Cloud9 signs all-woman Valorant team, its third Valorant roster
Olivia R. October 25, 2020
Cloud9 has just signed an all-female Valorant team.
While the organization already has two existing Valorant roster, Cloud9 has picked up MAJKL, an all-female Valorant team that won Spectator Gaming's all-woman Valorant tournament. The team will now compete under the name Cloud9 White. Their other Valorant team will be rebranded to "Cloud9 Blue."
While all-female rosters are nothing new in esports, Cloud9's senior general manager Gaylen Malone stated that Cloud9 White will be competing in mainstream Valorant tournaments alongside all-male teams. This is a big step for women in esports, with Counter Logic Gaming's Stephanie "missharvey" Harvey stating in a WIN.gg interview that all-female tournaments were "band-aids" and the goal was to "mix everyone."
Alongside both Cloud9 Blue and Cloud9 White, Cloud9 also sponsors a Korean roster named Cloud9 Korea. All three Cloud9 rosters will aim to qualify for First Strike, Valorant's first official championship.
Cloud9 exec discusses plans for women's Valorant roster
Malone explained that Cloud9 was inspired by the early League of Legends scene in Korea. In 2010, Korean organizations commonly signed 10 players divided into two rosters. The two teams would practice against each other, sometimes even exchanging players back and forth.
“I don’t expect us to exchange players week-by-week, but I do expect for the coaches and players of Cloud9 Blue to eventually look to integrate some of the women from Cloud9 White into their roster," Malone said.
Malone made it clear that signing MAJKL wasn't only about getting an all-female team. She explained that the team already played together and had proved themselves in competitions. They are already considered a top women's team and now, Malone said, they are working on becoming the top Valorant team in the world.
"When I had this group of girls together, I felt we could achieve something nobody else was doing before. Our goal is to compete at the tier 1 level," IGL Melanie "Mel" Capone said.
The team expressed that they were not surprised to win the previous tournament. They now want to see what they can do against the top teams in the world.
The talented team caught the eye of AT&T as well, who quickly became Cloud9 White's partner. Head of sponsorship and experiential marketing, Shizuka Suzuki, explained that their company has a goal to elevate women in gaming. They even started Unlocked Games, a gender equality initiative for game developers.
“We’ve got a huge passion around gender equality in sponsorships overall,” Suzuki said to Esports Observer.
AT&T is hoping Cloud9 White will pave the way for more female teams to play esports professionally. This is something Malone also noticed the Valorant scene attempting as a whole.
"Riot Games is making decisions early on to include women in competition and to ensure those women will be supported in the scene. I think that other titles could find similar success if they invested resources to the same degree while making conscious decisions to be more inclusive and provide stepping stones for women," Malone said.