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What we learned from VALORANT in 2022

What we learned from VALORANT in 2022

Brandon "Mothman" Moore

01/02/2023

The new year is here and VALORANT is taking its next steps toward the future. 2023 will see the VCT shift from its original format to one with partnered teams across three regions. As we wait with anticipation for the upcoming VALORANT Champions Tour, its important to look back on 2022. This year put VALORANT on the map in terms of talent, viewership, and overall reach as an esport. There’s so much we learned in 2022 that will surely set the stage for 2023.

There’s no one better than yay right now

El Diablo is the best, plain and simple. His move to Cloud9 from OpTic Gaming after the latter didn’t secure a partnered slot was seen as a godsend for the blue and white. Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker proved that he’s the best player in the world at the moment. He didn’t hoist the world championship, but there’s no denying the impact he had all throughout 2022.

He and OpTic Gaming placed top three at every international VALORANT tournament during the year. This includes a victory at Masters Reykajivk, third place at Masters Copenhagen, and runners up at Champions. And after joining Cloud9, he still showed that consistency, helping them to a runners up finish at Red Bull Home Ground. There are countless players who will look to take the mantle from yay by the time 2023 comes to a close, but it won’t be an easy feat.

Nothing is certain

There’s a saying in NA VALORANT. Any team can beat any other team at any time. This has proven to be true on a worldwide scale, not just in North America. 2022 showed us that nothing is certain in this esport. The state of the world, contracts, rivalries, on and off days, and so much more all have an effect on just how things operate from tournament to tournament.

At the start of the year, there were probably very few people who assumed LOUD would win Champions. There were also very few people who could have predicted partnered spots being kept from the likes of OpTic Gaming and G2 Esports. Every single round of a VALORANT match matters. Every single move made behind the scenes makes a big difference. As the pros like to say, “expect the unexpected” when things kick off in 2023.

VALORANT’s global reach isn’t slowing down any time soon

It is safe to say that VALORANT was on the rise since it was introduced and a number of popular competitors made the switch. Players from games like Fortnite, CS:GO, and Overwatch all have tried their hand at the Riot Games product. And in 2022, the game as an esport title absolutely exploded. It’s not going to let up come 2023.

There were 22 different countries represented at VALORANT Champions 2022. That’s four more than at Champions 2021. Multiple countries have hosted major LAN tournaments and that trend will continue. Riot Games has announced a Masters tournament in Japan, an area where viewership has reached millions of hours in recent history. The world is ready for more VALORANT and Riot is set to deliver.

Live crowds make all the difference

The global COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to just about everything. In the esports world, all tournaments shifted to online competitions and there would be no such thing as a LAN for quite some time. As life started to shift back to normalcy, Riot Games finally allowed live spectators at Masters Copenhagen.

From there, to Reykjavik, then Champions in Turkey, and the Game Changers Championship in Berlin, live crowds have made the esport that much more enjoyable. Whether you’re attending in-person or watching the stream from home, nothing beats hearing the roar of the crowd when their favorite players pop off during an intense clutch situation to keep their team alive. The energy radiating from the seats is like no other and it was outstanding to see the talent able to soak it in and show off for a change.

Here’s to 2022 and onto 2023 where Run It Back will be here for all of your VALORANT coverage! Stay tuned!