Author: Grayson Neander

Reports Suggest Cloud9 Will Finalize Roster With Zellsis

Following their failure to qualify for Riot Games’s 2023 VALORANT franchising system, Version1 (V1) released their roster into the free agency market. Although there is a Tier 2 scene in place for unqualified teams to be able to ascend into the franchising league, V1 opted to dismantle their roster in favor of some of their players being picked up by a franchised team.Fortunately, it appears that their gamble has paid off for their most well-known player.Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro, who shined during his brief stand-in with Sentinels during the North American Last Chance Qualifier (NA LCQ), is set to sign with Cloud9 and join the likes of Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker, Anthony “vanity” Malaspina, Nathan “leaf” Orf, and Erick “Xeppaa” Bach.Although teams are required to hold six players in accordance with Riot Games’s franchising rules, these five players will likely be the starting members for the 2023 iteration of Cloud9’s VALORANT roster.SEN Zellsis: A Memory of the PastAlthough Zellsis is best known for his recent appearance on Sentinels during the NA LCQ, he entered the competitive tactical shooter scene through Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). While he played for a number of teams during his time in the CS:GO scene, one of his more notable appearances was with Cloud9 in 2019. His time there was short, but it allowed him to establish a relationship with the organization that likely factored in his decision to join Cloud9.When Montemurro spoke with confidence on his stream a few days ago regarding his team choice—“I’ve decided on a team…I’m basically signed”—many fans speculated he would return to Sentinels. Despite playing for them for only a few games, the atmosphere of the team appeared very positive. Prior to the franchising announcement, this positive relationship between Montemurro and Sentinels led many people to assume he would leave V1 and partner with Sentinels. This theory, of course, was thrown away when Montemurro announced he would be returning to V1.Weeks later, it was announced that V1 had not made the cut and Sentinels had. This fact, combined with Zellsis’s response on stream brought new life to that theory, and had many fans believing Zellsis would once again appear on the Sentinels lineup.Unfortunately for the SEN Zellsis fans, it appears that Montemurro will team up with the “best player in the world” and join yay as another one of Cloud9’s latest signings.The State of NA Franchising Post-ZellsisWith vanity, leaf, Xeppaa; yay; and now Zellsis on their roster, it appears Cloud9 is putting together a super team. If these players are to be on their final roster, Cloud9 will become the second North American team to finalize their 2023 franchise roster in the Americas League. This comes only days after 100 Thieves finalized their roster with the signing of former XSET player Cryo.So far, only these two teams have made any roster moves. The other three franchised teams (NRG, Evil Geniuses, and Sentinels) have remained quiet. Despite the early moves by 100T and C9, the free agency market still contains plenty of top-tier players yet to be signed. Most notably, 4/5ths of both the OpTic Gaming and XSET rosters still remain unsigned; the Guard’s players, as well as the rest of V1 and most of FaZe Clan, are also free agents.

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Reports Indicate Cloud9 to Sign VALORANT Superstar yay

