The revolving door to T1‘s Valorant team continues to spin with the news that Braxton “brax” Pierce and Keven “AZK” Larivière are leaving. This comes after the signings of former Cloud9 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive star Timothy “autimatic” Ta and a new coach.
Thank you for being such an integral part of T1 VALORANT – best of luck in your future endeavours & we’ll see you on the server! pic.twitter.com/maNryDGNxl
— T1 (@T1) February 8, 2021
T1 is currently in a rebuilding phase and is looking to reload its roster ahead of the next Valorant Champions Tour event. The original T1 Valorant roster, full of players involved in the iBUYPOWER matching fixing scandal from Counter-Strike, was initially viewed as one of the strongest teams in Valorant esports’ formative days. Both AZK and brax made the switch to Valorant early on in the game’s life, with brax being the first professional player to be signed by an organization. T1 made grand finals appearances in multiple tournaments that ran during the game’s beta, before Riot Games announced the Ignition Series.
The team fell behind once more teams and prominent organizations invested in Valorant. Once in the Ignition Series, AZK, brax, and the rest of the team started to fade in terms of top placements, dropping games as more organizations joined the competitive field. The squad also played a very passive style, often due to certain agent picks by brax, AZK and Sam “DaZeD” Marine.
Now, both players are on the free agent market. Both AZK and brax have played on amateur teams in the past but with their pedigree and current form, some competitive organizations may already be vying for their services. A return to Counter-Strike is also a possibility, especially with the North American scene in a transition period after a number of prominent roster moves.
T1 is retooling its roster and, from the outside, it looks as if the organization is also going through a culture shift. After the departure of coach Daniel “fRoD” Montaner, over “ethics” concerns, the team has been in flux in terms of player personnel, but also what the players are playing in the game. T1 showed up in the VCT qualifier with a whole new composition that was eventually defeated by AndBox, costing the squad a place in the first North American VCT event.
With AZK and brax leaving, this leaves one more spot open for T1 to add another player that can fit its new ethos for the game and organization as a whole. With the next VCT starting in a few days, expect either a flashy signing or a new player to be brought in for a trial run.