Many players will be making their VALORANT international debuts at Champions. We rundown the seven you should have your eye on.

We’ve all heard the names TenZ, nAts, and cNed. They’re VALORANT’s superstars, the best of the best who’ve proven that they can beat not just teams from their region, but teams from across the globe. For four teams and even more players coming into VALORANT Champions, though, it will be their first time on the international stage. Who are some new names that VALORANT fans should be on the lookout for?

πŸ‡°πŸ‡· Son “xeta” Seon-ho – Cloud9 Blue

Key Stats, Results, and Facts:

  • First professional VALORANT player to swap regions; played in Korea in 2020
  • 3rd place: VCT Stage 2 North America
  • 1st place: Champions Last Chance Qualifier North America
  • 1.21 Kill/Death Ratio – NA LCQ
  • 0.34 Assists per Round – NA LCQ

You could argue that xeta has played across the globe, as throughout 2020 he played in Korea. Ever since coming to North America, though, he’s proven himself as a valuable asset for Cloud9.

xeta almost exclusively plays Sova for C9B, and his stats reflect that role. Throughout the North American Last Chance Qualifier, he tied for the highest K/D over the event, at 1.21, and also posted one of the highest APRs.

Xeta has always had huge impact, and now will get a chance to show it on the world stage. It will also be neat to see him match up against some of his old Korean teammates, as Cloud9 have been drawn into the same group as Vision Strikers.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Nathan “leaf” Orf – Cloud9 Blue

Key Stats, Results, and Facts:

  • 3rd place: VCT Stage 2 North America
  • 1st place: Champions Last Chance Qualifier North America
  • 253.6 Average Combat Score – NA LCQ
  • 0.23 First Kills per Round – NA LCQ

If xeta’s value comes from his Sova tricks and supportive play, leaf is all damage. Taking up the Jett role for C9 over the last few months, he’s proven himself as the equal of stars like Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk at the top of North America. Leaf put up the highest ACS of all players in the NA LCQ, 254, as well as the second-highest FKPR, 0.23, and the second-highest Kills per Round, 0.85.

Facing the world’s best duelists in Berlin, leaf will have to take it one step further and prove that he can continue his good performances and match up against everyone at VALORANT Champions.

πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺ Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom – Team Liquid

Key Stats, Results, and Facts:

  • EU Last Chance Qualifier was his first professional VALORANT tournament
  • Aced in his first round of pro VALORANT
  • Has not lost a VALORANT tournament yet
  • 1st place: EU LCQ
  • 1st place: Red Bull Home Ground #2
  • 1.38 K/D – all time

When Nivera swapped from CS:GO to VALORANT, we all knew he’d be good. Top-tier Counter-Strike players have pretty reliably done well after transitioning. What we didn’t expect, though, was how quickly he got there. Nivera aced in his first round of professional play, and kept it up to take Team Liquid from mediocre to the hottest team in the world.

As a support player, Nivera’s statistics belie the impact he really has. His 1.38 K/D is among the best in Europe, while Liquid’s trajectory before and after he joined speaks for itself. Prior to Nivera joining, Liquid had a disappointing Stage 3, taking two tries to qualify for Challengers Playoffs and there being one of the last teams eliminated before Berlin. After, though, Liquid solidly won the EMEA Last Chance Qualifier, and also won Red Bull Home Ground #2 against almost all of Europe’s best teams. Nivera is certainly one to watch in Berlin.

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· Leonardo “mwzera” Serrati – Vivo Keyd

Key Stats, Results, and Facts:

  • Lead Gamelanders to dominate Brazil in 2020
  • 307.5 ACS – Stage 1 Masters Brazil
  • 320.7 ACS – Stage 2 Challengers Finals Brazil

There was a time when mwzera was far and away the best player in Brazil. The former semi-professional Rainbow Six: Siege player lit the region up in 2020, as he led Gamelanders to be their dominant team. He was named the MVP of First Strike Brazil, one of the many tournaments Gamelanders won that year.

