Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is mostly known as a streamer but he has more than his share of esports bona fides.
Ninja has enjoyed success in esports competitions in Halo, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Fortnite. Now he seems ready to make a potentially serious run in Valorant. Ninja has been streaming the game quite a bit but has also been competing in tournaments. While his presence has largely been viewed as a novelty, the team’s upset win over a heavily favored FaZe Clan makes it worth taking a closer look at Ninja’s team and where they came from.
Overview of the Valorant tournament today and my team. Please watch <3 GGS to everyone we played today. pic.twitter.com/wILKHoIoCd
— Ninja (@Ninja) December 13, 2020
Ninja’s Valorant team has been operating under different names including Time In and 100 Blifted. It currently includes the following players:
Ninja, Morgausse, and Grego seem to be the core of the team, with the trio also previously competing alongside Jaden “Vegas” James and Alexander “LeX” Deily. This current lineup with Kurt and Dani has been together for nearly two months and has had the greatest success so far.
Twitter posts have suggested that they are being coached by Counter-Strike pro Shawn “witmer” Taylor.
Can’t forget to credit @witmer (who’s Twitter is locked), he’s helping us with fundamentals every practice and improving at playing the game at a macro level. He’s as much of a part of the team now as we are.
— Kurt (@KurtG) December 13, 2020
Ninja and his Valorant team have primarily competed in qualifiers and showmatch events. They are not attached to any multi-game esports organization.
The JBL Quantum Cup, which the team was invited to, is the first notable official Valorant tournament Ninja has competed in. The team was eliminated from the event’s group stage with a 1-2 record, beating FaZe Clan while losing to Team Envy and 100 Thieves. They were eliminated via tiebreaker due to their poor round differential.
Ninja has been playing Valorant alongside Grego, Morgausse, Kurt, and Dani. Most of these players have competed for prominent organizations in other esports titles.
Morgausse is a former Fortnite pro, who famously won the 2018 Fortnite Summer Skirmish. This earned him a $225,000 check as he topped a number of bigger names including Timothy “Bizzle” Miller, Thomas “72hrs” Mulligan, and Turner “Tfue” Tenney.
Grego doesn’t have a singular major tournament victory to his name but was a standout Overwatch player for Cloud9 during the game’s pre-Overwatch League esports scene. He had another run with Cloud9 in Apex Legends, but this lasted a short time. Grego was an early adopter to the Valorant esports scene, but was not part of any particularly noteworthy teams until now.
Kurt was a big name in 2019 in competitive Apex Legends, playing for T1’s North America-based lineup. The team won a number of notable early tournaments, most notably the T1 x FACEIT Apex Legends Invitational. His activity in Apex Legends declined into 2020 and in June, it was announced that he would be competing for T1 Academy in Valorant. T1 dropped the team in June after mixed results.
Finally, Dani isn’t a known commodity. He is a 21-year-old Palestinian-Canadian streamer, but he does not seem to have credentials in any other esports titles.
Probably not. Ninja’s long-term plans in Valorant are unclear, but he makes so much money as a streamer that there is little chance that he will ever fully commit to an esport again. He has been taking Valorant seriously in recent months, but odds are this will be a temporary stop for Ninja before he returns to variety streaming.