The biggest name in the free agent market is set to sign with one of the biggest names in North American esports history, Superstar yay. Read more about the signing here.Reports Indicate Cloud9 to Sign VALORANT Superstar yayFollowing their failure to qualify for Riot Games’s 2023 VALORANT franchising system, all members of OpTic Gaming were released into the free agency market. Although there is a Tier 2 system in place for teams to ascend into the franchising league, the members of OpTic Gaming have made it clear, through their multiple top three international performances this year, that they are each worthy of being 1 of the 25-players allocated to play for North America in the Americas League.Widely touted as the best player in the free agency market as well as even the best player in the world, OpTic gaming’s Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker is wanted by all five of the franchised North American teams.Whiteaker has openly spoken about his interests in playing exclusively in North America. “El Diablo,” a moniker Whiteaker has earned through his incredible performances, has reportedly even rejected a million dollar deal with an APAC team in the Pacific League and multiple offers to play for an EMEA team, citing an interest in staying at “home” in NA.Five for FiveSince his release into the free agency market, superstar yay has garnered the interest of all five franchised North American teams.Following the announcement of former XSET player Matthew “Cryocells” Panganiban joining 100 Thieves, 100T CEO Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag spoke openly on his live stream about yay. Making it clear that finances were not an issue, Nadeshot stated that Panganiban was the better fit for the current 100T lineup due to his age and chemistry with some of the players already on 100T. Because both Panganiban and Whiteaker play the same role, Cryo’s signing ruled out any chance of yay joining 100T.Although 100T was not yet ruled out at this point, Whiteaker announced on his stream that he would not play for Evil Geniuses, leaving only three possible teams left for him to play for.Sentinels, the fan-favorite landing spot for yay, also had conflicting interests with yay. Although many fans wanted to see the likes of TenZ and yay on the same team, both players play in the same role. TenZ has always been the focus of the Sentinels team since their inception, meaning a shift in role is unlikely for him. It is also extremely unlikely that Sentinels would drop TenZ given his history with the organization and importance to their branding. This left only NRG and Cloud9 left for Whiteaker to sign with.“On Cloud9”With only two desirable options left in the Americas League it is not a big surprise that superstar yay is set to sign with Cloud9. As one of the oldest and most distinguished organizations in all of esports, Cloud9 offers not only the facilities and resources, but also the finances to host such a prolific player.While NRG are backed by funding from the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, their facilities and reputation are comparatively inferior. With Cloud9 being such a titan in the industry and having a successful history in every esport they are a part of, they are a much better fit for a player as prestigious and sought after as yay.If the reports are true and the deal is finalized, superstar yay will compete alongside the three players Cloud9 retained following the announcement of franchising and the opening of the free agency market: Anthony “vanity” Malaspina, Nathan “leaf” Orf, and Erick “Xeppaa” Bach.

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100T Reportedly Signing Former XSET Player Cryo

In the aftermath of the VALORANT franchising fiasco, both of North America’s best teams were left out of the Americas League. Without teams to play for, the players on both OpTic Gaming and XSET were released into free agency for the franchised teams to pick apart. While superstar players like OpTic’s yay and Marved are still on the market, it appears 100 Thieves have their eyes set on someone different.The Current State of ThingsThe current 100 Thieves lineup has come tremendously far over the past five months. Jokingly referred to as “Will Asuna Bang Derrek and Stellar?” the Thieves roster consists of IGL Brenden “Stellar” McGrath, Controller Sean “bang” Bazerra, Duelist William “Will” Cheng, Flex Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk, and Initiator Derrek “Derrek” Ha.Hand selected by coaches Sean “sgares” Gares and Michael “Mikes” Hockom and General Manager Daniel “ddk” Kapadia, this young lineup has already built up quite the resume.In their debut at NA Stage 2 Challengers, the Thieves managed to make it out of the group stage over established names like Sentinels, Cloud9, and The Guard. With only a few weeks of practice together, they managed to make it all the way to the Lower Bracket Quarterfinals before being eliminated by FaZe Clan.Despite not qualifying for Masters Copenhagen, their domestic performance had shown 100T CEO Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag exactly what he had hoped for when he commissioned sgares, ddk, and Mikes to put together these five young players.From there, 100T only continued to thrive. Just three short months later, this same lineup beat out all of the North American teams that had previously beaten them in NA Masters Stage 2 in the NA Last Chance Qualifier. With a 3-0 victory over The Guard in the Grand Final, 100T booked their ticket to the largest VALORANT tournament of the year: VALORANT Champions.Although they were eliminated in the group stage, they did manage to secure a win over Fnatic in the opening match of their first ever international tournament. This showing, combined with 100 Thieves’s close relationship with Riot Games, earned them a spot in the newly franchised Americas League alongside Sentinels, Cloud9, NRG, and Evil Geniuses.Looking to the StarsWhile each member of the current 100 Thieves roster has proven themselves to be among the best players in their role, the allure of the stars in the free agency market seems to have gotten to their management.Reports indicate that 100T will acquire former XSET player Matthew “Cryocells” Panganiban. Also known as Cryo, the former XSET player previously played in the flex and duelist roles, and was renowned for his incredible plays on Chamber. Because his signing is just a rumor, it has not yet been revealed which player he will replace on the 100T lineup. Community speculation indicates he will take Will’s spot as they share the same role; however, he could also just be a substitute.Part of the new franchising rules require each franchised team to have a six-man roster. This means that each team must have a substitute player on their bench at all times. If Cryo is to join 100T, he would fulfill the six-man requirement, but not necessarily join the starting lineup. This is, however, very unlikely as Cryo is one of the best players in NA, and is touted as one of the best chamber players in NA behind yay.

