Top 10 Former CSGO Players Who Are Competing in Valorant Franchise Leagues

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Top 10 Former CSGO Players Who Are Competing in Valorant Franchise Leagues

Former CSGO players are making waves in the Valorant’s Franchise League- here are the top 10 to watch

Before the emergence of Valorant, the 5v5 tactical shooter genre was effectively monopolized by Counter-Strike. However, with the launch of Valorant, the competitive FPS landscape underwent a significant transformation. Riot Games began the closed beta in April 2020 and did not have to look back. The game's popularity sky-rocketed immediately after the beta launch, breaking multiple records in the streaming platforms. 

Following the full release of the game in June 2020, Riot soon explained the competitive structure of the game. This announcement resulted in professional players transitioning to the promising new title from several other games, including PUBG, Overwatch, and Fortnite. But the majority of the crossing over was from Counter-Strike players, looking to establish themselves in a new but slightly similar FPS.

Three years after its launch, some players who had switched have returned to CSGO, while others are competing at the biggest stage of Valorant, the Franchise leagues. Let us take a closer look at the top 10 former CSGO players who have successfully transitioned to Valorant and are making a significant impact across the Americas, EMEA, and Pacific Leagues.

Koji “Laz” Ushida

  • Most Played Agent: Sova
  • VLR Rating: 1.13
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 229.6
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.25
  • Kill/Assist/Traded/Survived: 72%
  • Headshot Percentage: 29%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 145.6

Laz started playing Counter-Strike professionally in 2015 with the Japanese team, Absolute and stuck with the org for the entirety of his CSGO career. In the five years he played under the banner of Absolute, the 27-year-old won several big events, cementing themselves as the best team in the region. 

However, the Japanese CSGO scene was on the brink of dying by the end of 2019, and regional success started to mean very little. Hence, once a promising new game like Valorant emerged, Laz, alongside a number of CS players from Japan, made the switch. The transition turned out to be remarkably beneficial for his career, as the former CSGO legend soon became part of the best Valorant team in Japan, ZETA Division. He helped his team dominate the regional league, which bagged ZETA the franchise spot in the Pacific region.

Benedict “Benkai” Tan

  • Most Played Agent: Killjoy
  • VLR Rating: 1.09
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 189.7
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.11
  • Kill/Assist/Traded/Survived: 75%
  • Headshot Percentage: 22%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 123.4

Benkai is another SEA CS veteran who crossed over to Valorant because of CSGO’s gradual decline in the region. Benkai’s most notable period during his seven-year-long career was with B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape from 2017-2019. Already an established professional by then, he was instrumental in their run to become a dominating force in the Asia-Pacific region. Before retiring, he was part of the Paper Rex CSGO team.

The whole squad of Paper Rex switched to Valorant together and immediately became the best SEA could offer. Benkai took the role of IGL and led his team to success on both regional and international stages.

Nathan “leaf” Orf

  • Most Played Agent: Jett
  • VLR Rating: 1.15
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 252.8
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.2
  • Kill/Assist/Traded/Survived: 73%
  • Headshot Percentage: 22%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 158

Leaf was considered one of the biggest CSGO talents from North America before his swap to Valorant. Starting his career at the semi-pro level in 2018, the American got his first big breakthrough after joining Chaos Esports Club. Chaos were among the most promising teams in NA at that time, and the addition of a prodigious player like Leaf instantly bore fruit as leaf helped his team win the prestigious DreamHack Masters Winter 2020. Unfortunately, the highlight of his CS career was the cheating accusations against him. He was bombarded with accusations from left and right by the pros and the fans alike. However, no evidence could be found, so the accusations faded. 

After Chaos Esports released its roster at the end of 2020, leaf became a free agent. Cloud9 then picked up the 19-year-old for their Valorant lineup, and he has been part of the team ever since.

Tyson “TenZ” Ngo

  • Most Played Agent: Jett
  • VLR Rating: 1.16
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 267.3
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.32
  • Kill/Assist/Traded/Survived: 72%
  • Headshot Percentage: 19%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 160.1

Once hailed as the most prodigious player in the scene, Tenz’s Counter-Strike journey was rather bitter-sweet. Tyson barged into the NA CS pro scene at a very young age and immediately impressed everyone with his unreal aim and reaction. After terrorizing the servers for months, he was given the opportunity to play in the most decorated NA team of that time, Cloud9, alongside players like mixwell, daps, koosta, and autimatic. Unfortunately, the Canadian youngster could not capitalize on the opportunity as he failed to keep up with the tier-1 teams, flopping in nearly every important game.

Following the lackluster performance, Tenz got benched from the active roster. He then moved to Valorant, and it was only upwards from there. The 22-year-old soon became the face of Valorant. He won his first-ever international tournament with Sentinels in 2021 and remains an important part of the team till this day.

Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom

  • Most Played Agent: Omen
  • VLR Rating: 1.04
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 197.1
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.01
  • Kill/Assist/Traded/Survived: 72%
  • Headshot Percentage: 72%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 128

The brother of the legendary CS player, ScreaM, is one of the most accomplished players who have switched to Valorant. Despite the short career of only three years, the 21-year-old has more notable tournament victories than most others on this list. Winning the Blast Premier Fall 2020 and IEM Beijing 2020 with Team Vitality is the highlight of his CS career.

