EU teams have gone through a revamp and these are some of the roster swaps you might have missed.
The European VALORANT Champions Tour is just around the corner, but it’s going to look very different from First Strike - the last Riot in house tournament that we were treated to in December 2020. Besides the format and the branding, teams in Europe have really shaken things up with numerous roster swaps, changes, and reshuffles. It’s not been easy to keep up with all of the roster mania in the region since First Strike so here are five moves you might have missed in the offseason.
Ex6TenZ - L’institut to NiP
When it comes to experience, very few FPS players could rival Kevin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans, who is also considered one of the best in-game leaders in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). So it was a surprise that the Belgian wasn’t immediately snapped up by a top-tier VALORANT team when he made the switch to the new game.
However, after a very impressive showing at First Strike with L’institut, Ninjas in Pyjamas came knocking and recruited the CS legend as their IGL - announcing their new signing just 16 days after the event. Having exclusively played smoker agents prior to joining NiP, Ex6TenZ has transitioned to Breach, an agent that is known to work with top-level in-game leaders. While they didn’t immediately pick up the trophy in Ex6TenZ’s debut tournament, it’s clear how big an impact the veteran has on the team. If Home Ground by Red Bull was anything to go by, this latest variant of NiP might just be the best one yet.
M4CHINA - Purple Cobras to Vitality
Ouali "M4CHINA" Manset has been grinding the game ever since the beta, having competed in more than 20 tournaments, the French player has finally been signed by a tier-one organisation. Recently joining Team Vitality along with the rest of the FrenzyGoKill roster, M4CHINA made his name on Purple Cobras during the Rix.GG Cup and epic31.
The 25-year-old started his career briefly on Sova and Cypher before becoming one of the most talented Jett players in Europe. M4CHINA, however, made a return to his Sova at Home Ground by Red Bull as his teammate Vakaris "vakk" Bebravicius took the main Jett role instead. The Vitality roster will be one of the top contenders in EU so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare in the upcoming VALORANT Champions Tour.
Sayf - NiP to Guild
Yes, the band is back together, Saif "Sayf" Jibraeel made a U-turn on his decision to leave Bonk and reunited with his former teammates on Guild in the offseason. After spending three months at NiP, the community was shocked when Sayf, who is regarded as one of the most impactful and versatile players in EU, decided to step away from the tier-one org.
However, Bonk fans were delighted when Guild decided to pick up the former NiP player, and in true Sayf fashion, he debuted yet another new agent in his first match back with Guild. Picking up Killjoy on Ascent and Icebox, Sayf showed a glimmer of what he is capable of, and although they fell to a very organised and strong Team Liquid, it shouldn’t take Guild too long to adjust to having someone as valuable as Sayf back on the squad.
Meddo - FPX to Giants
FunPlus Phoenix made one of the most shocking benchings in the offseason when they decided to part ways with Johan "Meddo" Renbjörk after crashing out of the semi-finals of First Strike. Meddo, who has been on the same team as both Pontus "Zyppan" Eek and Tobias "shadow" Flodström since the FABRIKEN days, has always been a very solid Cypher player so the news of his benching surprised almost everybody in the community.
Fortunately, this is not the end of the road for Meddo who inevitably received a high volume of offers after becoming a free agent. The 21-year-old ultimately decided to join the new Giants roster, featuring the former Orgless team that made it to the Quarter-Finals of First Strike. They’ve been grinding the Spanish scene over the last month, and while Meddo has been putting up some good performances, it’ll be interesting to see if they have what it takes to compete among the top EU teams at VCT.
Fearoth - Alliance
Enzo "Fearoth" Mestari is one of many CS players who made the transition to VALORANT during the beta and having pulled out some strong early individual performances; he was eventually picked up by NiP back in July 2020. However, a string of mediocre results saw Fearoth benched by NiP - a questionable decision as the roster did manage top-four finishes in all five of the tournaments they played together.
But the benching didn’t stop Fearoth from grinding the competitive scene as he quickly formed his own team under the banner FeaFeaFea alongside Damien "HyP" Souville. Although they failed to see any major success, Fearoth was given a chance to trial with Alliance, who were impressed enough to build a roster around the in-game leader. The newly-formed Alliance roster will be looking to make their highly-anticipated debut in the VALORANT Champions Tour where many will be expecting Fearoth to redeem himself from the NiP days.
Images via NiP