Peek him, he’s an Overwatch player.
It has generally been widely accepted that Counter-Strike players started VALORANT with a significant advantage, due to the strikingly similar flow and mechanics of the two games - after all, Slasher said as much in his interview with us a few weeks ago.
CS at its top level has always been famously an old boys' club, an elite class of gamer and even broadcast talent that once at the top is hard to get rid of and conceivably replace. Players like pashaBiceps for example long outstay their prime, keeping roster spots for years of subpar performances due to his previous standing as one of the best in the world in his time. We see today that some elements of this culture have already started to seep into VALORANT.
First of all, there’s this hilarious clip from Hiko’s stream where Hiko baits his teammate into peeking Unkoe in showers on Bind, justifying it by reminding him that the player he’s swinging on is an Overwatch player.
Now, this is hilarious, and not the only example of the joke. There is a similar moment from Shroud’s stream where someone is baited into peeking Corey, probably one of the greatest raw hitscan aimers of all time in any game, because “he’s an Overwatch player”.
Shroud, dead and spectating at the time, of course, knows exactly how good Corey is, and laughs at the joke as Corey pops off against his team. With the indisputably significant leg up CS players have (or had, at least) in VALORANT has also come with a cultural idea of Overwatch players being inherently worse at the game. Summit famously had one of the stronger opinions on the matter, even before VALORANT’s release:
However, while the mechanical and tactical foundations are undoubtedly less there in Overwatch, it also isn’t that old of a game, having come out only in 2016. This means that aside from the largest chunk of people migrating from Team Fortress 2, plenty of Overwatch players have had tactical FPS experience, CS included, for years before their pro Overwatch careers.
For these such players, hopping back into that style of game was like slipping into a familiar hoodie, comfortable and like home. And for raw aim superstars like Corey, with glorious fps fundamentals and an unreal grind ethic, it means showing up big in tournaments against the best of the best, too. And Corey isn’t the only one: his teammate Zachareee is also an ex-Overwatch pro and has more than held his own in recent events despite a shaky start a couple of months back.
Over in Europe, HypHypHyp was performing extremely well, also led by an ex-Overwatch pro. Of course, we do have to mention the less than satisfactory results from Sentinels early on, but they showed such a huge improvement recently, one has to acknowledge that if there were any Overwatch cobwebs slowing Sinatraa and Zombs down, they have since been shaken off.
Speaking of Zombs, this stigma isn’t just for Overwatch players. Hiko’s four teammates added not so long ago to the 100 Thieves roster were largely written off for being PUBG players, but before they were extracted from their previous organisation, Highground, those watching closely and perhaps with a bit more of an open mind had noted their promise. For instance, caster Pansy made note of their methodical playstyle on broadcast during their first showing as 100 Thieves.
Myth got memed on as well a fair amount when playing with the rest of the TSM squad for some Twitch Rivals events, with the public’s general perception being (fairly, I might add) that a tournament without all professional players is to be taken less seriously. However, Myth also held his own quite well and was praised for doing so by many, including his top-tier opponent brax.
So there was a gap between the skill of CS players and others when it comes to VALORANT. We know. But the gap is closing, and the diverse experiences that make up the player base of VALORANT is only going to make this esport more and more interesting to watch as it grows. Okay, yes, this article was written by an Overwatch player. But to be fair, just like Corey, Zacharee, Dafran, Babybay, Unkoe, Hyp, and many others - we played CS first.
Images via Riot Games | FaZe