VALORANT Game Changers pro player takes leap of faith to pursue tier 1 aspirations

VALORANT Game Changers pro player takes leap of faith to pursue tier 1 aspirations
Image via Riot Games

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch

Published 

16th Oct 2023 17:00

Previously a standout player with XSET, Katja "katsumi" Pfahnl has disclosed her decision to leave the team and the VALORANT Game Changers program altogether. 

As she steers her career toward the peak of professional VALORANT, she leaves behind a supportive platform to venture into more challenging territories.

Embarking on a Fresh Path

Katsumi took to Twitter to detail her thought process, stating: "I’ve always seen Game Changers as a temporary step and not an end goal. I’ve maintained through my entire career that if I ever believed I wasn’t capable of becoming a top player outside of GC - I would quit competing entirely and move on to something else in my life.

Expressing gratitude for the two years she spent with Game Changers, she regarded it as a space where she felt "comfortable, safe, and stable." However, her ambitions demand that she break these boundaries and seek discomfort to grow, remarking, "I think it’s time to start feeling uncomfortable in order to truly push myself."

In the upcoming phase of her career, Katsumi is teaming up with an impressive roster. This includes talents like Reid "x0tek" Johnson, formerly the coach for C9 White, and Danny "huynh" Huynh, with past associations with notable teams Gen.G and Ghostgaming. 

Additionally, Jason "JSUNG" Sung and Luis "Papi" Canelon round up the team, and their shared goal: "Improving individually and as a team in order to qualify for challengers in 2024."

The many hurdles for marginalized gender competitors

On various occasions, players of marginalised genders have talked about their struggles to find acceptance, being denied opportunities to join tier 1 teams. 

This backdrop gives weight to Katsumi's move from Game Changers. A point of reference here is Melanie "meL" Capone, Katsumi's former teammate at C9 White. She recently talked about the impediments she confronted when aiming to make her mark in co-ed VALORANT teams.

Given this context, Katsumi's choice stands out, embodying her aspirations to redefine her trajectory in the competitive scene. "I don’t know that I feel particularly 'ready' or if that’s even possible, but I’m up for the challenge," she shared in her statement.

In wrapping up her announcement, Katsumi assured her followers of sustained engagement on her journey. "Thank you to everyone who has continued to support me, I’ll try to be less absent on socials moving forward! And of course I’ll be getting some streams in," she expressed, inviting the community to rally behind her in this new chapter.

Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch is a Senior Esports Journalist at GGRecon. He's been creating content in esports for over 10 years, starting with Warcraft 3.

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