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Demon1 at VALORANT Champions 2023.
Photo by Colin Young-Wolff via Riot Games

Demon1 reportedly benched by NRG ahead of VCT Americas stage 2

A massive roster swap in the midseason.

Reigning VALORANT world champion and duelist superstar Max “Demon1” Mazanov is reportedly being removed from the starting roster of NRG, with two former faces in Pujan “FNS” Mehta and Sam “s0m” Oh set to return.

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Demon1 will “no longer compete with the organization’s main roster” and will move to the substitute role, according to VALORANT reporter Alejandro “Anonimotum” Gomis. FNS and s0m, who left NRG following the 2023 campaign last year, will reportedly return to the organization and immediately enter the starting lineup. Demon1’s move to the bench would most likely serve as a transitional phase as NRG could begin considering transfer offers.

Demon1 with NRG at VCT Americas
Demon1’s time with NRG is over in a heartbeat. Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games

The move is a surprising one, even given the below-expectations performance from both Demon1 and NRG during the first half of the 2024 season. The team has struggled with Ethan in the in-game leader role, just missing out on Masters Madrid during Kickoff, and then finishing at the bottom of their group in stage one, missing Masters Shanghai.

NRG was already reportedly moving controller player Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen to the bench between stages. With Marved and Demon1 out, the NRG roster would likely feature s0m on controller, FNS returning to the in-game leader role, Ethan reverting to his flex role, and Victor re-emerging as the primary duelist.

Neither NRG nor any of the players have directly confirmed the reported changes, but this move would certainly shake up the VCT landscape and alter NRG’s projections for the season. The team is set to return to the VCT Americas stage for the pivotal stage two on June 22 in a highly anticipated match against Sentinels.

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Image of Scott Robertson
Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.