In 2020 though, it’s been rougher for Gamelanders. The emergence of teams such as Team Vikings and Vivo Keyd has pushed them further and further back. Mwzera’s statistics were among the best in Brazil most of the year – he topped the ACS charts in the region in both Stage 1 and 2, posting over 300 each time. Recently he’s been shifting to a support role, causing his stats to drop as a result. This will help him nicely in Germany, however.

mwzera will be filling in for Lucas “ntk” Martins at VALORANT Champions. He’ll likely not be playing duelists, and rather taking up the Sova role. This will be completely new for him, and it’ll be interesting to see how one of the world’s best aimers adapts to the position.

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· Alexandre “xand” Zizi – FURIA

Key Stats, Results, and Facts:

  • 3rd place: Stage 2 Challengers Playoffs Brazil
  • 3rd place: Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs Brazil
  • 1st place: South America LCQ
  • 169.9 Average Damage per Round – SA LCQ
  • 0.20 FKPR – SA LCQ
VALORANT champions who to watch out for - Xand
xand at the South American Last Chance Qualifier. Image via VALORANT Esports Brazil on Twitter.

xand is in a very similar position to mwzera. In 2020 and early 2021, he was one of the stars of the region. He was the classic aggressive, aimgod Jett player, helping first B4 eSports and then FURIA to success. Throughout 2020, though, FURIA found that their aim-duel playstyle could only take them so far, and they were the last team eliminated from both Masters Reykjavik and Masters Berlin contention.

xand has a few more things going for him, though. First of all, he’s a former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro with lots of LAN and even major experience. And secondly, he doesn’t have to plug-and-play into an existing team, swapping roles in the process. Rather, fresh off an LCQ win, FURIA are on a hot streak, and xand as their experienced Jett contributed a lot. He posted 230 ACS, the second-highest ADR at 169.9, and the third-highest first kill percentage, 0.20, while being the team’s leader.

πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡­ Chanawin “JohnOlsen” Nakchain and πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡­ Kititkawin “PTC” Rattanasukol – FULL SENSE

Key Stats, Results and Facts: JohnOlsen

  • 2nd place: Stage 2 Challengers Finals Southeast Asia
  • 1st place: SEA LCQ
  • 259.8 ACS – SEA LCQ
  • 166.9 ADR – SEA LCQ
  • 0.90 Kills per Round – SEA LCQ

Key Stats, Results and Facts: PTC

  • 2nd place: Stage 2 Challengers Finals Southeast Asia
  • 1st place: SEA LCQ
  • 266.9 ACS – SEA LCQ
  • 169.7 ADR – SEA LCQ
  • 0.92 Kills per Round – SEA LCQ

These last two players will be grouped together, but for good reason: JohnOlsen and PTC dominated every aspect of the APAC Last Chance Qualifier. They’re 1 and 2 in ACS, ADR and KPR, and place second and fourth in K/D. FULL SENSE came into this event expected to be one of the worst squads there, but they clearly proved that wrong.

PTC deserves special mention as he’s not a duelist player. JohnOlsen is the team’s Jett, and posts excellent stats to reflect that. But PTC plays agents like KAY/O, Breach, and Skye, and posted better stats than even his duelist counterparts.

There’s not much more exciting than new players coming out of the woodwork to dominate the competition, and it will be very interesting to see how JohnOlsen and PTC match up in Berlin.


VALORANT Champions Berlin begins on December 1st. Stay tuned to Esports.gg for the latest VALORANT news and updates.

Shawn

Shawn "Germanicus" Heerema

Writer of the Month: August | Twitter: @GermanicusCVIII

A writer from Niagara, Canada, Shawn covers VALORANT, League of Legends, and PUBG. He previously wrote for THESPIKE.GG and is a journalism student at Ryerson University. He has also been accredited press for Worlds 2021 and VALORANT Champions.