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Team Liquid Releases LCS Head Coach Guilhoto

Following their fourth-place finish in the LCS Summer Playoffs, the Team Liquid superteam failed to accomplish their two “expected” goals: win the LCS and make Worlds. Weeks after their elimination, Team Liquid CEO—and the lead proponent behind the creation of the superteam—Steve Arhancet, posted a statement on the official Team Liquid League of Legends Twitter page stating that the 2023 Team Liquid LCS roster “[would] be different” than this year’s iteration.What Has Been “Different” So Far?While no further elaboration has been made on Team Liquid’s part, speculation has run rampant, and roster moves have already gone underway. The most significant change, so far, has been Hans sama’s departure from the team. Reportedly returning to Europe to play for KCorp (Karmine Corp), the former Rogue ADC is looking to enter the LFL for the 2023 season with hopes of returning to his 2021 form.While Hans sama’s performance has been lackluster this year, his previous performances on Rogue impressed some of the best players in the scene. Most notably, Gen.G’s ADC, Ruler, who plays in what fans consider to be the most “difficult region in the world” (the LCK: League of Legends Champions Korea), publicly stated that he was impressed with Hans sama’s performances in scrims during Worlds 2021.Outside of Hans sama’s departure, the fate of the rest of the squad is yet to be determined. Speculations have been made, however, about promoting the 2022 Spring/Summer LCS Academy Champions from the bot lane onto the main roster. The bot lane duo of Eyla and Yeon have been touted as “LCS-ready” players since their victory in the Spring Proving Ground Grand Finals. The only issue with their promotion would be the status of CoreJJ. Replacing CoreJJ with Eyla would mean releasing their longest tenured player, who is largely regarded as the franchise player of the organization. As of right now, these three players remain on their respective rosters and only Hans sama has been removed from the starting LCS lineup.It’s a Coach DiffWhile other roster changes are likely on the horizon, Team Liquid has decided to make some changes to the coaching staff. On September 26th, Team Liquid posted an official announcement on their League of Legends Twitter page stating that they would be releasing their 2022 Head Coach André “Guilhoto” Pereira.Although the internal struggles that resulted in Team Liquid’s subpar performances this year were largely between the players, it appears that Team Liquid is looking to rebuild their infrastructure completely heading into 2023. Guilhoto, who was signed to coach TL’s superteam in November of 2021, has led Team Liquid for a little under a year. He was acquired from Immortals after they dismantled their roster to rebuild completely in 2021.While his opportunity with Team Liquid was certainly his biggest gig, Guilhoto has been in the scene on many teams since 2016. He began his career with For The Win Esports, a Portuguese team that plays in the LPLOL. After less than six months with the team, he received an opportunity to coach Giants Gaming, an LVP SuperLiga team. After spending a year with Giants, Guilhoto was hired to coach Schalke 04 in the LEC. His stint with the team lasted the entirety of the 2018 season before he moved on to coach Origen, another team in the LEC. This time, Guilhoto remained with the team for two years, the longest coaching tenure of his entire career, before moving on to work with Astralis for two months.His time as Astralis was short as he found another opportunity, this time in North America. Hired by Immortals, Guilhoto coached the team for the entire 2021 season before Team Liquid bought him out to guide their new superteam.With TL’s superteam dissolved, it appears that Guilhoto will have to look for his eighth coaching position for the 2023 season.

