With Cloud9’s superstar Tyson “TenZ” Ngo stepping down from the roster, there is a massive hole to fill for the team coming into the Valorant Champions Tour. Replacing TenZ is no small matter, as the player has carried the team to multiple top finishes and helped it qualify for many of the early tournaments in Valorant’s competitive circuit.
This change is also on top of Cloud9’d recent acquirement of Nathan “leaf” Orf of Counter Strike: Global Offensive fame. The roster is currently in a transitional period, looking for the best agents to fit the current lineup while also seeking a replacement for one of the most skilled players in the world.
But who should Cloud9 be looking at for a replacement for TenZ?
Xeta, or Sonny as he has competed as recently, is a former Cloud9 Korea player that has had his services retained as Cloud9 Blue competes in the Nerd Street Gamer’s Winter Championship. He is currently playing with the team as a stand-in from Korea, competing in a professional tournament with over 200 ping at times.
No announcement has been made about Xeta’s status with the North American squad, but he would not be a bad addition. He was a decent performer on Cloud9 Korea, which finished in the top four in First Strike, and has been flexible in his agent choices. Xeta did mainly play Sova and Omen, but has been playing Breach exclusively during his run with Cloud9 Blue.
Xeta would not be a direct replacement for the fragging prowess of TenZ, but he could be a flexible piece that could fit into whatever the team wants to transition its identity to.
The current duelist player for XSET, PureR would be a direct stats replacement to TenZ. He may never be able to reach the status of best in the world as TenZ perhaps could, but he does not slack in the fragging department. He has an almost 1.20 KD ratio across his three main agents: Jett, Reyna and Raze. PureR also has an ACS over 240 for those agents as well.
But PureR is slightly limited in hisagent diversity. He has been competing on an Ameture squad since July of 2019, his team was picked up by XSET in October, and has not strayed from his three main agents the entire time.
KOLER may be the best of both worlds in terms of replacing TenZ’s fragging and adding new flexibility to Cloud9’s roster. He is also currently looking for opportunities since his departure from NRG at the start of the new year following his benching.
KOLER is an established North American talent at this point, competing for Immortals and NRG with decent results individually across both teams. He has played five different agents consistently over his professional career, but has the most matches played on Brimstone, Cypher, and Phoenix. That flexibility across different agents, and different classes of agents, is intriguing for many teams, including Cloud9, who might want in a new player coming into the Champions Tour.
Regardless of who Cloud9 replace TenZ with, the team and organization will have to make a choice on philosophy and style moving forward. With TenZ on the roster their play was one-dimensional and revolved around unleashing him on opponents. To fill that hole, the team will have to decide if it wants another carry, such as PureR, or to switch up its strategy with a more flexible player that can accommodate whatever they want to achieve.