Nivera’s transition to Valorant was a shock to many as the Belgian was still young, and considering how good he already was, he had a bright future ahead of him. Regardless, he joined the Team Liquid Valorant roster in 2021 and found moderate success. Currently, Nivera plays in the EMEA League under the banner of Karmine Corp alongside his brother.

Pujan “FNS” Mehta

  • Most Played Agent: Viper
  • VLR Rating: 0.9
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 178.8
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 0.89
  • Kill/Assist/Traded/Survived: 69%
  • Headshot Percentage: 21%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 116.3

The big-brain IGL of NRG Esports was once leading teams in another game that is Counter-Strike. FNS had a long career in CS, and while he may not have been a tier-1 player for most of it, he had his moments. The 31-year-old played in multiple top-level NA teams, including CLG, TSM, and Cloud9. He found the most success with CLG, leading the team to podium finishes in two Dreamhack events.

What he could not manage in CSGO, FNS did in Valorant. The Canadian won the first international title of his career with OpTic Gaming in the 2022 Master Reykjavik. OpTic was the most consistent team throughout the VCT 2022 season, and FNS was the man to lead them.

Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov

  • Most Played Agent: Omen
  • VLR Rating: 0.93
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 200.2
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 0.93
  • Kill/Assist/Traded/Survived: 68%
  • Headshot Percentage: 31%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 125.2

The old man of NAVI is widely considered the best IGL in Valorant. ANGE1 is a counter-strike veteran with over 15 years of experience in the game. He is most notable for his time in the CIS team, HellRaisers. The Ukrainian spent six years in the team, winning many trophies, such as Acer Predator Masters Season 1, Copenhagen Games 2016. He retired from the game in 2020 to pursue a career in Valorant.

His Valorant career has been remarkable so far. Currently playing for NAVI in the VCT EMEA League, he was formerly part of the VCT 2022 Masters Copenhagen champions, FPX.

Óscar “mixwell” Colocho

  • Most Played Agent: Viper
  • VLR Rating: 1.1
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 231.9
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.17
  • Kill/Assist/Traded/Survived: 70%
  • Headshot Percentage: 22%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 142.2

Undoubtedly one of the most talented CS players to switch to Valorant. His career in CSGO can be deemed somewhat successful but far from consistent. The Spaniard had several good tournaments runs, but winning the ELEAGUE Season 2 remains the highlight of his career. 

Having played in popular teams like OpTic, Cloud9, and G2, Mixwell became a player with massive stardom. As a result, his switch to Valorant was very hype among the fans. Many immediately predicted him to become the best AWPer in the new game. Unfortunately, the 27-year-old is yet to win a VCT event. Although he did manage to join Team Heretics, a franchised org, his performance has been underwhelming.

Ethan “Ethan” Arnold

  • Most Played Agent: Skye
  • VLR Rating: 1.07
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 210.4
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.07
  • Kill/Assist/Traded/Survived: 74%
  • Headshot Percentage: 23%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 134.9

There is this conception that the CS pros that switched to Valorant are either washed or incapable of making it to the top. Ethan defies both these statements. The star player of EG was the HLTV Top 20 Player of the Year in 2020 and is only the second person on this list to have this accolade. He has played and won trophies for NRG, CLG, and EG but is mostly known for the legendary 2019-2020 run with Evil Geniuses.

Ethan started his Valorant journey quite late, joining former CS legends nitr0 and Hiko in 100 Thieves. Despite the late start, it took him only a short time to establish himself as one of the best support players, first in 100T and now in Evil Geniuses.

Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom

  • Most Played Agent: Jett
  • VLR Rating: 1.15
  • Average Combat Score (ACS): 260.4
  • Kill-Death Ratio: 1.3
  • Kill/Assist/Traded/Survived: 74%
  • Headshot Percentage: 33%
  • Average Damage Per Round: 163.4

Karmine Corp’s ScreaM is, without a doubt, the most decorated player to transition into Valorant. The Belgian’s reputation precedes himself. Whoever has followed the CS scene even a bit has heard of the One Tap God. Although the 28-year-old is notorious for not being a team player, His out-of-the-world ability to one-tap people in the head made him an absolute legend. He had many exceptional years, but two years, in particular, stood out: 2013 and 2016. With two HLTV Top 20, several S-tier event victories, and the ECS Season 1 MVP award, ScreaM sits at the top among current Valorant players in terms of career achievements.

Post-2017 ScreaM was never really the same as his prime. Hence, It was not the biggest surprise when the Headshot Machine announced joining Team Liquid’s Valorant roster. His name might not spread terror in opponents' minds as before, but even in Valorant, he remains one of the most accurate aimers with 33% headshot.

Honorable Mentions

  • Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen 
  • Kim “stax” Gu-taek
  • Sam “s0m” Oh
  • Erick “Xeppaa” Bach
  • Alexandre “xand” Zizi

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