What country rosters would look like if VALORANT were in the Olympics

What country rosters would look like if VALORANT were in the Olympics

by Brian Bencomo

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics getting underway Friday, it got me thinking about what it would look like if VALORANT were an Olympic sport. What would different countries’ rosters look like and which country would emerge victorious?

Just like the agents they play, the players competing in the VALORANT Champions Tour come from a range of countries around the world. It would be foolish of me to try to try to come up with the absolute best five-man rosters for all of the countries players hail from, but I thought it would be fun to list out a pool of players for eight countries that would be the best in an Olympics-style competition.

I think the eight countries that would be the most competitive are the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Finland, Russia, Turkey, South Korea and Brazil. An expanded tournament might include countries such as Sweden, Spain, France and Belgium.

I did rely heavily on average combat score (ACS) -- via VLR.gg -- to determine which players might make the cut, but it’s important to note that’s not the sole determinant for what makes a good VALORANT player. Each of these teams not only needs a top-tier duelist (Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, of course), but you also want leadership (I want Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan stratting) and utility in the ability to play certain agents (sorry, Yoru mains).

Here’s a breakdown of what the rosters for the eight selected countries might look like if VALORANT were an Olympic sport.

Photo credit: Riot Games

United States

For the United States, I think you have to have Sentinels IGL ShahZaM calling the shots and a young star like Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk as your duelist. With ShahZaM leading this team, I think the U.S. would be pretty hard to beat, and the talent pool for the U.S. is deep too, with players coming from some of the top teams in North America, including Sentinels, 100 Thieves, Envy, Version1 and Cloud9 Blue.

Potential roster pool:

  • ShahZaM (Sentinels)
  • Michael "dapr" Gulino (Sentinels)
  • Jared "zombs" Gitlin (Sentinels)
  • Hunter "SicK" Mims (Sentinels)
  • Asuna (100 Thieves)
  • Spencer "Hiko" Martin (100 Thieves)
  • Jordan "Zellsis" Montemurro (Version1)
  • Anthony "vanity" Malaspina (Version1)
  • Anthony "mummAy" DiPaolo (Envy)
  • Austin "crashies" Roberts (Envy)
  • Nathan "leaf" Orf (Cloud9 Blue)

Photo credit: Riot Games

Canada

Any conversation about Canada’s VALORANT roster starts and ends with TenZ. Canada and the U.S. might be evenly matched if they were to go up against each other. Many of the players from the top teams in North America who aren’t on Team USA would likely be part of Team Canada. While V1 teammates vanity and Zellsis could be on the U.S. side, their teammates Loic "effys" Sauvageau and Erik "penny" Penny could be on the other side of the border.

Potential roster pool:

  • TenZ (Sentinels)
  • Effys (Version1)
  • Penny (Version1)
  • Joshua "steel" Nissan (100 Thieves)
  • Pujan "FNS" Mehta (Envy)
  • Jordan "AYRIN" He (XSET)
  • Bradley "ANDROID" Fodor (NRG)
  • Matthew "Wedid" Suchan (NRG)

Photo credit: Riot Games

United Kingdom

The UK might be able to put together the best roster in Europe. With many of the players on Team Liquid coming from the UK, you could assemble a core roster composed of Team Liquid along with Fnatic’s charismatic leader Jake "Boaster" Howlett calling the shots. Rory "dephh" Jackson is one British standout currently playing in NA who could get the call, and there are several very good British players on Rix.GG.

Potential roster pool:

  • Boaster (Fnatic)
  • James "Mistic" Orfila (Fnatic)
  • Dom "soulcas" Sulcas (Team Liquid)
  • James "Kryptix" Affleck (Team Liquid)
  • Travis "L1NK" Mendoza (Team Liquid)
  • Adam "ec1s" Eccles (Ninjas in Pyjamas)
  • Aaron "frei" Frei (Rix.GG)
  • Joseph "Luzuh" Loose (Rix.GG)
  • Tom "otom" Hart (Rix.GG)
  • dephh (XSET)

Russia

Gambit Esports is probably the best team from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, which is full of Russian players. Gambit lost to Fnatic and just missed out on qualifying for Masters: Reykjavík, and they are the top seed coming out of the CIS region in Stage 3 as they bid to qualify for Masters: Berlin.

If I were Russia, I would bet on strong team synergy here and have some, if not all, of Gambit’s roster to represent Russia. Four of the top seven Russian players based on ACS in the last 90 days are on Gambit. Timofey "Chronicle" Khromov has the second-best ACS among Russian players. Other notable Russian players include Kirill "Cloud" Nehozhin from Natus Vincere and Andrey "Shao" Kiprsky, who plays on European team FunPlus Phoenix.

