Friday, January 27, 2023

The Guard enlists former NRG duelist and coach duo for 2023 NA VALORANT Challengers run

The Guard is officially running it back with its breakout NA VALORANT roster core from this past year and is supplementing the young but proven group with a new duelist and coach from the NRG Esports camp.

Ian “tex” Botsch joins the main roster most likely as the primary duelist, while Josh “JoshRT” Lee takes on the head coaching role, The Guard announced today. Both player and coach became free agents this past offseason when NRG made way for the world-class OpTic core of FNS, crashies, and Victor, in addition to head coach Chet Singh.

Both tex and JoshRT will fill the voids left by former duelist Ha “Sayaplayer” Jung-woo and head coach Matthew “mCe” Elmore. After a breakout year last year, Sayaplayer joined T1 to team up with other former OWL greats like Munchkin and Carpe, while coach mCe left for the Cloud9 job to reunite with some familiar faces.

While The Guard missed out on partnership in the VCT Americas league, despite proudly displaying its logo on top of the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles as part of its application, the org kept hold of its core of trent, valyn, JonahP, and neT. This group stole the show in the first stage of VCT NA Challengers last year, going from open qualifiers to a first-place finish and a berth at Masters Reykjavík.

After just missing out on reaching VALORANT Champions 2022 in a decisive loss to 100T in the grand finals of the NA LCQ, The Guard made everyone on his roster restricted free agents. But the organization said it still wanted to continue competing in VALORANT despite not acquiring a partnership.

The Guard, along with TSM, G2 Esports, M80, Shopify Rebellion, and FaZe Clan, has received a direct invite from organizer Knights Arena to compete in the main event of the 2023 NA VALORANT Challengers League. Over two splits, a mid-season invitational, and playoffs, The Guard will seek to reach VCT Americas the hard way via Ascension.

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