aEvilcat on VALORANT’s future amid Red Bull Campus Clutch
The VALORANT pipeline has been placed under intense scrutiny as of late, with the Ascension process proving to be more than tricky amid The Guard's (now G2 Esports) promotion. There are also critiques on how the partnership system puts tier-two organisations under financial pressure to continue their support.
But that's not the only way of strengthening the prosperity and future of the VALORANT exosystem and production pipeline, and now Riot has introduced Premier as a new system of championing young and devoted talent who are looking to make that step up.
Arguably, the best system for youthful players to make a name for themselves is not in either of the tier-two Challengers League or Premier, as Red Bull is back with its third year of the global Campus Clutch competition.
It aims to build upon the University-level system often deployed in traditional US sports to showcase the extraordinary talents around the globe who are all balancing their professional dreams with studious careers.
Now, esteemed VALORANT caster Mimi "aEvilcat" Wermcrantz has weighed in on how the Red Bull Campus Clutch is the perfect "best of both worlds" for VALORANT amateurs to go down the path to professional.
aEvilcat claims Red Bull Campus Clutch is the 'best of both worlds' for upcoming players
Speaking to GGRecon during the Red Bull Campus Clutch, aEvilcat discussed just how fruitful the student-based competition actually is for VALORANT, and how the future of the game is in fine hands in a time when a number of FPS competitors are resurging.
The now VCT stalwart broadcast talent first opened up about just how important these types of events, supporting the lower-league scenes, are incredible opportunities for rising stars to grasp, rather than being swallowed into the Tier 2 scene and becoming lost.
"I think it's a great opportunity because, in a way, it gives you the best of both worlds. If you fully commit to going and playing in Tier 2, you're really taking such a risk. You put all of your time into practice and you might not be able to keep a job or be in college at the same time," she began.
"But with these university events and with the collegiate team as a whole, it lets people have a backup, with that opportunity to actually go out and get a degree while also being able to compete and have opportunities like this that gives them the exposure that you wouldn't even get if you're playing in the tier two scene unless you make it into Ascension."
Specifically, aEvilcat notices how the Global Finals especially will allow for scouts to get involved and really see talent shine.
"It's a really big chance for scouts from higher levels to get their eyes on players. Most people aren't going to go and find a random VOD of some collegiate league in North America, or EMEA, but when a big tournament organizer like Red Bull puts something like this on, it gets eyes on a scene that really wouldn't otherwise be there.
"It's a more balanced way to be able to live the esports dream for a bit, while also doing your studies."
aEvilcat advises Red Bull Campus Clutch stars to feed on the variety of playstyles
Already, in its three years of existence, Red Bull Campus Clutch has produced a handful of players who have managed to sign professional deals and play in the Partnership VCT league.
aEvilcat has now advised that in order to follow in the footsteps of players such as new Vitality recruit Emil "runneR" Trajkovski, the students here need to soak in every minute of action and learn as much variety in the regional playstyles as possible.
"It's a chance to get exposed to a lot of different ideas around the game and taking that experience back home to your own events, I think can really help you to not only find new strats for your team and for how you want to play the game, but also to really just kind of grow and mature as a person," aEvilcat said.
This variety is key to improving, aEvilcat says, as it allows you to expand your knowledge and also refine a unique playstyle on agents that are already established. With so many new teams and players, there's plenty to steal.
"When you watch a Tier 1 Valorant game, you're like, 'oh, Fnatic's gonna be good.' You kind of know what to expect," she continued.
"When you come in here, there's always gonna be a team that shocks you, that surprises you, that shocks you. It's so much better than you'd think, which is what makes it really fun to watch."
Team Vitality has already picked up two graduates of the Red Bull Campus Clutch, with 2021 winner Mohamed "shalaby" Shalaby also getting a shot in the big leagues, further reinforcing the sentiment that there is a valid path to pro.
aEvilcat believes VALORANT's tier-two ecosystem is still in safe hands
What's most important about the Red Bull Campus Clutch is that the American-styled collegiate system is serving as another way, and even sometimes a better way than already existing methods, of getting to become a pro player, and this means that the pipeline is not slowing down and there are still hungry players trying to funnel to the top.
Not only is this great for VALORANT esports, but it's also great for the entire game and its ecosystem, with devoted players at all levels. "I feel like VALORANT has such a prosperity," aEvilacat agreed.
"Obviously, it's a tough time in esports right now, teams are cutting back and all that, and esports are as well, but we're still seeing a growth in viewership, in high schools, in the amount of teams competing.
"I think an event like this is an improvement. It's sustainable to have tier-two collegiate events come up to a higher level. We've already seen such a meteoric growth in Valorant just across the three years, and I can't see that stopping, honestly. It seems like it's in such a prosperous place," aEvilcat concluded.
"Obviously those other games are too. With CS2 coming out, I think that game's getting a big revitalization, which is great for their scene. But I really see such a strong future in VALORANT."