Potential roster pool:

  • Chronicle (Gambit)
  • Nikita "d3ffo" Sudakov (Gambit)
  • Bogdan “Sheydos” Naumov (Gambit)
  • Ayaz "nAts" Akhmetshin (Gambit)
  • Igor "Redgar" Vlasov (Gambit)
  • Cloud (Ninjas in Pyjamas)
  • Shao (FunPlus Phoenix)
  • Maxim "wippie" Shepelev (Version1)

Photo credit: Riot Games

Finland

The best Finnish players are scattered across some of the best teams in Europe. Finland’s national team would likely include Acend’s Santeri "BONECOLD" Sassi, Fnatic’s Nikita "Derke" Sirmitev and Team Liquid’s Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen. Beyond them, the talent pool gets shallower, but this trio would make Finland competitive.

Potential roster pool:

  • BONECOLD (Acend)
  • Derke (Fnatic)
  • Jamppi (Team Liquid)
  • Niko "polvi" Polvinen (TENSTAR)
  • Aaro "hoody" Peltokangas (Giants Gaming)
  • Jesse "JESMUND" Terävä (Team Vitality)
  • Richard "rCk" Kanerva (Rix.GG)

Turkey

Although most of Turkey’s roster would likely consist of players on teams playing in the Turkish region, at least one player would come from a team playing in Europe: Mehmet Yağız "cNed" İpek. His plays on Jett are noticed by opponents around the world. He might even be the best Jett player in the world. His ACS of 272.1 actually ranks second to only TenZ over the past 60 days among players who have played at least 300 rounds and have faced opponents with a minimum rating of 1700. Following cNed on Turkey’s team should be a combination of players from some of the top teams in Turkey, including SuperMassive Blaze, Futbolist, and Oxygen Esports.

Potential roster pool:

  • cNed (Acend)
  • Batuhan "russ" Malgaç (SuperMassive Blaze)
  • Buğra "mojj" Kiraz (Futbolist)
  • Göktuğ "XiSTOU"Canciğer (Oxygen)
  • Erdem "toronto" Soğukpınar (Oxygen)
  • Eren "Brave" Kasırga (SuperMassive Blaze)
  • ​​Muhammed "m1tez" Tezcan (Oxygen)
  • İbrahim "mag0o" Temizel (Futbolist)
  • Doğukan "qRaxs" Balaban (Futbolist)

Photo credit: Riot Games

South Korea

South Korea’s team would likely consist of players from NUTURN Gaming, Vision Strikers and DWG KIA. Kang "solo" Keun-chul, the 33-year-old veteran IGL for NUTURN is who I’d want leading this team. Kim "Lakia" Jong-min, formerly with NUTURN and now with Vision Strikers, would probably be maining Sova for this team. Either DWG’s Kim "t3xture" Na-ra or NUTURN’s Park "allow" Sang-wook could play Jett.

Potential roster pool:

  • solo (NUTURN)
  • Lakia (Vision Strikers)
  • allow (NUTURN)
  • T3xture (DWG KIA)
  • Seo "Suggest" Jae-young (NUTURN)
  • Jung "peri" Bum-gi (NUTURN)
  • Goo "Rb" Sang-Min (Vision Strikers)
  • Yu "BuZz" Byung-chul (Vision Strikers)
  • Byeon "Munchkin" Sang-beom (Crazy Raccoon)
  • An "Medusa" Min-cheol (Crazy Raccoon)

Photo credit: Riot Games

Brazil

As is the case with TenZ for Canada or cNed for Turkey, the conversation around Brazil’s roster starts with top-tier duelist Leonardo "mwzera" Serrati. His ACS of 287.1 over the past 90 days is significantly better than any other Brazilian player. He can play Jett or Raze. The rest of Brazil’s team would likely consist of some of the best players from Gamelanders Blue, Team Vikings, FURIA Esports and Sharks Esports. Liquipedia has a page ranking the best VALORANT players from Brazil, according to VALORANT Zone, and FURIA’s Alexandre “xand” Zizi and Vikings’ Gustavo "Sacy" Rossi are among the top five in addition to mwzera.

Potential roster pool:

  • Mwzera (Gamelanders Blue)
  • Walney "Jonn" Reis (Gamelanders Blue)
  • Guilherme "Nyang" Coelho (Gamelanders Blue)
  • xand (FURIA)
  • Wallacy "prozin" Sales (Sharks)
  • Gabriel "gaabxx" Carli (Sharks)
  • Sacy (Vikings)
  • Gustavo "gtnziN" Moura (Vikings)
  • Leandro "frz" Gomes (Vikings)
  • Gabriel "sutecas" Dias (Vikings)

Lead image credit: Riot Games


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