100 Thieves made major changes to its VALORANT roster last week, signing CS:GO star Nick “nitr0” Cannella and parting ways with its four former PUBG pros in the process. Now the team, led by captain Spencer “Hiko” Martin, is in rebuilding mode—and the expectations are certainly high.
The team has everything in the making to be one of VALORANT’s more exciting storylines. An arc that begins with disappointment, journeys through change and growth, and—potentially—ends in success. But with so much left to prove, all eyes are on them.
100 Thieves’ competitive debut got off to a rocky start, failing to get out of the group stage in the FaZe Clan and PAX Arena Invitationals. When the first roster was initially created, “things felt good and we did our best to make it work,” Hiko told Dot Esports.
“Unfortunately,” the captain said, “didn’t really gel as a team and I think the results showed.”
Their early struggles, according to Hiko, were due to a disregard of individual playstyles. The focus was more on the best agent combinations and lineups, fitting everyone around that and failing to string together the consistency needed to be successful at the pro level.
A change needed to be made. And nitr0 entered the VALORANT scene at the perfect time.
The former Team Liquid player wasn’t planning on pursuing VALORANT, instead looking to continue his CS:GO career on another team. But after not finding the right opportunities and “having a lot of fun” with Riot’s tactical shooter, nitr0 made the decision to switch.
“It’s not fun when you’re not learning stuff,” nitr0 told Dot Esports. “[In CS] we're just doing the same exact strats every day, the same exact positions on CT side, defaulting. It's not fun. And VALORANT is like open world for me right now. The sky's the limit and that's just what I enjoy right now.”
Nitr0 signing with 100 Thieves made perfect sense. Hiko and nitr0 played on Liquid together for a year and a half and they’ve “always gotten along,” according to the team captain. And team chemistry aside, nitr0’s role as an in-game leader takes “a lot of weight off [the team’s] shoulders” since it’s “probably the most important role,” Hiko said.
Building a team around two esteemed veterans provides a great foundation. While 100 Thieves is “in talks with some people,” it seems like both players are taking a slow and methodical approach in who they round out the roster with.
“We are definitely taking things slower just because I think the expectation is definitely there that we want to be a winning team, we need to be a winning team, and we're going to take as much time within reason as we can to make sure we have a roster that can perform at the highest level,” Hiko said.
Both players are flexible and willing to adjust their playstyles depending on the three other signings. Nitr0, for example, says he’ll likely play a “filler role” and feels he “probably would have the most impact” as a support character. But he’s also been practicing the Operator a little bit, despite having no desire to be the “star IGL AWPer.”
And Hiko envisions himself on one of two ends of the spectrum.
“I can play the Raze main that goes for high kill count, high octane, gas pedal down, and go crazy,” Hiko said. “[In the beta] people thought I was one of the better Breach’s that had the mechanics down. So I could also go a more support role depending on how our roster shapes up.”
As for where 100 Thieves is looking for the remaining pieces, nitr0 believes it would be “really ignorant” to only look at CS players. And with both players granted the opportunity to build a roster from scratch, there are specific intangibles that future teammates need to have.
“We’re looking more for players that would fit certain roles,” nitr0 said. “And also obviously having good comms and attitude is the number one priority in my opinion for having a long-term roster, instead of just having a fragger who just has a toxic attitude that you’ll eventually just cut.”
Since time isn't a huge factor, there’s no set ETA on when this revamped roster will be complete. But with two FPS vets and plenty of talent to choose from, 100 Thieves’ story is far from over.