The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

Givens: Breaking down the heroes and villains of Valorant 2023

David Jiang, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Fans watch the first match of Valorant Champions 2023 played between Team Liquid and Natus Vincere on Aug. 6 at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.

Riot Games hosted the third annual Valorant Champions tournament, the culmination of the Valorant Champions Tour and competitive season, last month in Los Angeles. With 11,500 in-person attendees, 1.3 million viewers online and the surprising celebrity appearances of billionaire Elon Musk and Hollywood star Ben Affleck, there was nothing but high stakes as 16 of the top Valorant teams from across the globe battled it out for a chance to win a staggering $1 million and be crowned this year’s world champions.

In an electrifying grand finals, North American team Evil Geniuses defeated Pacific League powerhouse Paper Rex (PRX) 3-1 to win the highly coveted Champions Trophy and title.

EG’s ascent to victory followed a legendary arc as the team rose from zeroes to heroes to villains. With a rough start in the competitive year at Valorant Champions Tour LOCK//IN, finishing ninth-16th, the team faced even more difficulties in the inaugural season of the VCT Americas League with a 1-5 match record.

The lack of star players in the starting roster and coach Christine “Potter” Chi’s bumpy start in a male-dominated competitive scene made EG the subject of intense criticism. With the team’s reputation and Potter’s position as head coach in jeopardy, time was running short to reshape those consecutive losses into triumphs.

EG utilizes not only a main squad but also a five-man reserve roster, an unusual tactic adopted by no other organization in the Valorant scene. Miraculously, this strategy proved to be the answer for EG’s stabilization, as one of the reserve players, Max “Demon1” Mazanov, rose to the starting roster. This pivotal addition, alongside Potter’s resilience, marked the birth of EG’s heroic journey, defying all expectations to become the runner-up at Masters Tokyo and the eventual victors of Champions Los Angeles. 

This monumental win is nothing short of historic. On top of being the first North American team to attain the Champions title, Potter became the first female coach to win a Valorant world championship and a major esports championship. But her legacy in esports didn’t start there.

Potter is a trailblazer for women in esports. She began playing Counter-Strike in 2005 and won the Women’s Electronic Sports World Cup five times between 2007 and 2012.

In recent years, we have seen a heightened effort in bridging the gender gap in esports in events such as Valorant Game Changers, but victories like Potter’s are a crucial aspect in dismantling those societal barriers and granting others – not exclusively men – a chance in the limelight of the upper echelons of esports. 

After rising from the ashes of intense scrutiny, EG surged to the forefront of acclaim and cemented themselves as a North American behemoth – a force to be reckoned with for the VCT 2024 season. But alongside the success stories of Valorant Champions 2023, there were some not-so-fairytale endings.

Despite PRX’s second-place finish, its highest placement yet in the greatest international competition for the 5v5 tactical shooter, this tournament marked the last for player Wang “Jinggg” Jing Jie. The team is soon to part ways with Jinggg following his enlistment for two-year military service, a requirement for all Singaporean men aged 18 years and above. PRX, notorious for its forceful and carefree “W gaming” playstyle, previously won VCT Pacific and placed third at Masters Tokyo. With Jinggg’s essential role in the team’s current success, his absence sadly leaves behind uncertainty for fans as to what PRX will look like heading into the 2024 season.

Despite the impending ambiguity, Jinggg simply wants everyone on the team to have an unforgettable time, regardless of the outcome. 

In a post-match press conference, Jinggg said, “As long as everyone is happy, I’m happy. Just want to have a happy tournament. We’ve already exceeded our expectations, and we’re in the Grand Finals, so honestly for me, it doesn’t matter if we win or lose.”

Amongst the upsets are the losses of fan-favorite teams such as Europe’s finest FNATIC and the Brazilian superteam LOUD. FNATIC was on a mission to acquire a third trophy after being the first team to win two VCT international events. Unfortunately, the Masters Tokyo and LOCK//IN champs fell short of the finale, finishing fourth. Owing to its 2022 Champions win, formidable fanbase and impressive 2023 VCT season, it was no surprise LOUD would be a top contender for this year’s championship as well, but it missed its opportunity in a devastating loss to EG in the lower bracket final. 

From the valiant triumphs and heartbreaking losses, Valorant Champions 2023 proved to be a tournament packed with endless suspense and unparalleled moments. With Champions marking the end of the 2023 VCT competitive season, fans and viewers are left with questions as to what the 2024 season will have in store. Will EG persist as new domineering villains, or will teams like PRX, LOUD or FNATIC rise to the occasion and further shape the competitive scene?

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Isabella Givens, Staff Writer
Isabella Givens is a junior from Boyle. She is an avid power napper who enjoys reading while listening to her unorganized Spotify playlist of Laufey, Red Velvet and the Strokes. While at MSMS, she hopes to nurture her love for math and cross off all the films on her and her roommate's movies-to-watch list.

Comments (1)

Comments in response to Vision articles are moderated and will only be approved if they meet editorial policy standards. A verifiable email address and name are required, and personal attacks are not allowed.
All The Vision Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • E

    Ean ChoiSep 19, 2023 at 10:33 am

    I love this article! But when does SEN play?