When VALORANT went into beta in early 2020, there was an immediate interest in the game’s competitive potential from both esports organizations and professional players alike.
Many teams started their recruitment efforts as early as April before Riot had even released the full game. Players from around the world made the jump over to VALORANT even earlier than that, participating in beta tournaments on behalf of various unsigned teams in a bid to make their name known as future stars.
Over the past several months, the dust has started to settle in the American scene, and the contenders for best initial VALORANT teams in the North American region are starting to emerge. Here are the current top five VALORANT teams competing in North America based off of their competition results so far.
TSM signed the entirety of their VALORANT roster on May 22. The team consisted of five former CS:GO professional players, including Taylor “drone” Johnson, Matthew “WARDELL” Yu, Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik, Stephen “reltuC” Cutler, and James “hazed” Cobb. The tactical shooter veterans brought with them many years of competitive experience, which started paying off for TSM immediately as they entered VALORANT as arguably the best team in North America so far.
They started out by winning smaller events like the Counter Logic Gaming - Blitz Cup #2 tournament online and the Immortals First Light tournament, both of which took place in May. At the end of May, TSM defeated T1 in the grand finals of the T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown to earn their first win at an A-Tier VALORANT event. They followed up that victory with a rocky July but found their stride once again in August, when they won the A-Tier FaZe Clan Invitational tournament, defeating Sentinels in a 3-2 grand final series.
On top of winning those A-Tier events, TSM also won or placed highly at various B-tier events like the Pittsburgh Knights Invitational Gauntlet Series and the 30Bomb: Summer Cup - 2020. Their consistent ability to win events definitely sets TSM apart from the less consistent and less successful teams. For now, at least, TSM’s VALORANT squad is the team to beat.
Sentinels were one of the earliest organizations to throw down the gauntlet in VALORANT. They made huge waves in the esports scene by signing the Overwatch League MVP Jay “Sinatraa” Won to their VALORANT roster in the middle of the 2020 OWL season. Sinatraa was joined by former CS:GO professionals Shahzeeb “ShahZaM” Khan, Jared “zombs” Gitlin, and former Apex Legends player Hunter “SicK” Mims. In June, Sentinels completed their roster by signing former CS:GO pro Michael “dapr” Gulino.
Since finalizing their inaugural roster, Sentinels have played very well. They started off with a disappointing quarterfinal finish at the T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown, but they were able to follow it up with wins at the Pax Arena Invitational, 30Bomb:Summer Cup - 2020, and the Pop Flash VALORANT tournament. They also managed to earn second place at the FaZe Clan Invitational after losing the grand final match to TSM.
Some doubted Sentinels’ decision to pick up players from Overwatch and Apex Legends, rather than just sticking to hardened CS:GO professionals. But Sentinels have proven that you can build a strong VALORANT team by drawing upon a variety of esports talent pools. The best VALORANT players are not determined by what they did in the past, only where they are heading in the future. If their excellent start is anything to just by, Sentinels are heading straight to the top.
Cloud9 revealed the first member of their VALORANT roster on April 12, announcing the signing of Tyson “TenZ” Ngo. They were relatively silent after that, until June when they announced that Skyler “Relyks” Weaver had joined the team. In July, they signed Mitch “mitch” Semago and in-game leader Josh “Shinobi” Abastado. Finally, the team completed their roster in August by bringing on Daniel “vice” Kim. All the players Cloud9 signed had a background in Counter-Strike.
Coached by Ash “Chu” Long, this team has shown consistent success and results over their first few months operating. They may not be the very best team in North America, but they are definitely in the top five. They ended up placing third at the Pop Flash tournament, NSG x Renegade Invitational, and the Pittsburgh Knights Invitational Gauntlet Series. Even before signing their full roster the team found success at a variety of B-tier tournaments, winning the Elite Esports - Rivalry Bowl North America in May, and placing second at the Pulse Invitational and the Pax Arena Invitational.
It’s early in VALORANT’s game cycle, and things can change quickly in esports, but right now Cloud9 is fielding one of the strongest teams around. We will have to wait and see how they stack up at the bigger events over the next year.
Gen.G signed their all-French-Canadian VALORANT roster on May 4. Their initial lineup consisted of Keven “PLAYER1” Champagne, Danny “huynh” Huynh, Michael ” MkaeL” De Luca, Anthony “gMd” Guimond, and Loic “effys” Sauvageau. Like Cloud9, this roster is made up entirely of former CS:GO players. In the early days of VALORANT’s competitive scene, this team has put on some great performances and shown promise in Riot’s latest shooter.
They started off by winning the B-tier T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Invitational, which was played on the beta build of the game. They were then the winners of the Counter Logic Gaming - Blitz Cup #2, following the release of the full game. Since then they have put on some good performances and some not-so-good performances. They struggled at the T1 X Nerd Street Gamers Showdown, which was VALORANT’s first A-tier event in North America. But they were able to pull it together to defeat Cloud9 and win the Pulse Invitational in July. Finally, they placed a respectable top-four finish at FaZe Clan Invitational.
Although they have had some disappointing finishes, including dropping in the quarterfinals at the Pop Flash online Tournament, they have shown they are capable of defeating some of the top ranked teams in North America, and could very well hit their stride as the VALORANT scene comes into its own.
Immortals entered VALORANT in May, revealing their first four players. They have gone through some roster adjustments since then. Their current squad is headed-up by Mongolian super-star player Amgalan “Genghsta” Nemekhbayar and he is backed by Noah “jcStani” Smith, Jason “neptune” Tran, Jason “jmoh” Mohandessi, and Andrew “ShoT_UP” Orlowski. They are coached by former Los Angeles Valiant assistant coach Jordan “Gunba” Graham.
Although they have not yet won a high-tier event yet, Immortals have still demonstrated the skills needed to be one of the best VALORANT teams in America and earned high placements at various events. They came in third at the T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown, and third at the smaller Immortals First Light event, both of which took place in June. They managed to once again nab third at the FaZe Clan invitational, where they were eliminated by Sentinels.
The team hit a rough patch in mid to late-August, placing fifth to sixth at both the Pop Flash and at the Pittsburg Knights Invitational Gauntlet Series. After the rough two tournaments, the team saw three members leave for other VALORANT rosters. After replacing those players on Oct. 13, there was some doubt about whether the new team had the skills to pay the bills. Tthose doubts were put to rest when they ranked second to Andbox at the NGS x Renegades Invitational on Oct. 18 using their updated roster.