Representing Canada at Valorant: 4 Players to Watch in the eSports Title

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Grouped under North America, the Canadian eSports scene has seen rapid growth in the past decade. Today, according to this piece on eSports in Canada, Canadian pros have earned up to US$45.48 million (CA$61.29 million) in total. Many prominent eSports professionals today hail from Canada and compete at the highest level across various eSports titles and genres, totalling over 8,700 tournaments.

Within the vast world of eSports, some genres are more popular than others. Today, the first-person shooter (FPS) eSports genre ranks third as the most popular among Canadian eSports fans at 26.2%. One of the most popular and talked-about FPS games available today is Valorant. With a burgeoning eSports scene, Valorant boasts professionals from all over the world. In this post, we’ll look at the four best Canadian Valorant pros to watch out for:

What is Valorant?

Valorant may sound similar to previous FPS titles like Counter-Strike (CS) to the uninitiated. The game shares traits identical to those of its predecessor and competitor by promoting tactical gameplay. Also similar to CS is Valorant’s passionate eSports scene, inviting hundreds and thousands of tournament viewership from around the world and providing an avenue for eSports bettors to participate in the growing community.

According to this Valorant betting guide, developer Riot Games quickly established a growing eSports scene shortly after the game’s release. The official Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) takes players through regional kickoffs and major tournaments called “Masters.” Teams then compete to reach “Champions,” the annual world championship where winning teams are deemed the best in the world.

Representing Canada at Valorant: 4 Players to Watch in the eSports Title

Credit: @valorant on Instagram

Aside from a thriving betting culture, Valorant players aren’t restricted to their regions — much like regular and traditional sports. Teams are known to import talent from all over the world to fill their roster, and many come from Canada. If you’re looking to keep up with the ongoing VCT tournaments, here are some of the Canadian pros you can watch out for:

Tyson “TenZ” Ngo

Formerly a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) player for Cloud9, TenZ is undoubtedly the biggest Canadian name in the Valorant scene today. Upon the game’s release, TenZ was immediately drawn to the competitive side of Valorant and had a thirst to succeed. After a brief stint at Cloud9’s debut Valorant roster, TenZ was picked up by North America’s most popular team, Sentinels, in 2021. Living up to expectations, TenZ helped his new team win a flawless “Masters” run at Reykjavik — the first North American team to lift a trophy at a global VCT event. Today, TenZ remains at Sentinels with an all-new roster as the team gears up for another “Masters” run in Madrid.

Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen

Another prominent Canadian name in the Valorant eSports community is Marved. Like TenZ, he was a CS:GO pro who made the switch to Valorant. With North American team OpTic Gaming, Marved and his teammates also lifted a trophy at a later “Masters” in Reykjavik. In 2023, Marved joined TenZ as part of a struggling Sentinels roster in the hopes of bringing the popular team back to international stages after a two-year slump. Today, he has rejoined former OpTic teammates Victor and Crashies in NRG’s newly formed roster.

Jordan “Ayrin” He

Although Ayrin recently announced his retirement from competitive gaming, he had made a name for himself as a capable in-game leader for another NA team, XSET. Under his in-game leadership, XSET ranked at a notable 5-6th position during Valorant Champions Istanbul in 2022. After leaving XSET, Ayrin joined the Indian team Global Esports but could not deliver similar numbers, finishing eighth in the Pacific League and failing to make it through to international stages. Still, retirement in eSports can be volatile, and we may see more yet to come from the Canadian in-game leader.

Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek

Finally, as mentioned above, retirement can be volatile. Shroud had formerly officially retired from competitive CS:GO in 2018. However, four years later, he took the Internet by storm when he joined Sentinels’ Valorant lineup in a cheeky Twitter announcement. As a prominent streamer in the gaming community, Shroud regularly streamed Valorant and cast VCT matches to impressive viewership. While his short-lived stint with Sentinels ended shortly after the VCT Last Chance Qualifiers, there’s no telling if Shroud will have another venture into competitive gaming on the horizon.

If you found this post useful, you can check out our other posts on the latest in Thunder Bay and Canada, as well as helpful gaming insights and guides like our post on “The Dark Side of Gaming”, where we discuss essential practices to stay healthy while grinding.

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Cathy Elliott is a multi-disciplined Mi’kmaq artist and a proud member of the Indian Brook, Shubenacadie Band. Her screenplay for the documentary “Fill My Hollow Bones” was narrated by her hero, Graham Green. She wrote and directed The Talking Stick, the first all-aboriginal musical in the 47-year history of the Charlottetown Festival. The finale of The Talking Stick was featured at Will and Kate’s Royal Visit to PEI in 2011. A concert version of The Talking Stick was presented at the TRC Halifax. In 2012, She was the Aboriginal Liaison for New World Theatre Project’s The Tempest in Cupids, Newfoundland. She portrayed Ariel as a Beothuk Grandmother, and translated portions of the script into Beothuk and Mi’kmaq. “Fireweeds” her Yukon musical premiered at the Red Barn Theatre and had several productions. Moving Day, her one woman musical, premiered at Talk is Free Theatre and had productions in the inaugural Next Stage Festival, Halifax and Orillia. She is now the Director of Communications for DAREarts, a children's arts organization and the head of their Aboriginal Program.