Although VALORANT is still in its closed beta phase, that does not stop many prominent esports organisations from trying to get themselves ahead of the curve and start assembling their own professional VALORANT roster, in a bid to have it ready once Riot Games' tactical first-person shooter releases in summer of 2020.
Only a week after the game was announced in March, the three-time League of Legends world champions T1 became the first esports organisation to sign a player for VALORANT in former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro Braxton "Braxton" Pierce.
It did not take long until CS:GO pro players and esports athletes from other esports titles started considering joining the hype and transition into VALORANT. One of the biggest and most shocking transitions to VALORANT to date was Jay "sinatraa" Won, who is the reigning Overwatch World Cup and Overwatch League champion, as well as 2019 OWL MVP. Sinatraa ended up joining Sentinels, where he will play alongside Shahzeeb "ShaZaM" Khan, Hunter "SicK" Mims and Jared "zombs" Gitlin.
It was revealed that Gen.G have also been in talks for sinatraa, but were unable to close the deal. Nonetheless, they went another route with their assembly of a VALORANT roster with the signing of an all-Canadian lineup consisting of prospects who previously competed in Counter-Strike. Unlike most other organisations, who were rushing to sing a lineup of well-established esports athletes, Gen.G opted for a different approach, as explained by Gen.G COO Arnold Hur.
"Our main focus when identifying the right VALORANT team was to find players who are hungry to grow as a team and already possess the proper fundamentals required for a tactical shooter game," said Mr Hur.
"It was less important for us to go with widely known, big names from other games since we expect the meta in VALORANT to change more frequently than other current FPS games. We believe a dominant team could easily fall off with each meta shift if they are not prepared to put in the time and effort required to adapt. Player adaptability and eagerness to learn were major factors in our search."
As revealed by Gen.G this Monday, their VALORANT roster will consist of Keven "PLAYER1" Champagne, Anthony "gMd" Guimond, Loic "effys" Sauvageau, Danny "huynh" Huynh and Michael " MkaeL" De Luca.
"We made the jump from [Counter-Strike] to Valorant for a change of pace with a new game, but also because of the accessibility to the Pro League," said PLAYER1.
"With the new rules in the CSGO Pro League, it was increasingly difficult to qualify."
PLAYER1, effys and gMd previously played together at a CS:GO team FRENCH CANADIANS, with gMd and effys continuing their joint adventures at Ghost Academy and most recently reunited at District 7, where they met with huynh and MkaeL.
"We really liked that the development team was pretty up-front with their struggles working in the past with other companies that didn't prioritize esports-related initiatives," said Hur.
"We could clearly see with VALORANT that they worked to build a game from the ground up that considers the competitive scene as a core part of the game itself. What this means for us is that we trust Riot to invest into both the necessary gameplay balances as well as opportunities to support your favourite players and teams in-game."
Gen.G VALORANT roster are currently competing at their first tournament, the T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Invitational, where they reached the grand finals after eliminating Prospects, mouseSpaz and Team brax. The grand finals are slated to be played on Moonday, May 4 at 22:00 PST, where Gen.G and Team brax will duke it out for the largest slice of US $30,000 prize pool.