Valorant has been a highly anticipated team-based tactical shooter game since first being announced under secretive name ‘Project A’ in October 2019. The internet was abound with speculation, excitement and even scepticism. Fast forward to 7th April 2020 and the closed beta was open with 3 million daily players and people scrabbling for an access code via drops. Many have described it as the baby of CS:GO and Overwatch since then. The format and mechanics being similar to CS:GO, plus a variety of characters with abilities and ultimates similar to Overwatch.
Professional players in gaming have a relatively short career in comparison to many other career types. As a result of this players have to keep their skills, reactions and careers fresh to remain relevant. It’s no surprise that over the course of 2020 players from the Overwatch League (OWL) have been flocking to Valorant in a modern day Gold Rush to make their mark and find a place in the still-forming professional scene.
Dominating the game
‘Sinatraa’ and ‘Corey’ are great examples of players who dominated their field within OWL and as such after a certain amount of success had hit their ceiling within the game.. Sinatraa was a flex DPS/tank player for San Francisco Shock and demonstrated his abilities with particularly impressive Zarya plays and aim tracking. Most notably in Season 2 of OWL he won the Championship league title, regular season MVP, World Cup title and World Cup MVP. After winning so many awards and being part of a top team in OWL it’s hard to know what more Sinatraa could have gotten out of his experience. Sinatraa retired from OWL 28th April 2020 and announced his signing to Valorant team Sentinels the following day.
joined @Sentinels for VALORANT
— Jay Won (@sinatraa) April 29, 2020
Corey’s story isn’t quite so decorated with awards, though his skills within the OWL should not go unnoticed. His stand-out talent was his incredible aim with his signature heroes being Widowmaker and McCree, it’s just unfortunate for him that Washington Justice was not a winning team like the Shock were leaving his talents unrewarded. It’s understandable Corey wanted to leave OWL to showcase his abilities in a game that relies on aim and flickshots. Corey retired from OWL 8th May 2020 and signed with FaZe Clan to play on their Valorant team 25th June 2020.
ayyy excited to be apart of the fam!! FAZEUP BABYYYY https://t.co/A5Z3hbFGdH
— FaZe corey (@Corey_OW) June 25, 2020
‘Babybay’ and ‘Rawkus’ were veterans within Overwatch having climbed to high ranks in the game from day one and beginning their competitive play during OWL’s infancy. Unsurprisingly, they decided to make the move to fresher pastures and the new opportunities of Valorant. Babybay was a hitscan DPS player for SF Shock from 2017-19 and Atlanta Reign from 2019-20. He had also played CS:GO professionally in the past prior to being banned for cheating. His ‘hitscan’ plays were consistently good, though nothing that sparked jaw-dropping moments like Corey and Sinatraa. Unfortunately, a lot of his time on SF Shock was spent on the bench due to the meta. Naturally, he wanted to make the switch to Valorant given his aim and familiarity with shooters and ultimately the need to mix things up. Babybay retired from Overwatch on 17th July 2020 and joined Corey on FaZe Clan on 4th August 2020.
Meet the 4th member of our Professional Valorant Roster…
Welcome to FaZe Clan, @KING_BABYBAY
— FaZe Clan (@FaZeClan) August 4, 2020
Rawkus was a decent off-healer as part of Houston Outlaws playing heroes that mostly required strong aiming skills such as Ana and Zenyatta. Similar to Babybay, he performed consistently well but never had moments that were shocking to viewers and quite often would get overshadowed by other supports in his team who played similar heroes. Some may find it strange that a support player would switch to Valorant. However, in a tweet announcing his departure from Overwatch he explains that he grew up with games like CS:GO and that Valorant caught his attention. Rawkus retired from Overwatch on 1st August 2020 and signed with FaZe on 5th August 2020
Thank You, Overwatch
— FaZe Rawkus (@Rawkus) August 1, 2020
There have been many other players who have left the Overwatch scene in favour of Valorant due to the popularity of the game and players wanting to be in on the ground floor of something new. As of writing Valorant is consistently drawing more viewers than Overwatch on Twitch showing that Valorant is definitely not struggling for interest. Certainly our attention will remain fixed on this evolving situation to see who comes out as winners and losers.