The recent release of the VALORANT beta has given a great opportunity to a lot of NA pros that haven’t quite found their place in CS:GO. Some are too old to expect to improve, while others are younger and probably just thinking the grass is greener on the other side (ar at least less occupied by the likes of s1mple and ZywOo).

If you’re an org like T1, who have four of their five-man roster announced at the time of writing, it’s already a bit late to be signing players, so we’ve scouted out a few of the pros to declare themselves available in the new game so far for those behind the curve. We’ve got the man who killed MIBR, Anders Blume’s most famous voice line and, erm, Subroza here, so you know there is quality and pedigree, in the team we’re calling CS:Gone. Oh, and it’s all NA…

The point man: FNS

While his career hasn’t been as storied and successful as some North American in-game leaders, FNS has built himself a strong reputation as a person who understands the fundamentals of CSGO, and can get a team playing in a structure if given the chance, as well as being able to destroy teams with a single tweet. Given his prowess in and predilection for working with people who need the very basics of FPS games explained to them, a move to VALORANT makes perfect sense for an IGL that has never really been given his dues in CS.

The good soldier: Freakazoid

CS:GO’s forgotten Freak is back in the news, as he is one of the most recent players to announce his move from tier 3 of NA to VALORANT. After a period in C9 where he worked alongside shroud, n0thing and stunna, his career has been a struggle, and it’ll be interesting to see if his ‘do or die for the team’ attitude is useful in Riot’s version of CS, and how long it takes for his younger brother to join and then supersede him.

The clutch minister: Hiko

Sneering about the players who have taken the plunge and gone from Counter-Strike is easy enough, but here is a man who made history in his first calling as well. Hiko, an intelligent individual who knows never to close a door these days, hasn’t fully committed to going across, but he’s been a free agent in CS for a while now and his heyday, ‘ARE YOU KIDDING ME?’ and all that are fading in the rear-view mirror. He’s done well in the early stages of VALORANT, and if the money talks over the coming weeks and months, you can expect to see him listening intently – probably while wearing a Hiko-branded cap.

The sniper: ShahZam

He might be named after a comic book character, but there isn’t much about the last few years of Shaz’s time in CS that would pass for a hero narrative. His last position of note was as a spare wheel on a juggernaut that didn’t really have space for him, and at 26 years old it’s not like he can bank on any dramatic improvements in a world where the elite AWPers are already miles ahead. Compare that to VALORANT, where he’ll face such legends as SicK, Food and WARDELL, and it’s easy to see why Shahzam decided to move, rather than waiting to see if he can Shazam himself back to full power in GO.

The patsy: Subroza

The heavy of focus on Riot having an impregnable anti-cheat might have put certain players off, but Subroza was not one of them. In fairness to him, he was never actually proven to be guilty of anything and he had stayed with the CS grind for long enough to make even his critics wonder if he might have been legit all along. Still, at this point it makes sense for the man to seek a fresh start in a new scene. We also know Riot have a history of picking on random players, so if the team needs a fall guy, Subroza already has the reputation…

The mastermind: fRoD

Few of esports’ sacred cows are more sacred than fRoD. He was good before CS:GO was really a proper thing, in the era of smelly LANs that today is viewed only through rose-tinted gamer glasses, and has already been picked up by everyone’s favourite premature player contractors T1. Being great at CS or Source didn’t help him in Overwatch or Swole Patrol. However, it could be easier for him to translate his ancient CS knowledge into VALORANT if you look at the game and what the developers may have been inspired by.

Though this is just a snarky thought experiment at the end of the day, it’s really a sign of how insanely competitive Valve’s game has become – and shows how much talent we have in Counter-Strike. As for team CS:Gone, I genuinely wish them well, as it would be the cherry on the icing on the cake if the game that was going to “kill” CS:GO ended up being dominated by a bunch of guys who weren’t able enough to earn a contract here for one reason or another.