Outstanding Performers — February week 1
The first week of February was jam-packed with high octane VALORANT action. The week marked the advent of the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) in Korea and also saw the final set of qualifiers for VCT in North America. The week also marked the first main event of the VCT Game Changers series in EMEA for 2022. All that action concluded over the weekend with G2 Gozen emerging as the best GC team in EMEA after beating Guild X in the finals. The final four spots in North America were also decided over the course of the weekend with RISE, Evil Geniuses, Knights and Luminosity Gaming booking their tickets for the upcoming VCT NA Challengers: Group Stage. The tournaments in focus this week are exactly those two.
Julia “juliano” Kiran
If you are an average esports geek like me who grew up watching professional CSGO over the majority of the last decade you are bound to have heard the name juliano. She is the first name that comes to my mind when I think of the female CSGO scene. So when I first heard of juliano switching to VALORANT in late 2021, it got me really excited to see how would match up against the existing competition in the VALORANT pro scene. After a bit of a slow start to her VALORANT career, it finally looks she is picking up the pace. This last tournament was arguably the best she has ever looked in this game, not only putting up monstrous stats to help her team win the tournament but also becoming our Player of the Week in the process.
As mentioned, this was juliano’s best tournament statistically. After playing a plethora of agents at the start of her career she has firmly established herself as one of the top duelists in EMEA. She finished the tournament with an ACS of 295.1, her all time career high at any VALORANT event, and also second overall in the tournament. A number only bettered by Anja “aNNja” Vasalic (308.3). She also ended the tournament with an ADR of 180.9 and a KPR of 0.99, both of which were the third highest at the tournament. She featured in the top ten of almost every kill statistic from the event.
Finally, let’s talk about the change that has been working out for juliano at G2. The switch to the duelist role has clearly worked out in her favor and she has the stats to back it up. But let’s shine some light on chosen statistics that separated her from the rest of the duelists at the event. If you were to look at the the number of first kills (FK) on attack at the GC event, you’d notice juliano is leading the pack with a total of 56 FKs on attack at the event. However, to truly understand how much this contributed to her team’s victories at the event, let’s also look at how much of her first kills accounted to her team’s total amount of First Kills. juliano alone contributed roughly 42% of G2 Gozen’s First Bloods at the event, the second highest overall!
“Juliano is a legend on the FPS women’s scene and for a damn good reason. She is one of the most successful IGLs in the women’s scene’s existence AND she does it in one of the most unorthodox styles around… she leads from the front. She spent this last Game Changers series having the second highest ACS and some of the highest levels of consistency a player can have; all whilst calling. It is incredible to think that after a decade of playing she is still just as good, if not better. Oh, and when I say she leads from the front I mean it literally. She was the best opening duelist in all of the GC series, meaning she made space for her team and then led the mid-to-late round beyond her initial impact. It is safe to say that juliano deserves to be in a hall of fame of some kind after her incredible decade.”– Jessica “Jess” Bolden
After a rather tumultuous 2021, a year that saw them miss out on a majority of the top VCT competition Evil Geniuses are off to a flying start for the year 2022. An org with the stature of Evil Geniuses belong to the very top echelon of VALORANT and that is exactly where they put themselves after the performances over the weekend. One might attribute these results to the changes that were made during the off season which I won’t deny. The signings of Diondre “YaBoiDre” Bond, Alexander “jawgemo” Mor and Jeffrey “Reformed” Lu seem to have rejuvenated the squad but it is also a known fact that constantly grinding out tier 2 tournaments during the off-season also seems to be paying off for EG.
YaBoiDre seems to have gone through a purple patch throughout the tournament. Not only did he end the event as the player with the highest ACS (232) on the EG roster, but also broke his personal record at the event with more ACS than his average ACS on the Luminosity Gaming (228) roster for the majority of 2021. His impact was clearly felt whenever he logged into the server. This can be particularly seen from his KAST rating of 79%, which the second highest at the event overall.
Another player worth mentioning is jawgemo, whose late round impact won EG countless rounds at the end. He also finished the tourney with the joint second highest round clutch-percentage (35%).
It is worth noting that while none of the players from the EG roster featured on the Top 10 ACS charts, the team did however end the event with the joint sixth highest combined ACS (1066). Additionally, EG were among the teams with the least ACS deviation (23.0) among its players. These stats might indicate the lack of a top heavy duelist on the roster, but it could also point towards the fact that this team isn’t reliant on any single player. Perhaps the team’s secret lies in supporting each other when it comes to fragging and contributing to the team. It makes for an interesting dynamic on the roster and also makes them a team to watch out for going into the year.
“I never saw this coming. With EG, as well as so many other teams going through roster changes, and some with bigger name transactions, I love that this team just snuck past the radar and qualified with so little time of practice. I’m excited to see where they are headed.”– Alex “Vansilli” Nguyen