Jonas is an ex Esports player and also an opera singer. After moving back to Norway, he started streaming Valorant to millions of people. In the world of Valorant streaming, he is one of the most iconic players to build his reputation. His popularity is mainly because of his playstyle, which even some of the pros try to reciprocate.

Kimani White aka Flights is one of the fastest-growing content creators in the Valorant streaming community and on YouTube. His growth is exceptional- he gained over 200,000 subscribers with over 6 million views within three months. He is well known among the Valorant community for his Raze plays and the trick shots.

Chris Irvine aka Flexinja is a streamer who was into streaming games like Fortnite and Black Squad, but his exceptional gaming and skills in Valorant have made him one of the best players in the Valorant streaming community. He was one of the very first people to play a character in a way that no one could imagine or think of.

These examples show us what Valorant has offered and will be offering in the form of opportunities to the content creators unlike CS: GO, which has already saturated itself with all the tournaments as discussed earlier. Most of the well established CS: GO streamers themselves complain that after playing the game for over a decade and being in that particular community for so long, they somewhat hate the game at this stage as Valve is really not doing anything to save one of the most iconic games in video game history.

However, we still see millions of players logging into CS: GO every single day despite the ever rising popularity of Valorant. So, to all the CS: GO fans and supporters out there, who are reading this: don’t be worried, CS: GO is not going anywhere, you will still be able to cheer and support your favorite superstars either on CS: GO platform itself or elsewhere, playing a different game. Never stop supporting them, they are superstars because we choose them to be. GLHF.

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