Riot Games’ hugely popular tach-shooter Valorant reached the next level of popularity in 2021. Valorant Rewind 2021 shows that Riot Games has laid a lasting foundation for the esports scene of its nascent FPS.
Blockbuster release by Yoru
Riot Games kicked off 2021 with a Japanese superhero able to meddle with reality. There was a lot of hype surrounding Duelist number five, but the agent failed to live up to expectations. Players counted on him as the master of deception, gathering intel while dealing damage. However, his selection rate never increased, even after newer agents appeared on the list.
In 2021, Yoru hardly sees any playtime. the Developer promise of fix has player Yoru in mind.
Riot has announced VCT Game Changers
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In February 2021, Game Changers brought good news to women in the first-person shooter community for the first time. The Riot-backed Circuit first launched for North America, which then blossomed into a healthy scene that attracted women and others marginalized genders within Valorant esports. By the end of 2021, the games publisher was cultivating an inclusive ecosystem with more women in the FPS scene than ever before.
Controllers got an upgrade in Astra
Valorant’s controller roster saw Astra as a much-needed upgrade. The Ghanaian agent didn’t affect low ELOs, but she was all the rage in high-level games. In professional Valorant games, her pick rate skyrocketed, beating Omen in the controller category. Casual players still refrain from picking her due to a high learning curve, but she’s managed to find her footing.
Sexual allegations against Sinatraa
March 2021 brought a whole new wave of drama to Valorant esports. Overwatch legend-turned-Valorant pro Jay “Sinatraa” Won has been “cancelled” in the community after ex-girlfriend Cleo “Cle0h” Hernandez made sexual assault allegations against him. The accusation came ahead of North America: Masters One, which had put Sentinels in hot water when they had to bench their top weapon.
Riot also banned him from participating in official tournaments pending investigations leading to a verdict. The case was later closed after Sinatraa served a six-month sentence for lack of coordination and Cleoh decided against continuing the investigation.
Sentinel’s Powerflex at the NA Masters One
Sentinels that dropped Sinatraa worked well for the team. The North American organization brought in Cloud9’s AFK player Tyson “TenZ” Ngo from his competitive break to fill in for the suspended Sinatraa. The Superstar carried the entire team to Valorant’s first Masters event, eventually becoming the winner in the North American region. Rumors of a permanent move from TenZ to Sentinels began to swirl, but his contract commitments with Cloud9 were hung with a big question mark.
Valorant’s first-ever million-dollar player transfer
The most significant transfer in Valorant history also happened in 2021. After various complications, TenZ was sold to Sentinels for a whopping $1.25 million. The seven-figure buyout was confirmed by multiple sources, making it the largest transfer in Valorant history to date. With TenZ on his list, Sentinels would have a successful year as one of the best teams in the world.
A year for women in Valorant
Riot’s circle for women and marginalized gender has managed to change the game. Tons of female Valorant teams have been introduced in 2021. Major eSports organizations such as G2 Esports, Complexity, TSM and others dove into the female Valorant scene, with rosters peppered with renowned Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players. Cloud9 White remained dominant in North America, and even Asia saw international representation in the Valorant scene thanks to alter ego Celeste. It’s safe to say that 2021 was a stellar year for women in esports.
Breeze, Valorant’s biggest map
In April, Riot Games opened a massive site that split Valorant’s player base in two, just like Breeze’s mid-section. The larger-than-life map was not well-received by the community due to its sprawling territory, which forced players to equip Vandal and switch agents. Point-blank flashes became useless, and flank observers were also excluded. For the first time, main Viper players felt like they were on a Valorant map. Yoru players also had fun when his teleporter finally came into use around the vast compound.
Valorant’s first official LAN event was a success
Masters Reyjavk was the defining moment of 2021 for Valorant, which featured some of the best teams in the world. The announcement that Masters Two would be an offline event had sparked the excitement of dedicated Valorant players. The first LAN event reached its climax 1,085,850 concurrent viewersmaking it Valorant’s most-watched event. The live audience was not present, but the LAN energy could be felt through the viewers’ computer screens.
Thousands of people watched as Sentinels lifted the trophy after beating Fnatic in a thrilling competition. This event also cemented Sentinels as the North American powerhouse that couldn’t be beat.
Kay/O was everything competitive Valorant needed. Its addition marked a drastic shift in the game’s meta, forcing players out of their comfort zones. The Radiant Killer brought a cure for superpower-infested game meta where gunfights had taken a backseat. Kay/O’s no-nonsense kit that shuts down mystical abilities shone a light on Valorant’s gunplay and made it a true FPS again. Coupled with weapon price changes and agent kit nerfs, this update changed the way Valorant was played.
The CIS region shone at Masters 3 Berlin
Masters Berlin 3 was Valorant’s biggest LAN event. The final stage consisted of 15 teams that would lock the horns offline. This would also determine the final teams that advance to champions through the master stages. Gambit fought through the top and snagged Envy’s final win to become the Masters 3 champion. The CIS team earned its spurs as one of Sentinels’ fierce competitors.
Riot added a unique twist to FPS maps
Another location was added to the pool when 2021 was completed. Riot Games introduced a new layout to the FPS genre with an H-shaped break. The dual attack map is still struggling to gain traction, but it actually brings overlooked agents to the fore. Not just a cut-throat map, Fracture marks the first time Riot Games has used a location to reveal the mystery behind Valorant’s Dual Earth and Mirrorverse lore.
Brazil VS Sentinels
If 2021 wasn’t already full of drama, the feud between North America and Brazil added to it. A blazing tweet from Jared “Zombs” Gitlin threw the entire Brazilian fan base into disarray and kicked off a Twitter beef. Notable figures stepped in as zombies called the Brazilian region “shit” after fanbase overreacted to Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan’s tweet.