Valorant has just hit the professional esports scene and teams are already paying big money for the game’s best players.
The Esports Observer recently shared that the average salary for Valorant teams with five players can range from $15,000 to $25,000 per month. That means there are some players already earning $60,000 a year from contract payments alone. The sources that shared the information with Esports Observer also hinted that there are some Valorant players making quite a bit more than that.
While other esports, such as League of Legends, have considerably higher salaries and contracts, this is still an impressive start for an esport that has not even had any major tournaments thus far. The Valorant esports scene is still very young, but there are already prominent esports organizations making a name for themselves in small events and by picking up top players from other similar games, including former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch pros.
Ever since the game’s open beta was announced, TSM has been working towards building a top team. Once the game was officially launched in June, TSM’s performance had already improved. TSM’s Valorant team recently won the T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown, as well as many other online tournaments, instantly making them a top contender.
One of their standout players is Matthew “Wardell” Yu, who had an insane +122 kill-to-death differential and an average combat score of 253 at T1’s tournament. Wardell has already earned over $10,000 of prize money in Valorant tournaments thanks to TSM’s repeat first-place finishes.
“I’ve been waiting for a long time to join a prestigious org like TSM. I’m looking forward to the future,” Wardell told ESPN in a recent interview.
T1 had to come next after their grand finals appearance opposite TSM in the T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown. They were originally the team to beat thanks to their once unstoppable strategies on Ascent. Despite being shut down by TSM, T1 is still one of the top North American teams thanks to its strong roster. This includes Braxon “Brax” Pierce, undeniably the best Omen in the T1 tournament with a 260 average combat score.
Brax was once known as “swag” when he played CSGO for iBUYPOWER, but his career ended when he was banned from Valve-sponsored events after being found guilty of match-fixing. He has had his eyes on Valorant even before it had an official name. T1 also acquired Keven “AZK” Lariviere and Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, also formerly of iBUYPOWER. With so many former CSGO pros on the roster, it’s no surprise that T1 has been crushing it thus far.
All eyes are on the Sentinels after they acquired Overwatch League’s best player and MVP Jay “sinatraa” Won. The cocky player and his crew like playing off-meta agents like Breach. Their Sage player, Hunter “Sick” Mims, was another standout during T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown.
Sentinels had an underwhelming showing throughout Valorant’s closed beta and soon decided to take a step back from tournaments in favor of practicing for the Ignition Series event. This gave them a good showing at T1’s tournament, although they couldn’t quite make it past the bracket stage. Still, they managed to beat Gen.G twice, a team that had accrued a number of impressive finishes during the closed beta.
Even though Gen.G had a disappointing showing at the T1 tournament, they have consistently placed well in other large events over the past few months. They won the Knights Tournament Series, which also featured top teams including TSM and Together We Are Terrific. It’s all the more shocking that they placed 7th at T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown when fans recall that Gen.G won $20,000 after dominating in the Invitational.
Gen.G’s Valorant squad is actually a former CSGO team called the French Canadians, including veteran Loic “effys” Sauvageau.
Together We are Terrific is a unsigned North American team that has been dominating the amateur scene. They were the only unsigned team at T1’s competition to make it out of group stages, even taking down Cloud9 in the process. While they lost to 100 Thieves and TSM in the playoffs, it’s hard not to applaud them for taking a map off of TSM. They were the only team besides T1 to do so.
Aside from being talented, Terrific Together has consistently been entertaining to watch. Jake “Kaboose” McDonald has been wowing viewers with his accuracy on Reyna, an agent that some in the pro scene have deemend unworthy of play.
Cloud9 has consistently had its eyes on Valorant and was quick to put together a team of pro players and content creators. They have Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, one of the best players in the region. He was the first player to reach Valorant’s highest closed beta rank in North America. But while TenZ defnitely racked up the frags in T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown, the team built around him struggled to make a strong showing. Moving forward, this well-known organization will have to put a lot more time into providing the proper training and lessons in communication if they want their Valorant team to rise up the ranks.
100 Thieves’ Valorant player and coach Spencer “Hiko” Martin has been a trusted voice within the game’s emerging esport scene. He didn’t disappoint in the T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown, where he had the third-highest average combat score, 255, and the third-highest KDA in the tournament. Still, the team found itself eliminated by Immortals in overtime. While many of their matches were close throughout the tournament, 100 Thieves needs a bit more polish if they want to compete with some of the other top-ranked teams in North America.
So far, Immortals has only lost to TSM and T1. This has made them a prime candidate for one of the top Valorant ranking slots in the North American scene. Their squad is highly experienced despite being made up of younger players. This includes Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk, a 16-year-old that consistently shows his skill in every tournament but still needs some work on his fundamentals. Fans have their eyes on Immortals because of their immense potential to continue growing.
While other NA teams have signed established CSGO veterans, Immortals stuck to smaller names like Joseph “Bjor” Bjorklund and Yannick “KOLER” Blanchette. This has made fans curious about these relatively unknown players’ capabilities.