This article is part of our VALORANT series.
Players to Target
Cloud is the superstar firepower of this Giants roster and he has been red hot to start 2023. The sniper is worth consideration in all formats after showing no issues with the new meta in his opening match and earning an early Man of the Match award. Cloud might have a new roster around him, but he is still an incredibly gifted individual with the ability to single-handedly carry Giants to relevance.
leaf finally has some help! The great hope of North American CS:GO is now in VALORANT and he finally has a roster around him to take off some of the pressure, of course headlined by yay. leaf is an incredibly gifted player who could be in line for a breakout season with the pressure finally off his shoulders. leaf and Cloud9 are one of the top teams in the world early in 2023 and are among the Lock In tournament favorites.
LOUD are the World Champions and aspas was a huge part of that in 2022. He's back in 2023 with the new-look LOUD roster, and while there are certainly some questions around this new lineup the talent of aspas isn't a concern. The sniper is incredible in a variety of roles and creates individual plays even in losing maps. LOUD open the tournament against GEN.G in what should be a very winnable map.
Players to Fade
AvovA probably finds himself in this category more often than not, and it's not hard to see why. The in-game leader has never offered much individually, and often finds himself stapled to the bottom of the board even in wins. Heretics have a somewhat promising lineup, but a tough opening match with an EG roster that has had an offseason to build chemistry could spell disaster for AvovA.
KCorp is a fantastic team, and every fantastic team has to have their supports. It just happens to be that the support of KCorp is xms, the in-game leader and controller player who tried his hand at coaching in 2022. xms simply isn't on this roster to provide any firepower, and with ScreaM and NiverA on the server there aren't going to be many kills just floating around unclaimed.
Zest is here despite a strong showing to open the tournament against BBL. The Round 2 match for Zest and co. is a clash with Cloud9, the red-hot North American giants. During the off-season Zest put together some decent showings, but at the end of the day he is likely to be the player taking a step back and allowing his stars to shine. Zest and co. could be in line for a very deep run if they can eliminate Cloud9 in the second round.
Stats courtesy of Thespike.gg