North America VALORANT Challengers League 2023 teams and rosters

by Brian Bencomo

Last updated Feb. 1

While much of the focus for North American VALORANT fans in 2023 will be on the VALORANT Champions Tour Americas league, the NA VALORANT Challengers League also will be worth watching. The top two teams in the 12-team league will qualify for the Americas Ascension tournament later in the year with a chance to qualify for the VCT Americas league in 2024.

The 12 teams competing in the NA Challengers League will consist of six invited teams and six teams that have qualified via an open qualifier and a last chance qualifier.

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The six invited teams are:

  • FaZe Clan
  • G2 Esports
  • M80
  • Shopify Rebellion
  • The Guard
  • TSM

Read more: VCT 2023: Challengers leagues and Challengers Ascension explained

The six qualified teams are:

  • BreakThru
  • Disguised
  • Oxygen Esports
  • MAD Lions
  • Turtle Troops
  • OREsports

To get you ready for the VALORANT NA Challengers League, which kicks off Feb. 1, here’s a primer on the rosters for each of the teams.

FaZe Clan

Photo credit: Activision Blizzard

  • Andrej "babybay" Francisty
  • Kevin "poised" Ngo
  • Quan "dicey" Tran
  • Phat "supamen" Le
  • Daniel "Rossy" Abedrabbo

Babybay is synonymous with FaZe VALORANT as he has been a part of the team since August 2020. Poised joined the team in April 2022 alongside supamen after the two were with Rise. Dicey emerged as a star last year while FaZe made deep runs in regional play. The one newcomer this year is Rossy, who was with TSM throughout 2022 and was seen most recently on Jacky "Stewie2K" Yip's The Nation as they attempted to qualify via the open qualifiers.

Read more: The 2023 VCT Americas partner teams’ rosters

G2 Esports

Photo credit: Riot Games

  • Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan
  • Michael "dapr" Gulino
  • Maxim "wippie" Shepelev
  • Erik "penny" Penny
  • Francis "OXY" Hoang

G2 might have missed out on getting a partnership spot in the VCT Americas league, but they’re still serious about earning their way in. With a roster that includes two former Masters champions from Sentinels, two Masters competitors from Version1 and one highly touted young player, this team will be a contender to reach and win the Ascension tournament. It remains to be seen how well this team will play together, but it’s a solid start with ShahZaM as the in-game leader and the young gun OXY getting a chance to play with and learn from a very experienced roster.

Read more: The top 10 esports orgs in the world in 2022

M80

Photo credit: Nerd Street

  • Mohamed Amine “johnqt” Ouarid
  • Marc-Andre “NiSMO” Tayar
  • Gianfranco “koalanoob” Potestio
  • Alexander “zander” Dituri
  • Daniel “eeiu” Vucenovic

The core of this team -- NiSMO, johnqt and koalanoob -- used to play for Ghost Gaming. Ghost surprised many by qualifying for the VCT North America Stage 2 main event in 2022. They didn’t qualify for Masters but finished second in their group to XSET and then capped off their time together by winning Nerd Street’s summer championship. Zander arrives via Version1, and eeiu was the odd man out when NRG was named a partner team and built a team with the old OpTic core.

Shopify Rebellion

Photo credit: Shopify Rebellion

  • Adam "mada" Pampuch
  • Will "dazzLe" Loafman
  • Brandon Michael "bdog" Sanders
  • Kaleb "moose" Jayne
  • Victor "v1c" Truong

When Luminosity Gaming dropped their roster following Stage 2 of the 2022 VCT season, Shopify stepped in and picked up the roster. They made one change in the offseason, adding v1c, an up-and-coming young player who was previously with T1 Academy and SoaR. Shopify won one of the bigger offseason events, Knights Freezeout, over TSM.

The Guard

Photo credit: Riot Games

  • Jacob "valyn" Batio
  • Michael "neT" Bernet
  • Jonah "JonahP" Pulice
  • Trent "trent" Cairns
  • Ian "tex" Botsch

The Guard are officially running it back with the same 2022 roster plus former NRG player tex, who replaces Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung-woo, who is now with T1. The Guard emerged in 2022 as the surprise champions of NA VCT Stage 1 and qualified for Masters: Reykjavík. However, they failed to reach that same level of performance the rest of the year. The team also is bringing in a new coach, former NRG coach Josh "JoshRT" Lee. He replaces Matthew "mCe" Elmore, who was instrumental to the team’s rise last year and signed with Cloud9 in the offseason.

Read more: The Guard’s Trent is training to be the next big thing in VALORANT

TSM

Photo credit: TSM

  • Johann "seven" Hernandez
  • Corey "corey" Nigra
  • Anthony "gMd" Guimond
  • James "hazed" Cobb
  • Nicholas "NaturE" Garrison

TSM’s roster to kick off 2023 is filled with mostly familiar faces. Corey is the veteran here, having been with the team since January 2022. GMD and seven have been with TSM since April of last year. Hazed, an original member of TSM when the org first got into VALORANT in 2020, returns to TSM after spending the past year with NRG. NaturE is the only member of the starting roster who has no previous connections to TSM. He was one of the core members of Gen.G since mid-2021. This team finished second to M80 at the Knights Freezeout in December.

