It will be foolish to say that the arrival of Valorant has not had an impact on CS:GO. Last year was a tough season for competitive Counter-Strike with everything shifting to an online format, Valorant’s entry in June only made it worse as a lot of professional CS:GO players quickly moved over to the new title.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the biggest professional CS:GO players who made the switch to Valorant and what have they achieved so far in the new title.
Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen
The 19-year-old Finnish AWPer is the most recent CS:GO player to announce his move over to Valorant. He is currently signed to ENCE, waiting for opportunities from different Valorant teams to come his way.
The primary reason for Jamppi to move from CS:GO to Valorant is the controversial ‘VAC Ban’ against him which prohibits him from participating in Valve sponsored tournaments, due to which he has become more of a liability in the Counter-Strike scene than an asset. Jamppi did try his best to get rid of the ‘VAC Ban’ by filing a lawsuit against Valve but as per the last public verdict, the court’s decision was not in his favour.
Joshua "steel" Nissan
Steel never enjoyed a great career in competitive CS:GO because of his involvement in the iBUYPOWER match-fixing scandal which took place in 2015. He moved to Overwatch temporarily before returning to Counter-Strike and managed to play for tier-two teams like Ghost Gaming and Chaos Esports Club.
As he was permanently banned from all Valve sponsored events Steel never had a chance to play CS:GO at the highest level. The offer from 100 Thieves to join their Valorant roster is probably the biggest thing that has happened to steel in a long time, and he has made full use of this opportunity by winning the biggest Valorant tournament so far, First Strike North America.
Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas
The 25-year-old Spanish AWPer dabbled around a lot of tier-two CS:GO teams for a long time before getting his break with OpTic Gaming. Mixwell went on play for G2 Esports and Cloud9 also but was never the most sought after player after his glory days with OpTic.
Valorant was a great escape for mixwell, he switched over to the game very early and this turned out to be an excellent decision as G2 Esports soon picked him. With them, he has gone on to win numerous Valorant tournaments outright dominating the European circuit.
Matthew "Wardell" Yu
The talented Canadian had just started his professional career in CS:GO, three years into the grind he got an opportunity to represent TSM and the rest was history. Getting an opportunity to play for such a reputed organization so early on was an opportunity that was just too good to be rejected.
Wardell switched over to Valorant and it has proved to be the right decision for him so far. He is one of the best players in the North American region and has contributed well to make TSM one of the most formidable teams in the world.
Braxton "brax" Pierce
Another victim of the infamous iBUYPOWER match-fixing incident, brax’ permanent ban from Valve sponsored tournaments was quite controversial. He was one of the most talented young players from North America to play CS:GO competitively but his career took a huge hit due to the ban.
As soon as Valorant was announced, brax pivoted to the new title and was almost immediately picked up by T1, initially as a content creator who later transitioned into a player as the team was slowly built by the organization.
Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham
The experienced North American AWPer who is one of the first American CS:GO players to win a Major had a short but successful Counter-Strike career. He got his big break with Cloud9 with whom he went on to win the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018, the most successful CS:GO Major for a North American team.
Shortly after he took a break from CS:GO and became a full-time streamer, only to come back as a Valorant player along with T1. They might not be the best team on the block but Skadoodle continues to perform with a fire in his belly.
Tyson "TenZ" Ngo
TenZ was an underrated CS:GO player and through his entire career the only high point for him was to have played for Cloud9. The talented youngster spent a lot of time on tier-two rosters and his switch to Valorant was probably the biggest transformation for any player by far.
The 19-year-old was picked up by Cloud9 Blue early on, having played Counter-Strike with the organization they knew his potential and boy did TenZ turn out to be a beast. Widely regarded as the best Valorant player in the world, TenZ is almost unbeatable on Jett. But despite signing him Cloud9 Blue failed to make a mark and soon after TenZ announced that he wanted to be a Valorant - Content Creator, effectively stepping down as a player for the time being.
Spencer "Hiko" Martin
Hiko was probably the first prominent CS:GO player from North America whose decision to switch to Valorant sent a shockwave through the entire community. He was called ‘washed off’, ‘old’, and a lot of other things, but the 30-year-old has gone on to shut down all the haters by winning the biggest Valorant event till date along with 100 Thieves, First Strike North America.
The experienced CS:GO player spent almost a decade competing in Counter-Strike, playing with multiple big organizations like Cloud9, Team Liquid, Complexity, and more. 100 Thieves is reaping the benefits of signing him as Hiko still continues to pull off incredible clutches for his side.
Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom
Probably the biggest CS:GO player to switch over to Valorant, ScreaM who is popularly known as the ‘Headshot Machine’ was one of the best CS:GO players in the world at his peak. The Belgian professional has played for multiple big organizations and on various star-studded rosters, as he still continues to hold the record for maximum headshot percentage in competitive CS:GO.
Currently playing with Team Liquid’s Valorant roster, it was the right call for ScreaM to switch over to Valorant with his CS:GO career slowly coming to a close. Though Liquid has not won anything substantial yet, ScreaM has proved to be a force to reckon with for the opposition.
Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella
Nitr0’s departure from Team Liquid’s CS:GO roster to join 100 Thieves Valorant lineup was probably the most emotional player farewell last year, not only for the North American region but the entire CS:GO community.
For him, it was not about being washed up or his career coming to an end. Nitr0 wanted a change after having played with Team Liquid for more than five years. It worked well for both the player and the organization, as he parted ways with both the organization and CS:GO. There was a significant amount of criticism that came with it, but it all put to bed after nitro along with 100 Thieves won First Strike North America to become the best Valorant team from the region.
A few other CS:GO players that are worth a mention are Kevin ‘Ex6TenZ’ Droolans, Kirill ‘ANGE1’ Karasio, Ardis ‘ardiis’ Svarenieks, Michael ‘dapr’ Gulino, Fatih ‘gob b’ Dayik, Ryan “Freakazoid“ Abadir, Yassine "Subroza" Taoufik, and Shahzeeb "ShahZaM" Khan.