With rumours of imports swirling, Emir “rhyme” Muminovic is officially the first European import to North America. Have the floodgates opened?

Rumors have been swirling that VALORANT is getting truly international rosters. Just a few days ago, we saw European players imported to Southeast Asia. But North America has always been the hotbed for imports. With high buyouts for North American players, NA organizations have begun looking elsewhere. Today, former Ninjas in Pyjamas player Emir "rhyme" Muminovic joined Gen.G and became the first European import to North America.

A look at rhyme's career

Rhyme has been active in the European scene since VALORANT's beta, primarily with NIP. In 2020, NIP established themselves as the gatekeepers of the top of Europe - they couldn't quite challenge the best, but they were consistently top 6.

2021 wasn't as kind to NIP. They struggled in the VALORANT Champions Tour. They qualified for the regional Masters 1, finishing 5th-6th, but wouldn't achieve those heights for the rest of the year. Rhyme himself mostly played duelists, albeit a more supportive style while allowing players such as Yaroslav "Jady" Nikolaev to contribute firepower as well.

Rhyme now joins Gen.G, a team whose roles are very in flux. They've shown potential throughout North America, though, and could make it to the top from here. Rhyme is directly replacing Michael "MkaeL" De Luca, but many players on Gen.G are flexible with roles, so rhyme could end up playing anything.

Have the import floodgates opened?

Rhyme's signing raises bigger implications across the scene as a whole. In games such as League of Legends, North America is known as the region that imports talent, and constantly pushes for import restrictions to be more lax. Rhyme is the first European import to North America in VALORANT, but he likely won't be the last. It seems likely that his former NIP teammate, Adam "ec1s" Eccles, will be heading to 100 Thieves. Meanwhile, world champion Mehmet Yağız "cNed" İpek's contract is up, and he's also rumored to be exploring North American options.

With European talent also being imported to Southeast Asia, it's clear that VALORANT is becoming a global game.

Whether we see more imports this offseason or not, players like rhyme have set a precedent for future moves to follow.

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