North America’s Valorant scene has brought about the resurgence of ex-CS:GO pros, with many big names making the switch to a new but familiar first-person shooter.
Throughout the start of Riot’s Ignition Series competitions, CS:GO veterans have been getting signed by esports organizations left and right.
Which brings us to the stories of 100 Thieves and FaZe Clan.
Both organizations have shown a commitment to compete in Riot’s flourishing esport, locking up top tier ex-CS:GO talents with 100 Thieves signing Spencer “Hiko” Martin and FaZe signing Jason “jasonR” Ruchelski.
Hiko reached new heights with his streaming career once Valorant hit, but he is best known as one of the most mechanically-gifted Counter-Strike pros in North America, and 100 Thieves was quick to seize the opportunity to sign Hiko as team captain. However, the organization then made the puzzling decision to sign four ex-PUBG pros to complete the roster.
During one of Hiko’s streams, he revealed, “100 Thieves made the decision. I know they said I was going to be the team captain, but [they] made the call.”
A month later, FaZe Clan announced that jasonR was the captain of its upcoming Valorant squad. Similar to Hiko, jasonR thought he would be part of the recruitment process for FaZe Clan’s Valorant roster. As it turned out, jasonR also had no say in FaZe Clan’s decision to sign ex-Overwatch pros.
Unfortunately, just having an insanely skilled ex-CS:GO star isn’t enough to be successful in Valorant.
As good as Hiko is, 100 Thieves have disappointed in every tournament so far. While his teammates are clearly skilled players, they have yet to develop chemistry with their team captain, and Hiko often tries to solo clutch rounds by himself.
When it works, it is a thing of beauty.
But how often can Hiko do this?
On the other hand, while Hiko continues to play with 100 Thieves, jasonR decided to opt-out of his contract, without ever playing or scrimming with his teammates.
During jasonR’s stream, he explained his decision to leave FaZe, observing that, “The roster that FaZe has, there’s nothing wrong with it. Not for a second do I think they’re bad, by any means. I just really wanted to build my own roster. I didn’t want to be forced into any situation.”
The roster jasonR was referring to consists of former Overwatch stars Corey “corey” Nigra, Zachary “ZachaREEE” Lombardo, Andrej “Babybay” Francistym, and Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty, along with retired CS:GO pro Jimmy “Marved” Nguyen.
FaZe Clan’s Valorant roster mainly consists of DPS players from Overwatch, except for Rawkus who was a support player. The roster was finalized just a few days before they were set to compete in their own FaZe Clan Valorant Invitational tournament.
Surprisingly, even without their superstar CS:GO player, FaZe Clan performed quite well at the tournament, defeating 100 Thieves in the group stage, eliminating them in the process, before going down to an absolutely on-fire Sentinels squad in the Upper Bracket, and then narrowly losing 1-2 to Cloud9 in the Lower Bracket.
Still, the roster showed great promise for a team that has only played together for a few days before the tournament started. The ex-Overwatch roster is clearly united as a team of pros who all switched over from the same game, and displayed a level of synergy that 100 Thieves have never shown.
One can only imagine how good FaZe Clan would be if they had been able to pick up ex-Overwatch League MVP, Jay “Sinatraa” Won, before Sentinels did.
In the end, jasonR leaving FaZe Clan might be the best thing to happen to the team. On the other hand, while Hiko continues to struggle with his current roster, we don’t expect 100 Thieves to make a serious tournament run.
Maybe it’s time for Hiko to find a new home too?