Roster moves are an inevitable practice as the Valorant Champions Tour enters Stage 2. Teams are looking to reload their rosters to make a push toward Masters qualification, and players who were let go in the middle of Stage 1 are on the hunt for a new organization.
The landscape for roster moves and changes is also ramping up due to the first international LAN in Iceland for Masters 2. Players want to show off their skills in a LAN environment. And, organizations want to be on stage for the first prestigious international tournament for Valorant. From now until the start of the Last Chance Qualifier, fans should keep an eye out for the classic sign of a roster change: the Simpsons gif of a contract being signed and stamped.
NRG and Shanks roster moves
NRG parted ways with Ryan “Shanks” Ngo on March 23. Shanks moved to the bench before the final Challengers event ahead of Masters 1 and has since been waiting in the wings for a roster change. After the two parties went their separate ways, NRG picked up former Equinox standout, Ian “Tex” Botsch. Shanks then announced that he had signed with a new team via the classic Simpsons gif. If the Battlefly page for the Nerd Street Gamers March Monthly tournament rosters are anything to go on, the Canadian may have signed with Rise. No formal announcement has been made about the move.
Adding a sixth man to a team usually signals that someone is on his way out of the team as well. It can be a member of the starting lineup or the sixth man himself. Regardless, the practice signals changes in an organization’s mentality toward its team. An example of this is in Valorant, when Cloud9 ran a six-man roster before parting ways with its in-game leader, Daniel “vice” Kim.
Former T1 player and current free agent, Braxton “brax” Pierce, is reportedly being pursued by TSM as a sixth man, according to Ryan Friend of Rush B Media. Also fueling more fire to this roster-shuffle rumor is the speculation that James “hazed” Cobb will be the one out of the rotation.
In other six-man shakeups, Dustyn “niesoW” Durnas of Team Heretics is taking an extended break from competition to deal with family matters, according to the team’s coach, Tanishq “Tanizhq” Sabharwal. In a TwitLonger, Tanishq explained that the organization knew of the matters and created a six-man roster in the case that the player needed to step down.
Along with roster moves comes benched players, as teams hold on to their former starters. Vitality announced on March 21 that it would be benching Lukas “feqew” Petrauskas and Ouali “M4CHINA” Manset. The organization has not made much noise in the Valorant scene so far. The team failed to qualify for Master 1 and called its start to the Valorant season “unsuccessful.”
But, benched players do move on, either returning to the starting lineup or joining another team or free agency. One of the more prominent benched players at this time is former 100 Thieves starter, Quan “dicey” Tran. The former Immortals standout was a starter for the team before its blockbuster move, adding Counter-Strike star, Ethan “Ethan” Arnold. The Jett main has been on the sidelines since Challengers 3 and Masters 1. However, he could be on the move as organizations reload. He is also ready for a comeback to competition according to his recent tweet.
Ultimately, these are not the only moves that fans should keep an eye out for. As new organizations look to enter Valorant, and additional teams shuffle around players, there may be more roster changes to come before Challengers 1 of the Stage 2 of the VCT on April 1.