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Top Five Teams Going into Worlds 2022

The first stage of the largest League of Legends tournament of the year, Worlds 2022, is just around the corner. Starting September 29th, 12 of the 24 invited teams will duke it out in the Play-Ins stage for one of four spots in the main event.These 12 teams are the lowest seeded teams when regional strength is taken into account, and must qualify through Play-ins if they wish to compete against the top teams from around the world. The 12 teams not participating in the Play-Ins have already qualified for the main event through 1st and 2nd place finishes in their respective regions’ league championships.Although most of the best teams will not be competing in the Play-Ins, here is a look at who the top five teams are going into this weekend.#5: RNGAs the only team on this list who is competing in the Play-Ins stage, the back-to-back MSI champions have a lot of work cut out for them. Despite coming 4th in the LPL, RNG are one of the most unique teams in the entire world.While the meta revolves largely around scaling and teamfighting, RNG’s aggressive early game makes them one of the most difficult teams to outlast into the late game. While the three teams ahead of them in the LPL have managed to beat them, the LPL is the strongest league in the world. Top teams from other regions will struggle to beat them if they are not adequately prepared.Their roster for Worlds remains the same as it was for the LPL Championship:Top: BreatheJungle: WeiMid: XiaohuADC: GalaSupport: MingSubstitute (Support): Bunny#4. EDward Gaming (EDG)The defending World Champions have made it back to the World’s stage in hopes of becoming the second ever team to win back-to-back championships. Although they had a rocky Summer Split, they returned to form to upset Victory Five and RNG and secure the LPL’s third seed.EDG retains the same roster they had when they won Worlds 2021:Top: FlandreJungle: JieJieMid: ScoutADC: ViperSupport: MeikoSubstitute (Jungle): JunJia#3. Gen.GGen.G is the only non-LPL team to make the top five list this year. While Korea’s LCK has long been touted as the best region in the world, the LPL has dominated the world stage over the past five years. Despite this, Gen.G looks to be one of the best teams in the World at the moment.After losing to T1 in the Spring Playoffs, and watching their LCK rivals reach second place at MSI, Gen.G had a massive chip on their shoulder. When the Summer Split kicked off, Gen.G posted one of the most impressive records the LCK has ever seen. Going 17-1, Gen.G had a nearly flawless record, losing only to T1 in a close 2-1 series.Despite their loss, Gen.G did not lose tempo. They entered the LCK Summer Playoffs as the top seed and got their glorious revenge over their rivals. In an incredible 3-0 fashion, Gen.G claimed their first ever LCK title and their ADC Ruler earned the LCK MVP award.Gen.G retains the same roster as the Summer Playoffs going into Worlds 2022.Top: DoranJungle: PeanutMid: ChovyADC: RulerSupport: LehendsSubstitute (Jungle): YoungJae#2. Top EsportsTop Esports has one of the best rosters the LPL has ever seen. As the only team in the tournament with an eight-player lineup, Top Esports is prepared for almost any matchup their opponents will throw at them. Despite having a rather quiet Spring showing, TES flourished in Summer, and claimed the LPL’s second seed at Worlds.Although they did not win the LPL Championship, their jungler—the current best jungler in the world—Tian, earned himself the LPL MVP award.TES retains the same roster going into Worlds.Top: WaywardJungle: TianMid: knightADC: JackeyLoveSupport: MarkSupport: ZhuoSubstitute (Top): QingtianSubstitute (Jungle): Xiaopeng#1. JDGChina’s number one team, and the current best team in the world, also has an extensive roster. Although they do not have as many as TES, JDG’s seven-man roster was enough to best TES 3-2 in the LPL Summer Playoffs. Although both of their series against TES were 3-2, JDG is currently 4-0 against TES, but all of their series have gone the distance.JDG retains the same roster from the Summer Playoffs:Top: 369Jungle: KanaviMid: YagaoADC: HopeSupport: MissingSubstitute (Top): M1kuyaSubstitute (Mid): YimengRead more esports news.

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