BreakThru

Photo credit: Nerd Street

  • Alex "aproto" Protopapas
  • Brady "thief" Dever
  • Tyler "sym" Porter
  • Xavier "flyuh" Carlson
  • Brock "brawk" Somerhalder

This unsigned team has players who have competed at the highest levels of NA VALORANT over the past few years. Aproto and thief both spent time with Luminosity Gaming in 2021. Aproto and brawk were with Ghost Gaming in 2022. Flyuh is known for his time with FaZe Clan. Sym is the least known member of this roster, but he was briefly with TSM Academy and has competed on several unsigned teams including Nearest Airport and Lenny Time. BreakThru were one of two teams that made it through the 256-team Challengers open qualifier without dropping any matches.

Disguised

Photo credit: Riot Games

  • Joshua "steel" Nissan
  • Amgalan "Genghsta" Nemekhbayar
  • Damion "XXiF" Cook
  • Drake "Exalt" Branly
  • Joseph "clear" Allen

Disguised Toast has struck gold with this roster. The popular streamer announced his venture into VALORANT with the signing of these players just ahead of the Challengers open qualifier and they made it through the bracket without dropping a match. Steel is the most notable member of this roster. He’s the former IGL for 100 Thieves and was with the team when they went to Masters: Berlin in 2021. Genghsta, XXiF and Exalt are all known from their time with the Knights, while clear is a relative newcomer to the upper levels of NA VALORANT who has only been competing consistently since the middle of 2022 according to VLR.gg.

Oxygen Esports

Photo credit: Riot Games

  • Logan "skuba" Jenkins
  • Josh "pwny" VanGorder
  • Mitch "mitch" Semago
  • Devon "randyySAVAGE" Bréard
  • Andrew "Verno" Maust
  • Yassin "Reduxx" Aboulalazm (substitute)

Oxygen Esports stumbled only once during the Challengers open qualifier. They lost to Disguised in an upper bracket qualifying match but then beat the Silk Road to join the Challengers League. Besides Verno, who was formerly with Oxygen Academy, the rest of these players have been with other organizations and competed at a range of levels in North America. Mitch has had the most success as he was on the Cloud9 team that went to VCT Champions in 2021.

MAD Lions

Photo credit: Riot Games

  • William “Will” Cheng
  • Adam “Ange” Milian
  • Anthony "ZexRow" Colandro
  • Taylor “Drone” Johnson
  • Justin “Trick” Sears

This team known as Dark Ratio during qualifiers before being signed by MAD Lions consists of the old DarkZero roster that competed together in 2022 but with former 100 Thieves player Will instead of Kyle "ScrewFace" Jensen. Dark Ratio qualified for the Challengers League by getting revenge on the star-studded team led by Jacky "Stewie2K" Yip known as The Nation. Dark Ratio were knocked into the lower bracket in the round of 16 but then won five straight matches.

Turtle Troops

Photo credit: Nerd Street

  • Peter “Governor” No
  • Mohammed “Harmful” Choudhary
  • Jack “Add3r” Hayashi
  • Anthony “Okeanos” Nguyen
  • Matthew “WeDid” Suchan

This unsigned team that formerly competed under the lovable name Squirtle Squad had an undefeated run through the Challengers Last Chance Qualifier, including victories over Jake “Stewie2k” Yip’s top ranked The Nation and OREsports in the qualifying match. In between the first Challengers qualifier and the LCQ, the core of Turtle Troops won Nerd Street’s VALORANT Lockdown finals, a LAN tournament in Fullerton, California. Governor, Harmful and Add3r were part of the unsigned team called Where is Fullerton that won that tournament. WeDid is probably the most recognizable player on this team from his time with XSET and NRG in 2021. Harmful is a former member of TSM Academy. Okeanos spent time with Virtuoso and City Boys.

OREsports

Photo credit: Nerd Street

  • Jonard “Jonaaa6” Penaflor
  • Dayton “Lear” Akau
  • Chase “nillyaz” Linder
  • Elijah “zeldris” Hawkins
  • Vincent “PureVNS” Nguyen

This team lost to Turtle Troops (aka Squirtle Squad) in their first chance to qualify for the Challengers League, but they beat Soniqs to become the 12th and final team to join the league. The players on this team have a range of experience on both signed and unsigned teams across the Tier 2 North American VALORANT esports scene. Jonaaa6 and Lear were both with Andbox at the start of 2022 through their rebrand to NFYU. They joined Zero Marksmen Black next and won two Nerd Street LAN tournaments. Nillyaz was with Cloud9 Academy for most of 2022. PureVNS was with Knights Academy for nearly a year from 2021 to 2022 and later a coach for Misfits Black. Zeldris was previously with Team Reckaroo and Moon Raccoons.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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