Five Valorant Players to Watch Out For in 2022
Valorant Champions Tour’s (VCT) first year highlighted some of the best talent in the world. From players who picked up Valorant as their first competitive FPS (First Person Shooter) to veteran CS:GO professionals who transitioned to Riot’s esports title, there are quite a few players who stood out this year. While Stage One of the VCT was a regional affair, Stage Two and Three really proved how competitive the regions are in Valorant. Here are five players that you should keep an eye out for in 2022.
5. Angelo “Keznit” Mori - KRÜ Esports
KRÜ Esports was the only team at Valorant Champions that was able to withstand the might of Europe. The team managed to knock out Fnatic and almost defeated Stage Three Champions Gambit Esports. Keznit played a huge role in KRÜ’s success at the international event.
Keznit had the third-highest kill count at Champions without even making it to the grand finals. But his skill and the ability to clutch aren't the only attributes that make Keznit a player to watch out for. He showed sportsmanship throughout the event and was one of the most humble players at Champions. He was the author of KRÜ’s underdog story and has helped position his team as a threat to all top-tier teams in the globe.
Average Combat Score: 246.3
4. Mehmet Yağız “cNed” İpek - Acend
CNed had a rollercoaster of a year, to say the least. The Turkish player found himself in the middle of a money-laundering scandal earlier this year. He stated publicly on his stream that he was unwittingly dragged into the controversy and the entire incident gave Turkey a bad reputation. But he cleared his name and when the time came, he didn’t just perform well at Champions, he became a world champion.
The player was by far the most impactful Acend player, at least in terms of raw stats. He plays Jett like it’s second nature to him and is able to clutch up even in the worst of situations. He snagged 230 kills during his time at Champions and earned the last laugh after a grueling 3-2 series against Gambit Esports at the world championship-winning series.
Average Combat Score: 244.9
3. Tyson “TenZ” Ngo - Sentinels
TenZ started off the year by announcing his departure from competitive play. At the time, he was a part of Cloud9 and wanted to step into content creation full-time. But Sentinels’ Jay “Sinatraa” Won was suspended by Riot Games and the team desperately needed to find someone to fill the star player’s shoes and no one could have done it better than TenZ.
Sentinels was unstoppable during Stage One and Two and it looked like no team could beat the team. The one man who consistently topped the leaderboards and pulled off the flashiest of plays was TenZ. Sentinels is already a well-oiled machine with some of the most consistent players in the world but TenZ is a cut above the rest. His performance at Champions does not paint the entire picture of his potential and the 20-year old still has a long way to go. All eyes will be on him next year as Sentinels attempts to return to its winning ways.
Average Combat Score: 225.2
2. Nikita “Derke” Sirmitev - Fnatic
Fnatic was the “meme” team at Champions and it did not shy away from goofing around at press conferences and on the stage. But when the time came to deliver, the team took things very seriously and no one on the team looked more motivated than Derke. The player faced an abrupt end to his run at Champions at the hands of KRÜ Esports, but his impressive showcasing at the event will be remembered by many.
A glance at his stats from Champions will tell you why he deserves your attention. Highest ACS? Derke. Highest K/D? Derke. Highest average damage per round? Derke. He just didn’t falter at the world championships and even during Fnatic’s loss against KRÜ Esports, he was the star of the show. He is one of the most promising players in Valorant and definitely noteworthy.
Average Combat Score: 259.8
1. Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin - Gambit Esports
The TenZ vs nAts debate will heat up in 2022 and there’s only one “number one” spot when it comes to any esport. While TenZ was the star of Stage One and Two, nAts stole the show during Stage 3 and the world championships. Unfortunately, Gambit didn’t win the world championship but it leaves the doors open for the rivalry between him and TenZ to move into 2022.
His ability to keep his nerves calm is unbelievable. NAts is a walking highlight reel with his clutch plays and his aggressive plays make him one of the best players to watch. He was the star of the grand finals with 93 kills and an Average Combat Score of 245. No one even came close to his performance on the final day of Champions. But Valorant is a team game and it was Acend that ultimately took home the victory. NAts is only 19 years old and is a young prodidy with a long way to go in Valorant. He just might become the number one player in all of Valorant esports if he keeps up his recent performances.
Average Combat Score: 222.4
Note: The stats were sourced from
Subscribe to AFK Gaming's Newsletter
Get a weekly recap of all the latest developments in the global esports industry with our esports business insights newsletter: AFK Weekly
Subscribe for free to receive insights, analysis and opinions on the biggest developments in esports business, provided by our team of experienced journalists in collaboration with thought leaders across the industry.