After decades of dominating the world of competitive shooters, Valve’s Counter-Strike series faced a huge challenge when Riot decided to make their entrance in the genre with Valorant. The tactical shooter garnered the attention of millions of players worldwide even before its actual release on June 2nd.
Needless to say, the launch of Valorant was a huge success and surpassed many expectations. At the same time, the game posed a serious threat to CSGO and its player base, which was slowly starting to shift towards Valorant. This was due to the fact that Riot was offering 128-tick low latency servers, unique gameplay with separate skills for agents, and optimal performance even for low-end systems.
It was only a matter of time before well-known faces in the competitive scene of CSGO were seen making a switch to Riot’s new title. The announcement of Ignition Series showed promising signs for a bright future of Valorant as an esport, which further escalated the trend of CSGO pros moving to Valorant
Today, let’s take a look back at the top 5 professional CSGO players to date who have made the decision to pursue a professional career in Valorant and have proven their skills in both games in front of the world.
Starting the list off with a Counter-Strike legend, not many CSGO players exist today who aren’t familiar with the name of Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom. The 26-year-old has defined the age of professional CS and is renowned for his marksmanship skills in the game. He has been termed as a “headshot machine” by avid fans due to his ability to consistently land headshots without fail. ScreaM was last seen playing for team GamerLegion before he eventually announced his retirement from Counter-Strike on 7th August 2020.
The Belgian started playing Valorant from the closed beta days of the game. He played for team Prodigy during the beta and helped them win a number of trophies. He was picked up by Team Liquid on 7th August and has recently landed a third-place finish at the BLAST Twitch Invitational with the team.
Tyson “TenZ” Ngo is a (now former) professional CSGO player and streamer known for his time with the North American organization Cloud9. The 19-year-old retired from competitive CSGO on April 12th to pursue a career in professional Valorant.
TenZ was signed by Cloud9 for their Valorant roster at the time of his retirement from CSGO. The Canadian pro was the first player to reach the Valorant rank, which is now called Radiant and is the highest rank attainable, during the closed beta phase of the game.
Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella was a celebrated CSGO pro till the day of his retirement from Valve’s shooter. He was a part of Team Liquid’s CSGO roster and landed several first-place finishes in S-tier tournaments including IEM Chicago, ESL One: Cologne 2019, DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019, and others alongside his team.
He switched to professional Valorant and announced his retirement from CSGO after being signed by 100 Thieves on August 14th.
Like TenZ, Ryan “FREAKAZOiD” Abadir is also a loved member of the CSGO community who made a name for himself during his time with Cloud9. The 27-year-old professional player and streamer announced his retirement from CSGO on May 10th this year.
FREAKAZOiD quit the Cloud9 CSGO roster in May 2016. He last played on team Swole Patrol, which had started disbanding prior to his departure. He is still seen streaming on Twitch quite regularly and boasts a follower count of 370k.
Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho is another huge name in competitive CSGO who has made the switch to Valorant. The veteran has been a part of major organizations including Optic Gaming, Cloud9, and G2. After going inactive from CSGO in late 2019, Mixwell made a return in the competitive scene to pursue professional Valorant when he was signed by G2 on June 16th.
Chances are high that the list of players switching from CSGO to pursue careers in Valorant will keep on growing further as the days pass. The active engagement with the community coming from Riot is something that Valve has certainly lacked for many years now, and fans are reciprocating the love towards Riot by making their shooter increasingly more popular.