The Korean superstar lineup, formed by former undefeated Asian VALORANT titans in Vision Strikers, struggled throughout 2022 to finally make a name for themselves at the international level. But in Champions 2022, the early playoff collapse never came. DRX would finish third, punctuated by two wins over Copenhagen champion FPX, and came within a couple of rounds of beating OpTic and reaching the grand final.
DRX’s dominant duo is BuZz and MaKo. BuZzz can be as lethal in the Jett/Chamber and Operator combo as Derke or yay and plays with a fierce fearlessness that seems almost unstoppable at times. MaKo is the team’s reliable anchor in control; there is almost no other player in the world I would want as the last line of defense when defending a spot.
Fnatic kept its championship-level core together after the end of its 2022 run: the heart and soul of the team in Boaster, the impressive Operator in Derke, and a dynamic rising star in Alfajer. Success is practically a given with these three, but Fnatic is building on that with two stellar acquisitions.
Leo is one of the most impactful and intelligent starting players Fnatic could have gotten. He led all players at Copenhagen Masters in a kill-assist-survive-survive-switch rating of 79% and was one of the hardest players to kill. Chronicle is a certified playmaker, someone who can produce numerous rounds of various kills and should thrive as a flex option for Fnatic.
C9 won the big offseason sweepstakes by securing the services of VALORANT’s most prolific star player, Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker. Yay will fit seamlessly into a proven C9 core of vanity, Xeppaa, and leaf; aside from the former OpTic trio heading to NRG, no other group in the VCT Americas league has been playing with each other longer.
The value yay brings is obvious: he is smart, accurate, and lethal. But the C9 move that deserves the most attention is the signing of Zellsis. He’s a dynamic flex player who can fill a plethora of roles and roles, make plays and even provide a secondary shot in the round.
Only two questions remain: how will Coach mCe manage to coach a team with high expectations after successfully leading the development of The Guard? And if Chamber nerfs are looming, is C9 the most susceptible to a downturn?
- 100 Thieves: The 100T coaching staff built a young and talented squad from scratch, then made a major upgrade in duelist by grabbing Cryocells from the free agent pile.
- Sentinels: One of VALORANT’s most talked-about orgs embarks on an ambitious project for 2023: former XSET duo zekken and dephh, and former LOUD duo pancada and Sacy surround superstar TenZ.
- LOUD: The reigning champions are back with their title-winning and proven trio of aspas, Less and saadhak.
- Team Liquid: A proven duo in former M3C members nAts and Redgar join a prolific duelist in Liquid, Sayf, along with retained players soulcas and Jamppi.
- Paper Rex: One of APAC’s star squads may have faded away at the end of what was a superb 2022 campaign, but the entire team returns for a fresh start in 2023.
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